Fact check: Renewable energy is not to blame for the Texas energy crisis

NBC News

By Kevin Collier
Picture via Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images file

Almost immediately after winter storms and extreme cold temperatures first swept through Texas last Thursday and left millions of residents without power, prominent conservative politicians and media personalities began to blame renewable energy.

And while frozen wind turbines have contributed to the state's energy crisis, that type of energy has only slightly underperformed against published expectations for winter output. Natural gas, the state's dominant energy source, has provided drastically less energy than expected, according to experts and industry data.

"Wind was operating almost as well as expected," said Sam Newell, head of the electricity group at the Brattle Group, an energy consulting company that has advised Texas on its power grid.

"It's an order of magnitude smaller" than problems with natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, he said.

Efforts to pin the ongoing crisis on renewable energy gained steam in recent days. Fox News host Tucker Carlson devoted an entire segment to the claim Monday night, which didn't mention gas failures but did blame Texas' expansion into wind energy for deaths in the state.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott described the troubles processing and delivering natural gas in such extreme cold in an interview Tuesday with the local Dallas station WFAA. But when Abbott went on Fox News to talk about the disaster, he zeroed in on the Green New Deal, a progressive plan that proposes massive investment in renewable energy.

Publish : 2021-02-18 11:19:00

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