Tucker Carlson tries to blame ‘green energy’ for Texas blackouts

‘The windmills failed like the silly fashion accessories they are,’ claims Fox News host

James Crump
Tuesday 16 February 2021 17:41 GMT

Tucker Carlson blames green energy for Texas storm

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is pointing the finger at “green energy” for widespread power outages in Texas during winter storm Uri - despite evidence to the contrary.

The Lone Star state is under a state of emergency after freezing conditions swept the region in the past week, causing dangerously icy roads and leaving more than 4.3 million people without power as of Tuesday.

Texas’s energy provider, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), has implemented rolling blackouts to allow the grid to cope with extra demand caused by the freezing temperatures.

During his Fox News show on Monday, Mr Carlson attempted to blame renewable energy sources, including wind turbines, for the power outages affecting Texas along with several other southern states.

The Fox star criticized Texas for rapidly implementing renewables over the last 15 years, instead of using Texas’s “huge natural gas deposits”. (The state got almost a quarter of its energy in 2020 from wind power, the second largest source after natural gas).

“So it was all working great until the day it got cold outside. The windmills failed like the silly fashion accessories they are, and people in Texas died,” he said.

The deaths of at least five people in Texas have been linked to the storm. Four are suspected to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning after attempting to heat their homes using cars, while a 78-year-old man died after he fell to the ground and was stuck in the cold for two hours, according to CBS News.

Mr Carlson continued: “Green energy inevitably means blackouts. Someday that may change as technology progresses, but as of right now and given the current state of technology, green energy means a less reliable power grid.”

“It means failures like the ones we’re seeing now in Texas. That’s not a talking point, that is true. It’s science. So of course, they’re denying it.”

About half of Texas’s wind turbines froze over this weekend, according to earlier reports.

Texas wind farms typically generate a total of 25,100 megawatts of energy, the Austin-American Statesman reported. On Sunday turbines accounting for 12,000 megawatts had iced over, ERCOT, which manages the state’s power grid, confirmed.

However the turbines don’t typically operate at full capacity in winter, MRT noted, adding that strong winds were turning the state’s “unfrozen coastal turbines at a higher rate than expected, helping to offset some of the power generation losses because of the icy conditions”.

Experts also said that the rolling blackouts were actually caused by the cold weather slowing down the production of natural gas, a fossil fuel, as the liquid is freezing inside of pipelines, which are not made for the current conditions in the state.

Energy policy reporter Molly Christian at S&P Global tweeted that climate consultancy ICF said while ERCOT’s wind output “is slightly below expectations... the main supply issue is lack of available thermal generation (both gas and coal) due to freezing conditions”.

Dr Emily Grubert, assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, tweeted: “Let us be absolutely clear: if there are grid failures today, it shows the existing (largely fossil-based) system cannot handle these conditions either.

“These are scary, climate change-affected conditions that pose extreme challenges to the grid.”

Other experts warned that although Texas sees a harsh winter every few years, the severity of Winter Storm Uri could be linked to climate change.

Dev Niyogi, a professor at the University of Texas, told NPR on Monday that “perhaps this is the harbinger of what we have all been talking about with regards to climate changes,” but stressed that it also could be a combination of seasonal and long-term factors.

TechCrunch reported that renewable energy sources can even help with winter storms similar to the one in Texas, as they can be used as back-up power plants to ease the stress on the grid during times of high demand.

The use of wind turbines is expected to increase in the US over the next decade. President Biden recently directed his administration to identify steps to double renewable energy production from offshore wind by 2030.

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