Are Frozen Wind Turbines To Blame For The Texas Power Outage?

In this video, Dave covers the massive power outages and blackouts across Texas, which left nearly 4.5 million people without electricity as Winter Storm Uri dumped snow and frigid temperatures onto Texas and surrounding states.

Texas leads the nation in wind power generation, but saw half of its turbines freeze up over past few days. Dave asks if green energy projects are to blame for the Texas blackouts or if this was a system-wide catastrophe of the state’s power grid.

Tell us what you think and if you’ve been affected by the blackouts below!

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Comments (29)


  1. c mottet
    Reply

    not all were iced over the ones in Limestone County were spinning

  2. Richard in Houston
    Reply

    I liked your segment on the Texas Electric Grid failure. Of course Republicans are going to blame solar and wind because for some reason they hate them. But according to ERCOT 2/3 of the power loss was from frozen fossil fuels. Sure wind power suffered as well, but as you said everything failed. Just don’t kid yourself that Wind was the bulk of the failure. It was not. Everyone is going to play with the numbers to make their political case, but in the end facts will come out. When wealthy people get frozen out of the homes, it doesn’t mater what party they belong to. They will want answers and heads will roll. So yeah wind turbines did freeze, but that’s because the power providers were cheap and didn’t want to pay for heaters! That’s not a fault of wind energy. That’s businesses maximizing their profits. The power companies get to choose how they make their power, and they get to choose how reliable they are since there’s no penalties in Texas and no regulation. In Texas we have a deregulated industry. That’s what ERCOT is. Texas formed ERCOT because it didn’t want to submit to federal regulations. So Texas opted out. Patting itself on the back saying “We don’t need no federal gov. because Texas is a Pro-business state. So we got what we wanted. No strings attached and no way to help or be helped by anyone else. It’s a case of toxic pride. Now that we see the negative consequences, I wonder how many will try to deflect blame? Freedom is a great thing, but no regulation is not. I think a public utility should have some regulation and be accountable to the public and not solely to business interests. Right now it’s the wild west in Texas power. I hope Republicans stop hating wind and solar and instead come to love truly reliable utilities.

    • Dave
      Reply

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Richard. Did you suffer any outages?

    • Stephen
      Reply

      Wind and solar should be be used as a backup ONLY! It is too unreliable at this point to put all your eggs in that basket, as you have found out.

    • Robert Messmer
      Reply

      Do you blame over regulation for the rolling black outs in California? Speaking of greedy companies the power company in California was responsible for wildfires that killed 84 people and no one – not an officer of the company or the state regulator – went to prison.

  3. Patricia Hefferan
    Reply

    I live in NJ where we have frequent power outages. We have a wood burning fireplace and since we are one of three rural areas in NJ most people who live in these rural areas stockpile wood. Nonetheless wood is a poor substitute. We just bought a new generator but we are hoping to have a Generac installed before next winter. Generac uses propane. However it is costly at $11,000.

    Climate change has always happened and how about what is happening now? – frigid weather never before experienced in warm weather states. Wind power is a crock. We need to rely on fossil fuels and Biden’s recent shut down of the pipeline is inexcusable. Everything he is doing is inexcusable. However, in all fairness, it is not Biden who is at fault. His handlers are at fault. I’d like AOC and Pelosi to spend some time in Texas in a house that has no heat.

  4. Bud
    Reply

    I live in Texas, and inside my home, it has been 42 degrees for the past 48 hours. My electric company generates electricity using solar panels, but the other electric companies have failed. They used nuclear power in Fukushima, Japan, Chernobyl, Russia, and Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, so I prefer solar and wind. If wind works in Iowa, they can make wind work in Texas. Somebody ought to be fired!

    • Dave
      Reply

      Sorry to hear that Bud. Stay warm, if you can!

    • LeRoy Peaslee
      Reply

      France is big on nuclear power and I haven’t heard of any catastrophes. Their plants are all of the same construction so that if there is a problem in plant then repairs or upgrades can be done to all plants. Three Mile Island was not that significant in the annals of nuclear power plant
      accidents. Furthermore, today’s technology can be used to better control such systems. Japan’s problem was situating the plant near the ocean.

    • Texas ex
      Reply

      Electric heaters wouldn’t have helped. The blades, shaped as airfoils, like airplane wings, were covered with ice, destroying lift. Aircraft have expansive boots on the leading edge, to break the ice loose. I don’t know how that could be installed on rotating blades. Maybe, but highly improbable.

