Texans Can Blame Bad Politics for Their Energy Crisis

Texans Can Blame Bad Politics for Their Energy Crisis

February 17, 2021

There are a lot of different explanations in the news about how Texas – America’s most energy-rich state – is currently without power and heat. Some are claiming that this is an isolated incident, caused by a once-in-a-century storm. Texas Governor Greg Abbott believes that private power companies are to blame. But, both of these lines of reasoning ignore an undeniable reality: government regulates private companies, and this crisis is the result of an insistent political agenda.

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board writes

The problem is Texas’s overreliance on wind power that has left the grid more vulnerable to bad weather. Half of wind turbines froze last week, causing wind’s share of electricity to plunge to 8% from 42%. Power prices in the wholesale market spiked, and grid regulators on Friday warned of rolling blackouts.

Natural gas and coal generators ramped up to cover the supply gap, but there was too big a spike in demand for electricity. Coal and nuclear energy are considered the “baseline power” that supports a power grid, and it’s necessary to stabilize a grid amid dramatic changes. Texas does not have enough baseline power, and this dependence on unreliable energy sources didn’t happen overnight or by accident.

But politicians don’t care about grid reliability until the power goes out. And for three decades politicians from both parties have pushed subsidies for renewables that have made the grid less stable.

New York and New Jersey have been suffering the consequences of pouring subsidies into wind and solar for years. This is compounded by their blockage of pipelines to deliver shale gas and, as a result, the average retail price of power is about 50% higher in New Jersey and New York than it is in their neighbor Pennsylvania. Power The Future conducted a study on New York and Pennsylvania that demonstrates the energy consequences of a relentless green agenda, and those consequences can only be avoided if lawmakers embrace the necessity and value of the natural gas and oil industry. In other words: 

On present trend, this week’s Texas fiasco is coming soon to a cold winter or hot summer near you.