Texas Officials Need to Consider Joining the National Power Grid
It’s time to swallow their pride and consider the safety of the citizens of Texas
Texas is named the Lone Star State for more than one reason. Yes, there’ s a lone star on our flag, but also, we act like loners in far too many other situations. For instance, we’ve been loners with our own separate power grid. And during the recent historic freeze, that became a serious problem.
Please understand, I am a proud multi-generational Texan. My great-grandparents and grandparents farmed, and the farm is still in our family. We grew our own food, and supplied cotton to the economy. When I was growing up, the farm had only well water. We got milk from our own cows, and the entire house was heated in winter by a pot bellied iron stove in the kitchen. It heated the house, and the water for hot water bottles to take to bed.
I tell you this so you know I’m not an entitled person from an entitled family. Members of my family were proud individualists. However, those days are mostly gone, where people could survive in a rustic, individualistic way. Today, people in civilization depend on one another, on the government, and on public and private power companies for water and electricity. Except for Texas.
Texas has its own power grid, of which Texans are very proud. So proud that we are not part of the Federal power grid. Or maybe that’s hubris.
Until this week, our power grid has served us well enough. Texas cuts back on the release of oil and gas during the winter to save reserves for use in our regularly brutal summers. That makes sense, until there is a super freeze event. When everything froze for an extended time this week, power was cut off, and “rolling” or rotating energy was attempted. It didn’t work. Apparently equipment is outdated. Pipes to a nuclear plant froze, shutting down the plant. The blades of wind mills weren’t winterized. Oil and gas reserves were taxed. A transformer blew twice in my neighborhood.
My apartment complex in Austin, Texas, The Park at Monterey Oaks, owned by Northland corporation, was without power for six days, and without water for seven. I couldn’t write most of the week because of no access to WiFi. I wrote this at a friend’s home, who also had no water, but at least there was heat and WiFi most of the time. Her apartment complex is across the street from mine, and had rolling black outs for a couple of days. My neighbors and I would have been grateful for rolling blackouts. At least then we, and our pets and children, could have warmed up briefly, and had hot food to eat occasionally.
People in my complex used water from the swimming pool to flush toilets. We incorporated first World solutions to third problems. We shared supplies, and checked up on one another.
Why were we forced to fend for ourselves for a week in below freezing temperatures? That is the biggest question coming out of this experience.
It was mainly due to lack of foresight on the part of Texas’ legislators and the Governor’s office. Officials are trying to blame the issue on wind power failure, but wind only supplies approximately 13% of the power in Texas. And it does that with propeller blades that are not adequately winterized, because either those in power wanted to save money, or wanted to sabotage windmills. Wind power works just fine in countries and areas where below freezing degrees are normal and the correct winterizing of the blades is used. All the results and issues from the power failure during the freeze will likely cost Texas way more than officials and ERCOT may have initially saved on equipment.
What also happened is that Texas had nothing to fall back on. Since we aren’t a part of the national power grid, nobody could rescue us.
Since Texas won’t share oil and gas with the rest of the country, you would think we would have enough for us. Apparently we do not. At least, we didn’t have enough this winter, with extended periods of below freezing weather.
Texas’ pride is its oil and gas production, which is why they want to blame wind and solar power for the problem. That pride in oil and gas is really hubris. Texans have mocked northern states in the past over their black outs. It’s why Texas hasn’t joined the national grid. It’s a “We’ve got the oil, why should we share it,” hubris. Until we need someone to share with us. That’s the problem with the loner mentality, especially in times of crisis.