Millions of Americans were without power as winter storms raged across the country this past week. Among the dozens of states affected were Missouri, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Indiana, Tennessee, Iowa, and Texas. It was reported that at least 30 deaths occurred from the storms. In other places such as Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, the same storm caused tornados. The state of Texas was hit the hardest, with its power grid failing, leaving over 4 million people without electricity or heat amid freezing temperatures and snowfall, two weather patterns Texas rarely ever experiences.
The Right believes the storm and ensuing outages exemplify the importance of maintaining coal, natural gas, and nuclear power sources. The Wall Street Journal wrote, “Coal and nuclear are the most reliable sources of power” and pointed out that Texas’ coal supply has dropped drastically in the last decade. It was also noted that California, a state which has experienced widespread and recurring blackouts, banned coal years ago. Jonathan Lesser of the Manhattan Institute, stated, “In a sane world, the recent experience in Texas would be a red flag for offshore wind advocates.”
“What we are experiencing is the ‘perfect storm’ disrupting our energy supply and creating an extreme stress test for the power grid that is being pushed to the limits. Yet, there is one source of energy that is, thankfully, keeping us from mass power outages and keeping the lights and the heat on: coal…”Stephen Moore, Economist and Chairman of FreedomWorks Task Force on Economic Revival
“Our electric grid simply cannot deliver the massive amounts of energy needed during the winter to keep us from freezing to death. That means we need to keep burning natural gas,” argued journalist Robert Bryce.
The Left believes that the storm and outages show the pressing need to update the long-outdated power grid that the U.S. operates on and are pushing for renewable energy measures to be implemented.
“Wind accounts for just 10 percent of the power in Texas generated during the winter. And the loss of power to the grid caused by shutdowns of thermal power plants, primarily those relying on natural gas, dwarfed the dent caused by frozen wind turbines, by a factor of five or six.”Will Englund, Journalist with The Washington Post
Englund noted that other cold climates such as Alaska and Norway operate on electricity regularly, and argued that Texas was simply severely underprepared. An article from The Texas Tribune read, “Wind turbines — like natural gas plants — can be ‘winterized’ or modified to operate during very low temperatures. Experts say that many of Texas’ power generators have not made those investments necessary…” Kate Aronoff, staff writer with The New Repbulic, argued, “The message [of this weeks’ episode] is that a system that is supposed to be the tip of the spear of decarbonization is buckling under the weight of stresses that will soon look mild, as we see ever-greater changes in weather thanks to global warming.”