Well, boys and girls, how did you enjoy the trial run on the New Green Deal? Did it meet your needs and expectations dealing with the record cold that was experienced this past week? What can we possibly learn from all this? One thing, I believe, is wind and solar are not reliable sources of power to sustain the maximum loads that are required during peak demands.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, using October 2020 data, natural gas supplied 52%, or 19.9 million MWh, of the state's power output; wind and solar 23%, or 8.6 million MWh; coal 17%, or 6.7 million MWh; nuclear 4.9% of the total.
So what happened? Maximum output for the grid is 83,000 MW, with a peak load of 57,000 MW. Of the total, wind generates about 30,000 MW; natural gas, 47,800 MW; and coal 10,800 MW. When the cold weather hit, wind turbines failed, gear boxes failed, and just like any propeller, they became iced and would not turn. As a result of all this, wind output fell from 42% to 8%.
And yes, other power plants failed because of poor planning by the owners of the power plants and the state in winterizing their facilities. With that said, coal-fired and gas-fired plants increased output 47% and 450% respectively. Wind and solar could not be increased because they were frozen and or covered in snow and ice.
So what is the answer to all this? As much as I detest regulation, maybe we should go back to regulating the power industry, and assuring that proper planning and maintenance are accomplished to prevent this from happening again. I think it also shows that we cannot rely on an unreliable source of energy such as solar and wind. It should be a part of the mix, but not the total source. States in the North do not have these problems because they know how to prepare and have a very low percentage of renewable sources in the mix.
One other thing, if we were totally on green, what do we do when the sun goes down and the wind stops blowing. How do we store that energy?