In the aftermath of the Texas blackouts, one thing became clear: Big Wind and Big Solar have nearly every media outlet in the country on speed dial. Indeed, in the days after the blackouts, numerous media outlets carried stories proclaiming that the near-disastrous failure of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid should not be blamed on wind or solar energy. To cite just one example, The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman declared that pointing the finger at renewables after the storm and blackouts that left nearly 200 people dead was “another indicator of the moral and intellectual collapse of American conservatism.”
But the effort to absolve renewables ignores the oldest maxim in politics: follow the money. Doing so shows that wind and solar aren’t as blameless as you’ve been told.
Indeed, about $66 billion was spent building wind and solar infrastructure in Texas in the years before the blackouts, yet all that spending was worth next to nothing when the grid was teetering on the edge of collapse during the early morning hours of February 15. For several hours, there was no solar production, and of the 31,000 megawatts of wind capacity installed in ERCOT, only about 5,400 megawatts, or roughly 17% of that capacity, was available when the grid operator was shedding load to prevent the state’s grid from going dark. Read more…