Former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke blamed Republican leaders in Texas for what he says was a failure to prepare for widespread power outages resulting from a massive winter storm that swept across the state this week.
“So much of this was avoidable,” O'Rourke said during an appearance Tuesday on MSNBC. “Going back to the deregulation of our electric grid here in Texas, which has actually created an incentive to not weatherize or protect against these events.”
The onetime congressman from El Paso said Republicans who run the state are too busy worrying about “stupid” cultural issues like the debate over the national anthem before NBA games or efforts to make Texas a “sanctuary state” for companies and people fleeing states with more liberal policies on issues like guns and immigration.
“The energy capital of North America cannot provide enough energy to warm and power people's homes,” O'Rourke said. “We are nearing a failed state in Texas. And it has nothing to do with God or natural disasters. It has everything to do with those in positions of public trust who have failed us.”
“As with Covid, a natural disaster has become far deadlier due to the inaction & ineptitude of Abbott and Texas’ Republican leadership,” O'Rourke wrote in part.
During an interview on Tuesday night, Gov. Abbott said the state's power grid operator, ERCOT, has provided “zero answers” to him and he called for the leadership to resign.
At the peak of the outages, roughly 4 million Texans were without power as temperatures plunged into the single digits. ERCOT made the emergency declaration early Monday morning, forcing local energy providers to institute “rolling outages” that were supposed to be temporary.
However, due to the load still being too heavy, according to ERCOT, local providers had no more circuits to turn off without disrupting hospitals and other emergency services.
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As millions of people across Texas struggled to stay warm Tuesday amid massive cold-weather power outages, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) directed his ire at one particular 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 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.”
The governor’s arguments were contradicted by his own energy department, which outlined how most of Texas’s energy losses came from failures to winterize the power-generating systems, including fossil fuel pipelines, The Washington Post’s Will Englund reported. But Abbott’s debunked claims were echoed by other conservatives this week who have repeatedly blamed clean energy sources for the outages crippling the southern U.S.
In fact, typically mild winters and a lack of state regulations in Texas combined to leave electricity providers unprepared for the extreme cold that has suddenly hit the state, The Post reported. Nearly every source of energy — from wind turbines to natural gas to nuclear power — have failed to some degree following a harsh storm that covered the region with thick layers of snow and ice.
Although renewable energy sources did partially fail, they only contributed to 13 percent of the power outages, while providing about a quarter of the state’s energy in winter. Thermal sources, including coal, gas and nuclear, lost almost twice as many gigawatts of power because of the cold, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s electric grid operator. Critics have also noted that wind turbines can operate in climates as cold as Greenland if they’re properly prepared for the weather.
We shall see but for now, let’s help fund O’Rourke’s organization, Powered By People’s voter registration efforts and keep pushing Texas out of the red and into the blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Powered By People and these Texas Democrats groups: