Rick Perry: Texans Would Rather have Blackouts than Regulation

February 17, 2021

Houston Chronicle:

WASHINGTON – Former Texas governor Rick Perry suggests that going days without power is a sacrifice Texans should be willing to make if it means keeping federal regulators out of the state’s power grid.

In a blog posted on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s website, Perry is quoted responding to the claim that “those watching on the left may see the situation in Texas as an opportunity to expand their top-down, radical proposals.”

Republicanleader.gov:

The freezing cold weather hitting Texas knocked out several of the power grid’s sectors, especially the natural gas power plants (40% of Texas’ electricity), but also wind (23%), and even nuclear (11%). Since the winter months are typically off-peak for a state like Texas, power producers plan to have generation offline for repairs during that season. This, in theory, makes sense, but not if the infrastructure hasn’t been weatherized to ensure all of the remaining generation is up and running in case of an emergency.

Offline power sources, cold weather freezing gas pipelines that hadn’t been weatherized, renewables that can’t provide baseload power, paired with a demand never before seen in the state’s history? That results in millions of people freezing without power and little guidance on when it will be back.

“The frozen turbines out in West Texas is a freakish event. But that’s what the government is supposed to think about – what are the freakish events that can occur that could cost people their lives, and to protect against that,” Gov. Perry said.

A lot of the anger is aimed at Texas’ power-grid operator, called the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Current Gov. Greg Abbott has called for an investigation into the operator and the grid’s failure. And while it’s understandable that Texas didn’t insulate pipelines to operate in record-low temperatures, grid operators are waking up to needed contingencies at the state and local level. ERCOT anticipated the state’s wind would only provide 7% of the power demand in the winter months, but it didn’t anticipate the catastrophic loss of baseload power as pipelines froze and natural gas production came to a halt.

Those watching on the left may see the situation in Texas as an opportunity to expand their top-down, radical proposals. Two phrases come to mind: don’t mess with Texas, and don’t let a crisis go to waste.

“Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” Gov. Perry said, partly rhetorically. “Try not to let whatever the crisis of the day is take your eye off of having a resilient grid that keeps America safe personally, economically, and strategically.”

Houston Chronicle again:

Texas’s power grid, run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, occupies a unique distinction in the United States in that it is not under the oversight of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission because it does not cross state lines.

That has long been a point of pride with Texas politicians who in the 1990s chose to deregulate the state’s power market and allow power companies, not state regulators determine when and how to build and maintain power plants.

That system has fallen under scrutiny in recent days as millions of Texans are left without power following an unusual cold snap. Following a near identical episode a decade ago, federal regulators warned Texas it needed to take steps to better insulate its power plants.

But there is little indication that happened, prompting criticism of ERCOT from Texas Republicans and Democrats alike.

Perry, former president Donald trump’s energy secretary, however, blamed the rolling blackouts on the rise of wind and solar energy in Texas.

“If wind and solar is where we’re headed, the last 48 hours ought to give everybody a real pause and go wait a minute,” Perry said. “We need to have a baseload. And the only way you can get a baseload in this country is [with] natural gas, coal, and nuclear.”

That argument has been made by numerous conservatives in the midst of the blackouts. But it does not line up with early reports indicating the majority of the lost generation was natural gas plants not wind turbines, which actually performed better than grid regulators had anticipated, said Michael Webber an energy professor at the University of Texas.

2 Responses to “Rick Perry: Texans Would Rather have Blackouts than Regulation”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    Another moronic Texan spouting the “oil and gas uber alles” crap that the sellout Republicans always push because they have to keep their donors happy. Surprised that he didn’t mention coal.

    • jimbills Says:

      It’s a clear example of the corrupting power of corporate money in politics.

      So, Abbott says he wants a commission to study what happened, but the problem is that it will almost certainly be packed with FF guys. They’re going to draw the conclusions they want to draw.

      I just watched an ERCOT interview on NBC, and the people there absolutely refused to say what source of power had the majority share of issues. They were asked about it twice point blank, and both times they started with problems with solar and wind sources, then said gas and nuclear had problems, too, but both times they refused to say which source had the larger share. That’s an example of what we face here – no one wants to blame FF.

      They did say that a problem with gas was that the supply was frozen in the well heads themselves. That’s something that couldn’t really be prevented in the future.


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