Is Green New Deal the reason for power outrage in Texas? Here's why conservatives are calling it 'a scam'

Millions of Texans are still without water and electricity as winter storms continue


                            Is Green New Deal the reason for power outrage in Texas? Here's why conservatives are calling it 'a scam'
Fiesta Mart is closed due to power outage in Austin, Texas on February 17, 2021 (Getty Images)

On February 16, Fox News host Tucker Carlson placed the blame for the Texas power outages on the Green New Deal, a proposed House resolution to address climate change that has not been implemented in the US yet. "Unbeknownst to most people, the Green New Deal came to Texas, the power grid in the state became totally reliant on windmills. Then it got cold and the windmills broke, because that’s what happens in the Green New Deal," said Carlson during his self-titled prime time show. 

The Green New Deal is a proposed House resolution that New York Democratic Party representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey, introduced in 2019. The bill, which didn't pass the House, seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and addresses problems like economic inequality and racial injustice. The proposal is now trending as some news outlets are defending the deal, saying it shares no blame in the power outage crisis, while others are calling it a scam.

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Conservatives blame proposal

It wasn't just Carlson who blamed the proposal. Texas Governor Greg Abbott also directed his ire at the failure in the state’s independent energy grid- frozen wind turbines.

“This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” Abbott said to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday. “Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10 percent of our power grid, and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis. ... It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary.”



 

 

“We should never build another wind turbine in Texas,” read a Tuesday Facebook post from Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. “The experiment failed big time.”

“Texas is frozen solid as folks are left w/ no power to stay safe & warm. This is a perfect example of the need for reliable energy sources like natural gas & coal. These blackouts would be devastating to MT. No heat & no power simply are not options in the dead of winter.,” tweeted US Sen Steve Daines, a Republican from Montana.

A sign states that a Fiesta Mart is closed because of a power outage in Austin, Texas on February 17, 2021. (Getty Images)

 

Wind power only a small part of Texas’s energy supply

In reality, failures in natural gas, coal and nuclear energy systems were responsible for nearly twice as many outages as frozen wind turbines and solar panels, the state’s power grid, said in a press conference Tuesday. Abbott declared the reform of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, a non-profit that manages the grid used by about 90 percent of the state, saying that he thinks leadership at the entity needs to resign.

ERCOT said on Tuesday that of the 45,000 total megawatts of power that were offline statewide, only 16,000 came from renewable sources, while about 30,000 consisted of thermal sources — gas, coal and nuclear plants, said a Chicago Tribune report. While Texas has ramped up wind energy in recent years, the state still only relies on wind power for about 25 percent of its total electricity, according to ERCOT data.

Victor Zelaya tries to start a fire on a barbecue grill during the power outage caused by the winter storm on February 16, 2021, in Houston, Texas (Getty Images)

 

A popular scapegoat

Renewable energy has always been a popular scapegoat, according to Emily Grubert, an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“It’s easy to focus on the thing that you can see changing as the source of why an outcome is changing,” Grubert told the AP. “The reality is that managing our systems is becoming more difficult. And that’s something that is easy to blame on the reaction to it, but it’s not actually the root cause.”

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