Really seems to me like the GOP/right-wing media complex is playing with fire on this one. I don't live in Texas, but the stories I'm seeing on Reddit and other places about people without power and even running water for literally days are almost unbelievable. The attitude in conservative media of pushing the usual culture war crap in the midst of intense privation on a mass scale strikes me as remarkably blasé under the circumstances. Texas is very close to being an actual battleground state, one that the GOP absolutely cannot afford to lose, and yet folks like Abbott, Cruz, and Tucker are cavorting about like it's 2008 and TX is R+12 or whatever. Do these people realize that, by all accounts, the GOP completely owns the failure to winterize in Texas and thus can easily be portrayed as directly responsible for Texans to having to relieve themselves in buckets in 40-degree homes over a period of days?

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As someone who inspects and works on Gas Turbines, it’s sort of trips me out this whole thing comes down to insulation.

It is slightly annoying that everyone says that Gas Turbines failed.

It’s like running out of gas, and saying your car broke down.

Real lessons learned.

1. Don’t underestimate worst case scenario’s.

2. Storage has a long way to go.

Bottom line, the situation can’t be blamed on renewables or legacy generation, but comes down to good old human lack of foresight.

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for fuck's sake... yes.

> stop politicizing energy.


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I think for the most part, this a pretty fair summary. But there are a couple of things about "winterization" that both you and Jenkins are glossing over the details on. For wind turbines, the Forbes article brings up these mysterious "cold weather kits" that can be added to turbines but then goes on to describe heating for the gearbox, pitch motors and battery. Deicing is described as adding heaters and a coating to the rotor blades. While I'm sure adding heaters inside the nacelle is pretty trivial, there is no indication that was the problem. The icing issue, which has been indicated as a problem, with deeper investigation is not a simple modification, it requires a specially equipped turbine. The two most common turbine manufacturers used in Texas, GE and Vestas, didn't even start talking about deicing until 2013, long after most turbines in Texas were installed. Making this change would require replacing entire turbines, hardly trivial. As for natural gas lines freezing, the only mitigation technique mentioned my Jenkins is burying the lines deeper. But what has been reported is that the lines were freezing at the wellhead. You can't bury a wellhead, so what is the fix for that? I'm not saying it's not possible, I'm sure they have technology they use in the Brakken Shale fields, but if you're going to critique what happened in Texas, why not give a concrete example? It is hard to understand whether there is a feasible solution if no one can provide a solution.

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Noah. A different graphic might be better. Gov. Abbott is in a wheelchair as a result of an accident. Maybe just re-label as Texas.

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People don't just "politicize energy" by accident. The fossil fuel industry (led by the Kochs) feeds such ready-made propaganda to the right wing politicians to disseminate because they can protect themselves with this as a cultural/political issue.

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You mention the “cost advantage of solar and wind” however, I’d like to point out some key information that was left out. Firstly, the graph you use showing the Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is extremely misleading. It does not exclude the benefit of government subsidies (paid by the American Tax payer) and it doesn’t capture other costs of renewables, such as storage costs (I.g. Large battery installations that use rare earth minerals destructively mined). I also believe that other economic benefits are missed when talking about oil and gas. For example, those who own the mineral rights are paid a huge revenue (in the case of New Mexico, around 1/3 of the states entire budget comes from O&G revenue) all of these other benefits are not realized with renewable energy. This would be a huge deficit to NM (and to a smaller degree to Texas) for these revenues to be lost.

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Difficult to sympathize with voters who elect bad leaders for stupid reasons. Voters get the leaders and outcomes they choose. If Texans consistently choose right-wing leaders who pander to ignorance, prejudice and malice, the outcomes will correlate.

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Texas Governor George W Bush was an important contributor to Texas's investment in renewable energy – I guess that was pre-culture war

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One thing:

- Joe Biden's inaugural address he had a line which I think are fitting for the times, acutely, now more than ever:

"If we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes just for a moment.

Because here is the thing about life: There is no accounting for what fate will deal you.

There are some days when we need a hand.

There are other days when we’re called on to lend one.

That is how we must be with one another."

The rest of the country stands ready to reach out to Texas -- but it has to reach back.

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Stop politicizing energy! This is a great concept. I will point out that current renewables (wind and solar) exist only because energy choices have been politicized for the last couple of decades. Without government subsidies in the US and other countries, and without mandated generation from renewables, these sources would be used only for a few niche applications. The Lazard analysis states that it includes effects of US subsidies, which amount to about $15 per MWh for wind and $5 per MWh for solar PV.

Further, the assumptions used to calculate the LCOE appear highly questionable. For example, they assume 55% capacity factor for onshore wind (recent projects achieve 42% at best) and 34-36% capacity factor for solar PV (actual capacity factor in the US is 25%). If future projects have historical capacity factors instead of Lazard's assumptions, they will generate a lot less power and hence have much higher LCOE. Wind would increase by 30% and solar by 40% due to this factor alone.

Making energy choices based on technical factors alone (I assume economic factors would count too) is a worthy objective, but not likely to be achieved. It is disingenuous to assume, as Mr. Smith does, that there is a clear national priority to implement renewables based only on technical factors.

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In Australia we hooked up most of the country into a unified market for electricity. It has definite downsides - it costs a fortune and if you have to move the electricity very far a lot goes missing. But for a country like the US, with almost ten times Australia's population density, it wouldn't be that bad and as long as you can keep the network up it would be great for emergencies like this. If Texas has no electricity, pipe it in from Colorado or Tennessee.

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"Have you ever noticed that the mainstream media and liberal politicians almost always say the exact same thing when something goes wrong with their narrative that only progressivism can save America?

Leaving aside for another time how they coordinate so well, they are at it again when it comes to trying to absolve renewable energy from the blame for last week’s Texas blackouts."


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Thanks Noah. Everybody's an expert. Here's some history on dereg and perspective from somebody who is one.


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Dear Mr. Smith,

Please keep bashing your former home state. Hopefully some of the influx of liberals will head back out to California. Just curious. When is that bullet train gonna be ready to ride? It's going to be awesome. Also, you should remind folks that rental prices in San Fran are down and now you too can live in this great city! YOU should put you name in to run for governor! I think they need you.

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One question I have about wind power is that it is shown to be cheaper in the aggregate as you show in the article, but when it comes to residential options I pay more for 100% wind than I would do if I didn’t care how electricity is produced. Why does the end consumer pay more if it is cheaper?

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