When Texans Needed Electricity the Most, Wind Went AWOL

When Texans Needed Electricity the Most, Wind Went AWOL

August 31, 2021

The impacts of February’s terrible winter storm in Texas continue to be felt. ABC News reports today that electric utility Griddy Energy reached a settlement with Texas officials after the utility’s rates skyrocketed to $9,000 per megawatt-hour during the unprecedented cold snap.

According to the story:

The state sued Griddy after customers received bills totaling thousands of dollars. Griddy filed for bankruptcy and confirmed a liquidation plan that waives claims against customers for charges incurred from Feb. 15 through Feb. 19, while the $9,000 per megawatt-hour price for wholesale power was in effect.

While there was blame to go around after the tragic winter storm and its ensuing power outage, one large cause frequently ignored by the media is the role of wind-powered electricity. Here at Power The Future, we have frequently discussed the lack of reliability inherent in most forms of renewable electricity, primarily wind and solar. The Texas winter storm again demonstrated this vulnerability.

In our recent report, “Lights Out: How Green Mandates are Undermining the Affordability and Reliability of Electricity,” we looked at how wind power all but disappeared for Texans at the time they needed it the most: 

Wind-power flacks tried to point fingers… at nuclear, coal, and natural gas. Yet the facts show a far different picture. On February 7, wind provided 42 percent of the state’s electricity; 4 days later, after the storm first hit, wind fell to 8 percent. As wind turbines froze, fossil fuel plants saved the day. According to ERCOT data, even as some of those plants were crippled by extreme cold, coal and natural gas plants overall increased their output by 47 percent and 450 percent, respectively, in response to increased demand.

There are few things more important than reliable, affordable electricity, and it becomes even more important during extreme weather events. That is why American policymakers should seek energy solutions that understand the critical role of fossil fuels, and the dangerous limitations of renewables.