As an artic blast sweeps across Texas, renewed calls for reliable energy are surfacing amid announcements of energy conservation appeals. 

Senior fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Jason Isaac, commented Sunday evening that “#FossilFuels are keeping the lights and heat on tonight in Texas, and they’re the ONLY sources of generation that, at a moments notice, can increase their output. We need more #coal and #naturalgas.”

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees the state’s power grid, issued a conservation appeal Sunday afternoon for Monday morning between 6-10 am. It then announced a second appeal Monday for Tuesday morning between 6-9 am. 

Lawmakers, policy analysts, and citizens responded by calling for more reliable energy sources as ERCOT cited “unseasonably low wind” as one of the reasons for the appeal. Additionally, solar energy isn’t available during the early morning hours before sunrise.

Although the grid conditions weren’t as tight as expected and returned to normal conditions at 10 am Monday, the calls for reliable energy continue to ring out as Texans remember the impact of winter storm Uri in 2021, which left many Texans in the dark as unreliable renewable energy sources like wind and solar failed. 

Isaac hit at unreliable energy again Monday morning, posting that “Unreliables (aka “renewables”) make up ~40% of ERCOT and are currently only producing 12% of generation. Predictable, reliable #NaturalGas, #Coal, #Nuclear are keeping you warm.” 

Energy expert Bill Peacock commented, “Renewables are a fraud on American taxpayers. And renewable subsidies are theft.”

Another energy policy analyst, David Blackmon, highlighted the energy generation mix at just before 6 am Monday before the sun rose:

#Solar: 0%

#Wind: 6.5%, and just about 11% of its nameplate capacity

#BatteryStorage: 0%

#NaturalGas: 67.4% [!]

#Coal: 18.4%

#Nuclear: 7.4%

#Hydro: .2%

“Even combined with #Hydropower, #ERCOT is only getting 6.7% contribution from renewables as the Texas public is waking up and demand is moving into one of its peak times of the day,” posted Blackmon. “Again, both Solar and Storage are ZERO, and, as ERCOT essentially admits in its request, Wind is massively failing, although the agency blames it on ‘unseasonably low wind’. Which is BS. It is no secret that the wind pretty much always does as temperatures go lower and lower. If the Texas grid managers do not understand this, then Texas needs new grid managers. So, as I pointed out last night, today and tomorrow on the #TexasGrid will as usual come down to Natural Gas, and the ability of both ERCOT and the industry to keep the compressor stations and pipelines up and running. It will also depend on the ability of power generators to keep their plants online.” 

State Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress) responded to Blackmon, stating, “This happens every time. When we need wind and solar the most, they choke like a bad secondary. How about a moratorium on future wind and solar farms in Texas. Let’s invest in energy sources that work every time.”

Dr. Ginny McDonald responded to Oliverson, stating, “In the summer Tom, wind over produces and save ERCOT’s ass many times. We need diversity when it comes to energy. Only morons don’t recognize that fact.”

However, Dallas Fort Worth-area attorney Warren Norred quickly replied, poking holes in McDonald’s argument:

I have candles in my cabinets to assist me when the lights actually go out, but if I have to use them, it means the electrical grid has failed. The candles are not diversity, but the flat tire of my lighting system. ‘Diversity’ as a goal means that you are displacing economic viability as the primary reason for taking action toward a desired result. In electricity, the most effective energy production is nuclear, followed by gas and coal. Wind and solar are effective in very limited circumstances, and only employed today when the government inappropriately subsidizes favored programs generated by lobbyist money. Anyone supporting these programs have been bought, or are ignorant of how the system works.

Oliverson commented, “I know diversity is the liberal dog whistle word, but days like today prove it’s a failed concept here.”

ERCOT’s second conservation appeal for Tuesday highlighted that “At this time, if you are experiencing an outage, it is local in nature and not related to grid reliability.” 

Sydnie Henry

A born and bred Texan, Sydnie serves as the Managing Editor for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Government and is utilizing her research and writing skills to spread truth to Texans.