When Green Turns Blue: Texas Blackouts Linked to Frozen Wind Turbines

P. Gardner Goldsmith | February 16, 2021
Font Size

As more than two million people without power shiver and suffer in winter-hit Texas for what’s turning into the third-straight day, news is emerging that a major factor in their hardship has been the shift by the region’s government-established power monopoly to rely on wind turbines.

Steve Gorman reports for Reuters:

Ice storms knocked out nearly half the wind-power generating capacity of Texas on Sunday as a rare deep freeze across the state locked up turbine towers while driving electricity demand to record levels, the state's grid operator reported.

The claim that the deep freeze drove up electricity demand is unproven, but the first part of the “grid operator’s” claims is verified.

That “grid operator” is the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which is part of a cluster of “non-profit” corporations granted special power-control privileges by both the Texas government and the feds -- thanks to it being affiliated with something ironically called the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), itself granted special “standard-mandating” power by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (implemented during the George W. Bush administration).

Of course, anyone familiar with the U.S. Constitution and economics knows that the Bush-era act is not sanctioned by any enumerated constitutional “power” and the granting of statute-backed monopolistic privilege in anything, especially power, is a recipe for disaster.

Which is precisely what is happening now in Texas, as President Biden has - again, contrary to the U.S. Constitution -  promised “disaster aid” to areas afflicted by cold weather and, more to the point, shut out of power by their own government-inspired, climate-phobia-driven policies.

Those are policies that have seen ERCOT push more and more for wind turbines, which already had been shown to be unreliable and energy-intensive, especially in winter. Reports Gorman:

’We are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units,’ the agency said.

Gorman observes that wind turbines in the western portion of Texas were badly hit by ice, and:

Of the 25,000-plus megawatts of wind-power capacity normally available in Texas, some 12,000 megawatts was (sic) out of service as of Sunday morning ‘due to the winter weather event we're experiencing in Texas,’ ERCOT spokeswoman Leslie Sopko said.

And in a state that became famous over a century ago for producing oil, kerosine, and natural gas, the idea that its government-placed power monopoly can’t handle the consumer demand to keep people warm is incredibly insulting – another example of how government crowds-out and regulates away private competition which, if it were allowed to function, would recognize consumer demand for everything from energy to environmental preferences, and fill the needs. In a free market, competitors drive down costs and increase quantity – in this case, they would be megaWatts of power – as well as reliability.

But over the past 20 years, the policy-prescribers in Texas (and elsewhere, such as Oklahoma, which is affiliated with the same regulatory schema as ERCOT and is seeing the same regional power problem, as those giant wind turbines freeze) have pushed for (and gotten) more and more windmills in place.

Wind generation ranks as the second-largest source of energy in Texas, accounting for 23% of state power supplies last year, behind natural gas, which represented 45%, according to ERCOT figures.

And that’s just the average from last year. For the weeks prior to this regional freeze, wind power accounted for nearly twice that 2020 average. And that's not good for the market, for energy supply and costs, for reliability, or for the environment. It will become even worse if Joe Biden’s moratorium on fracking (which produces natural gas) lasts long.

Already, the increasingly inadequate, increasingly wind-reliant, anti-free-market grid in Texas has experienced power problems. In 2019, the state was brought to its proverbial knees during a heatwave, seeing real-time costs for power rise from a price hovering near $114.25 per megaWatt-hour (MWh), to $9,000.00 per MWh because the monopolistic supplier was unable to match demand. Rolling blackouts were the result.

Which is precisely what is happening today – something to consider for the “Climate Change” cultists who want everyone to drive electric cars – cars that won’t be going far if the grid is stuck with windfarms to provide power during cold, icy weather.

For some reason, the term, “DUH” comes to mind.

And it echoes as one looks at the oft-unmentioned environmental costs of wind power, costs that the Climate Change Cult assiduously avoids mentioning.

First, there’s the fact that during ice storms, the power companies have to try to “de-ice” the blades. This requires energy - in the form of gas-powered fire trucks and helicopters, the transport and heating of multiple thousands of gallons of water, human labor, and monitoring. In a market economy, these would prove to be financially preclusive, and energy suppliers likely would not invest in such a burdensome, expensive paradigm.

But in a world where politicians simultaneously claim for themselves the power to grant exclusive power-supply status to a corporation while also pushing the inefficient, unreliable “green energy” canards of wind and solar for large energy needs, an expensive system can be subsidized, either with direct government payments, or by the continued allowance of the corporation to be shielded from real competition – to, in essence, make the consumers be stuck with their energy overlords and all their mistakes.

As I wrote for MRCTV in 2019the Global Warming Policy Forum notes:

Evidence from around the world shows that windfarms are killing birds. Larger bird species seem particularly vulnerable, but many smaller and more common species are also threatened.

I also mentioned:

(T)he Associated Press has noted that windfarms kill 573,000 birds each year. And, as shocking as it might seem, they also burst bat lungs. The turbines themselves require vast amounts of carbon-using energy to construct, including concrete, steel, and fiberglass blades that, in total, weigh between 800 and 900 tons – per turbine. All of this requires energy, to mine the ore, transport the raw materials, make, and transport and build on site. And the sites require vast access roads that destroy wildlife habitats, not to mention the bizarre health effects people cite when living near the infrasound created by mills, and the energy-intensive process of re-blading and refurbishing needed every 20 years.

And there’s this, for the people who still are erroneously freaked-out by CO2: 

(T)he poured concrete at the base of every mill… emits CO2.

Meanwhile, back in Texas -- a state and former republic historically known for its provision of energy -- the government-created power system and its insane reliance on wind turbines cannot provide consumers with enough power, and Climate Cultists continue to push for government-mandated wind farms that carry huge environmental footprints and aren’t such a good idea when, like now, 70 percent of the lower 48 states is covered in snow.

This is a lesson about wind power that Germans are learning, as well, and they are turning to coal as the reliable energy source that it is.

The only way to truly escape the madness is to allow choice, which requires liberty, and a rejection of the collectivist mindset that, right now, is harming cold, powerless Texans.