A Green New Deal didn't cause the Lone Star State's deadly power crisis, but it could help prevent the next one...
Contrary to GOP gaslighting, the source of the Lone Star State's disastrous power outage cannot be found in the yet-to-be adopted Green New Deal or in a failure of wind turbines, which account for only a small percentage of the energy supply in Texas. As Naomi Klein observed, when she recently appeared on Democracy Now, "Texas is about as far from a Green New Deal as you can possibly get."
The true source of the Texas energy failure, per Klein, lies in the Enron-like deregulation of the Texas energy grid.
As has occurred in other privatized and profit-driven sectors of the economy, like healthcare, where profit-driven "efficiencies" resulted in an insufficient hospital bed capacity in the midst of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, Texas failed to deploy "built-in redundancies," she explained. While uniquely refusing to be a part of either of the two national energy grids, the state's 1999 deregulation scheme also failed to account for the impact of extreme weather on its own, isolated statewide power grid.
The failure of some wind turbines in TX, for example, was entirely avoidable. Wind turbines, according to a Canadian government study, can include "cold weather packages" that allow them to function in temperatures as low as -30C (-22F). In fact, the U.S. Research Station at McMurdo Sound in Antarctica operates on wind turbines that produce enough electricity to power 100 American homes.
Thermal energy production by natural gas, coal and nuclear, accounts for about 80% of energy production in the state. Those systems, which were also not winterized, brought the most disruption to the state's energy supply.
But the problem isn't limited to the profit-driven evasion of "built-in redundancies". Those Texans who didn't lose power became victims of what Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen's Energy Program described as "predatory utility pricing" in which the cost per megawatt hour (MWh) suddenly spiked from $20/MWh to $9,000/MWh. Roland Burns, CFO of Comstock Resources, Inc., a natural gas supply company owned by Dallas Cowboys' billionaire owner Jerry Jones, boasted that the Texas power disaster was "like hitting the jackpot."
Sound familiar? It should...
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