I got this from Instapundit where he quoted extensively (in full?) from the original. I assume I can quote what he quoted. It’s an editorial from the Wall St Journal, so the assertions made are not documented. I assume they know what they are talking about. I have highlighted the parts I found most interesting.
Mr. Abbott blamed his state’s extensive power outages on generators freezing early Monday morning, noting “this includes the natural gas & coal generators.” But frigid temperatures and icy conditions have descended on most of the country. Why couldn’t Texas handle them while other states did?
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 couldn’t meet the surging demand for electricity—which half of households rely on for heating—even as many families powered up their gas furnaces. Then some gas wells and pipelines froze.
In short, there wasn’t sufficient baseload power from coal and nuclear to support the grid. Baseload power is needed to stabilize grid frequency amid changes in demand and supply. When there’s not enough baseload power, the grid gets unbalanced and power sources can fail. The more the grid relies on intermittent renewables like wind and solar, the more baseload power is needed to back them up.
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.
Start with the 1992 Energy Policy Act signed by George H.W. Bush, which created a production tax credit to boost the infant wind industry. Generators collect up to $25 per megawatt hour of power they produce regardless of market demand. The credit was supposed to expire in 1999, but nothing lasts longer than a temporary government program, as Ronald Reagan once quipped.
The renewables lobby found GOP allies in windy states like Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa. Former Enron CEO Ken Lay, who had made a big bet on wind, begged then Texas Gov. George W. Bush in 1998 to lobby Congress to extend the credit for five years. Congress has since extended it more than a dozen times, most recently in December.
Wind producers persuaded former Gov. Rick Perry to back a $5 billion network of transmission lines to connect turbines in western Texas to cities. This enabled them to build more turbines—and collect more tax credits. Because the Texas grid is often oversupplied, wind producers sometimes pay to off-load their power, though they still turn a profit with the tax credits.
Coal and nuclear are more strictly regulated and can’t compete, and many coal plants have shut down in Texas and elsewhere. Over the last decade about 100 gigawatts of coal power nationwide has been retired—enough to power 60 million homes. Many nuclear plants are scheduled to shut down, including large reactors in New York and Illinois this year.
Instapundit adds that “[w]e need more nice, reliable, environmentally friendly nuclear plants”.
Update (a few minutes later) from Alpha News:
It seems “green energy” fails when times get tough. You know what doesn’t have that issue? Coal and nuclear power.
Rest of article below the fold, but without the in-line links.