  5. Willie T
    Reply

    Here in Austin, our power went off Saturday night, and finally came back on last night. We stuck it out at home, but it was rough with 3 nights of single-digit temps. It’s just now slightly above freezing, with the ice starting to melt.
    And the mess has opened up a debate about the reliability of wind energy. We should, at the least, have a viable backup system, unfortunately, even with a Republican gov., the levers of power over these things are controlled by clueless Democrats.

    • Dave
      Reply

      Sounds like a rough few nights, Willie. Glad to hear it’s back on. And yes, its an absolute disaster that grid was not prepared.

  6. Stephen
    Reply

    Texans got duped into thinking that wind would take care of not using fossil fuels. Guess that was not the case, huh… Had gas turbine generators or some other fossil fuel powered generators were in use to be the main source and have the wind as a backup, it would have kicked over to fossil fuel and no one would have felt a thing. But now we have had multiple deaths and major foul ups because the Green New Deal kids SCREWED THE POOCH! IF IT AIN’T BROKE DON’T FIX THE FRIGGEN THING!!!

    • ed
      Reply

      so how much fuel in the form of fossil oil is in use in all the gear boxes and propeller Gear boxes is used in each wind turbine? It is staggering I’m sure. Go to wally world get a 30000 btu propane heater and a couple barbeque tanks and waaa laaa . Set your cold food out in the garage or barbie grill it will stay cold enough.
      set back read a book on survival.

  7. Mike
    Reply

    Wind actually outperformed the forecast. It is always expected to be low in the winter. While 16 gigawatts of wind was lost, 30 gigawatts of thermal was lost. Simple math shows that the majority of the problem occurred with thermal plants. But thermal vs wind is not the issue. Texas is the only state to have a grid that is deregulated and control lies with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and not primarily with FERC. Texas is set up for heat while states like Minnesota are set up for cold. They have problems with excessive heat while we have problems with excessive cold. Wind and Thermal can all be set up to easily run in very cold climates, hell there are wind turbines in antarctica and some of the most northern parts of europe – but they are winterized. We don’t winterize. That isn’t an issue with ERCOT, wind, or thermal power. That is a result of the governance of the PUC of Texas. Texas state government is the root of the issue, not what type of power is used.

    • Informed American
      Reply

      And the decisions of consumers through the marketplace to favor providers that do not winterize and therefore charge lower prices.

    • LeRoy Peaslee
      Reply

      That’s what happens when one relies on bureaucrats to oversee and regulate anything like utilities etc.

  8. Beverly Arthur
    Reply

    Yes! Green energy is a farce. Only in the perfect conditions does it work as expected but you put extreme conditions on it & it can’t produce! You can run out of gas on the side of the road, put 5 gallons in on the side of the road from a courteous passerby but they can’t recharge you on the side of the road! In town ok BUT on the road only Gas or diesel!!!

  9. Patricia Hefferan
    Reply

    The Left does not recognize that actions have consequences. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. We are seeing this roll out with all of Biden’s changes. The sweeping decision to rid the use of fossil fuels does away with hundreds of products that are necessary in our daily living. Fossil fuel is not just gas. Fossil fuels are needed to make everyday products many of which are essential of the quality of life.

    When we mandate that gender changes be recognized we crush women’s rights. I don’t want a biological male in the bathroom with me. I don’t want a biological male or female allowed to be in close content with me with an intent to harm.

    You need to think scientifically and make fact based decisions. Our lives should not be molded to fit political belief systems.

    What happened to Texas is an example of not thinking ahead. To be honest I have little sympathy for the fact that Texas decided to go full blown into green energy and then ended up freezing to death. Their whole system was unbalanced. You need a backup system in case your desire for green energy causes environmental disasters. It is always helpful to have a good generator in your garage. We also depended on our fireplace and we stockpile wood. We have been through many instances of power loss and depend on the generator and fire place to help us. Our goal is to install a Generac.

  10. Carolyn Marlin
    Reply

    Sir is the Kenite Congress going to repay U.S.A. tay payers on their losted/faked Trump impeachment??/ Sir when are the Kenite Congress going to impeach Obama for U.S.A. tax dollars to support Iran??? Sir is Obama going to retire in Iran ???

  11. george
    Reply

    If there had been an equivalent amount of additional fossil fuel power replacing the wind turbines there wouldn’t have been black outs or brownouts. Fossil power or green energy doesn’t make any difference with down power lines. The old method of backup power scattered throughout the system would have save the system from the down power lines.

  12. Richard Hennessy
    Reply

    The percentage of electricity generation by wind or solar is just the supply part of the problem. Consider the demand side. Electric heating is an inefficient form of heating, and unlike decades ago, 60% of Texas homes are now all-electric, greatly increasing demand when the temperature drops. Which is more efficient–using natural gas to directly heat homes, as Texans used to do, or to generate electricity to heat homes? My home has natural gas heating, by my choice. More balance of demand seems to be needed.

