Your author lives just outside Austin, in the Texas Hill Country, among the three million people who’ve been living through the electricity blackout. Lights are back on, the internet works, I’m writing on a fully charged IPAD. Life is beautiful again!
People in Central and South Texas are not prepared for eight inches of snow or freezing rain. We’re prepared for 104 degree heat, not Zero degree days. Before the ice storm’s arrival, food stores were emptied as if there would be no more food. The farm-to-market, four lane highway to our home was closed— hills too steep, curves too dangerous. People here drive like idiots in snow or ice so officials close down the roads with overpasses or that I’ve over quickly. Most of us stayed home this week. Even the postman was a no-show.
The Blame Game Now Begins
Criticism has been leveled at different fuel sources. The reality is renewable and fossil fuel energy sources were shut down. Wind turbines were heavily criticized for icing up. Turbines in Texas are not prepared for extreme cold with heating elements. Our cell phones were iced up killing text, calls, and the internet.
Demand for electricity hit all-time highs as Texas also lost natural gas, nuclear power plants, and coal-fired power generation at times. Seems they require water, not icebergs to make water into steam that turns massive generators.
Under normal conditions, we have a solid power grid. The Texas energy grid uses an amazing mix of energy sources.
- The largest energy source, natural gas plants, supply 46%.
- Wind provides 23% of Texas electricity.
- Coal supplies 18%.
- Nuclear at 11%.
- Solar provides 2%.
When the internet briefly came back on during the blackouts, we found Texas creates 23% of our electricity from Wind. Traveling between Austin and Lubbock Texas, our rear view mirror reflects thousands of giant wind turbines. At night, the fields of red blinking lights disappear over the horizon in every direction.
Many say Oil was our energy the past, natural gas the present, and green energy the future. When you’re sitting in the dark and cold, you don’t really care what source produces the electricity.
One thing for sure, it will take decades to transition to green, but let’s not go green too quickly and risk shutting down the electricity in the freezing cold or the 104 degree heat… OK?