Headline RoundupFebruary 18th, 2021

Perspectives: Texas Storm and Power Outages

Summary from the AllSides News Team

A winter storm in Texas this week brought snow, ice, and power outages due to extra energy demand and frozen utility plants. Website poweroutage.us estimated 4.5 million customers went without electricity Tuesday, and 3.3 million on Wednesday. Ninety percent of the state's power is managed by The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). The storm caused gas pipelines to seize up, wind turbines to freeze, oil wells to shut, and power plants to go offline. Representatives from ERCOT said there were 45,000 megawatts offline; 15,000 megawatts were sourced from wind, and 30,000 were gas and coal. In response, the Southwest Power Pool implemented rolling electricity outages lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to protect the grids from collapse. The U.S. Energy Department issued an emergency order allowing power plants to keep running despite possibly violating certain environmental limits, and President Joe Biden approved it. Some voices from the right, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, framed wind and solar energy as the culprit for the blackouts, casting doubt on climate change and the reliability of green energy, and criticizing the Green New Deal. Some voices from the left pointed to articles linking climate change to destabilization of the jet stream, which can lead to outbreaks of "Arctic air"; other voices from the left criticized the right for blaming Democrats and framed Texas officials' criticism of renewable energy as a ploy to boost Texas' fossil fuel industry.

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