  13. Billy Wilson
    Reply

    The Green revolution only want wind and solar no back up that caused the failure . Freezing cold and snow covering the palels. You need some other back up Nucular, Gas, Coal something incase of your green failure.

  14. David Teel
    Reply

    Ercot took 4000 MegaWatts off the grid in two months three years ago when they let Luminant close three coal plants that had acceptable emissions and were very reliable. What did you think was going to happen. You can’t replace base load units that have dedicated employees with solar panels and wind and expect to have reliable power during a storm.

  15. Judy Geissen
    Reply

    Governor Abbott has promised an investigation of ERCOT. Most Texans have never heard of ERCOT until now, and while having our own grid independent of all the other grids seems advantageous, we need more information about what ERCOT does and questions answered. Our Agricultural Commissioner, Sid Miller, spoke on Fox News and said some of the members of the Board of Directors of ERCOT lived outside Texas (Ca., Germany, Illinois) so my question that I would like answered is shouldn’t it be a requirement for ALL ERCOT board members to live in our state and have the best interest of Texas citizens. The Director of Operations we saw on tv should be answering to Board Members who live in Texas. I think we are all wondering with back-to-back winter storm warnings why there wasn’t time to develop a plan that worked 100%. Most of our winters are mild, and this one was until it wasn’t, but whether the blame lies on the power companies or ERCOT, we want to know. Kicking the can down the road on infrastructure when we happen to have more natural gas than any other state is not acceptable. Does ERCOT care that thousands of homes have pipe damage (mine included) and that insurance companies will have thousands upon thousands of claims? Most of us have large deductibles of several thousands of dollars that didn’t have to happen. Our power companies in Texas need to be prepared every winter for winter storms. Days without heat, power and water are unacceptable. I know personally that families that lived within the boundaries of critical infrastructure (hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) never had their power off. With today’s technology, there must certainly be a way to block off critical infrastructure such as hospitals without including entire zip codes. Has it come to the point that Buyers must ask if the zip code they are purchasing in is considered critical areas? I personally know of people in Kansas who had a foot of snow and -15 degrees and never lost power. At any rate, Texans, especially our elderly, disabled, pregnant women, special needs children, all deserve to have basic necessities like heat, power and water. Green Energy doesn’t work for Texas winter storms…….

  16. Mark Sauck
    Reply

    In some places I don’t mind wind turbines. They are an eyesore to the landscape, unless you live in North Dakota. As an energy source though along with solar panels they are not the best reliable source of energy. I would trust nuclear much more as well as natural gas.

  17. Richard Helzer
    Reply

    Green energy is definitely A major problem

  18. LeRoy Peaslee
    Reply

    People should be instructed on how to survive these types of catastrophes. Having butane cook stoves is a must in every home. Usine a propane barbeque grill in the central room of the house is helpful. There should be sufficient blankets to keep everyone warm. There should be a supply of non-perishable food and water to last at least 10 days. I don’t recommend storing wood for a fireplace because of space requirements. No home can have too many flashlights and candles and matches.
    My dog and I survived on our stored food and water resources. Cooking was slow but successful for warm meals. I have winter type clothing and blankets that kept me warm. I’m not a fan of water heaters that use an electrical starter, I prefer the old style pilot light. I’m 84 and relied on knowledge I acquired during WWII in Maine. The internet has information on how to survive but many people don’t want to make the effort to prepare, they prefer the government to do it for them.

  19. Eijebong
    Reply

    “P-l-e-a-s-e” let’s get over the ‘insane’ comments blaming green energy for the power outage!
    Possibly this perception originated from Texas governer Greg Abbott? However, frozen gas lines (thermal energy) and instruments were the primary reason because they were ‘not winterized’. Green Energy (Wind Turbines and solar panels), account for approximately 23% of Texas power needs. Even then, not all turbines went off-line! 50% of Texas power originates from natural gas, the remainder is spread between coal, wind, nuclear and solar.
    Also, understand that to avoid federal regulation, the power grid is independent of the Eastern and Western Interconnections covering the country; it can tap into ‘limited’ power from neighbouring states and Mexico, but they needed all their electricity at the time to keep up with demand.
    10 years prior, to the day, testimony was given to the Senate Inquiry, about a similar power outage! The follow-up report (FERC August 2011) identified “…winterization procedures…were either inadequate or were not adequately followed.”.
    Properly winterizing the power infrastructure is expensive so it’s unlikely power suppliers will choose to do so on their own.
    Bottom line: The Green New Deal has nothing to do with the Texas power crises…it is all about greed and profit.

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