The power outage in Texas and its ensuing national emergency is a sad reminder of Biden’s ineptitude and naivety in pushing for a renewable energy plan that would see the country become hundred percent reliant on renewable energy by the year 2035.
The record-low temperatures in Texas left over half a million Texans without electricity; scores dead and hundreds of others injured. In Houston, a woman and a girl were reported to have died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at a home without electricity.
Using Texas as a case study of Biden’s planned transition to renewable energy, what we find is though an outage occurred due to pipeline freezes impeding flow of natural gas, wind turbines and solar power fell by over fifty percent of its usual production further compounding the dire situation. A break down of Texas energy supply shows natural gas accounts for 51%, Wind 24.8%, Coal 13.4%, Nuclear 4.9%, Solar 3.8%, while Hydro biomass-fired units is at 1.9%. The total energy generation of Texas is about 125,117 Megawatts.
Dan Woodfin, a Senior Official at Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) attributed Texas power outage to drop in energy by 46,000 megawatts. Woodfin explained that 61% of this shortfall was from fossil fuel energy, while 39% was from renewable energy. These figures means 28,000 megawatts loss were from coal, gas and nuclear plants while 18,000 megawatts were from solar and wind.
While these statistics on the surface appears to present a picture that Texas electricity outage should be blamed on fossil fuel, however, a critical analysis of this data shows Texas lost over 60% of its renewable energy resultant from extreme weather conditions. However, only a figure less than 40% of fossil fuel energy in Texas was lost as result of bad weather.
The inference from all of these is that the challenges accruing to the viability of renewable energy to meet rising demand for electricity outweighs that of fossil fuel. As could be seen, solar energy is adversely affected when it doesn’t sun for days so also wind turbine which shutsdown when extreme weather conditions lead to frozen blades as with the Texas case. Insufficient wind or massive and destructive wind could also shutdown wind turbines.
Michael Bradley, MD -Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. said that he “believes there will be a slowdown on the adoption of renewables in favour of more natural gas build out. While renewables weren’t the root cause here, they’re an intermittent power source, which means they can’t ramp up operations at will. Natural gas and coal, on the other hand, can.”
In the final analysis, it’s important Biden in his convoluted stay in the White House understands that fossil fuel can’t be ruled out or fizzled into extinction by mere wishful thinking. At best, it should be improved by removing carbon to make it cleaner. World leaders rather than devote attention towards building more nuclear warheads should channel their resources towards developing environmental friendly chemicals to rebuild the depleted ozone layer. If this could be done with the Coronavirus vaccine under a short period of time, certainly, there’s nothing stopping achieving same.