While Millions in Texas Go Without Power, Governor Abbott Pushes Anti-Green New Deal Message
While millions go without heat in Texas, Governor Abbott is ensuring his re-election campaign will be well funded.
Millions across Texas are currently without power and running water after a record breaking storm, bringing in severe drops in temperature and leaving people without heat. According to Governor Greg Abbott (R), this doom could have been avoided if it weren’t for…wind turbines?
On Tuesday, Governor Abbott went on Fox News with host Sean Hannity to address the situation. Defending his preparation, or lack thereof, for the Texas storm, he went on shift blame to renewable energy resources.
Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10 percent of our power grid, and that trust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis . . . it just shows that fossil fuel is necessary.
His defense comes from the surfacing of images of frozen wind turbines. While wind turbines can operate in colder temperatures, and have been successful in providing energy in places like Iowa, the Lone Star state did not invest in anti-icing mechanisms for the turbines due to their generally mild temperatures. Because there were no anti-icing measures in place, neither the wind turbines, nor any other power source including those fueled by nonrenewable resources, could operate.
Even where the frozen turbines did contribute to state-wide outages, Abbott’s own energy department, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) spoke out, claiming that the renewable energy sources only made up 13 percent of the power outages. Other energy sources, such as coal, gas, and nuclear, lost almost twice as many gigawatts of power due to the cold-induced shutdown.
Despite only being responsible for a fraction of the loss, Republican officials were quick to turn this disaster into a political opportunity, creating an example of Texas of the consequences of the Green New Deal, which by the way, has not been passed and certainly has not been implemented in Texas.
Texas Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw tweeted Tuesday that “[t]his is what happens when you force the grid to rely in part on wind as a power source.” Fox News host Tucker Carlson chimed in blaming renewable energy for the outages and wrongly stating that Texas was “totally reliant on windmills.” Former Texas Governor and former energy secretary under President Donald Trump Rick Perry also joined the chorus blaming the unpassed Green New Deal and renewable energy for the situation in Texas.
It is quite clear that the wind turbines were not a true cause of the outages. But for the wind turbines, Texas would still be in the exact position it is currently in. Only a small amount of investigation would lead an interested person to find that the turbines only a contributed to a very small portion of the outage and that their failure to operate was highly avoidable.
Despite the obviousness of it all, Governor Abbott and anti-climate advocates will not miss the chance to spin what should be an event demonstrating the need for the Green New Deal, with false claims about its harm. As New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez put it “[t]he infrastructure failures in Texas are quite literally what happens when you *don’t* pursue a Green New Deal.”
Even a shear acknowledgement of changing weather conditions would have better placed Governor Abbott to handle this. But instead, Texas has ignored climate science and deregulated their energy sector, largely privatizing its power grid to avoid federal regulation.
Governor Abbott knows that the wind turbines did not cause this disaster. But he also knows that this message is politically convenient. It not only shifts the blame off of his leadership, but also pushes an anti-Green New Deal message, something that is sure to secure him upwards of millions of dollars for his next campaign.
In 2019, Abbott’s PAC received $500,000 from oil heir, Ray Lee Hunt. Another $500,000 from CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, Kelcy Warren, and $1,617,500 from Syed Javaid Anward, CEO of Midland Energy.
Governor Abbott is not righteously fighting on behalf of Texans, but protecting his own power. His bold willingness to lie is costing lives today, and will continue to cost lives down the line which will continue to be affected by climate change.