Despite an initial rush by fossil fuel-friendly commentators and other media sources to blame frozen wind turbines for deadly power outages in Texas, the organization that manages a vast majority of the state’s power grid said that wind woes have been the least significant factor in the blackouts.
Dan Woodfin, a senior director for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, told Bloomberg News that frozen instruments at natural gas, coal and nuclear facilities combined with limited supplies of natural gas led to the energy failures.
Wind shutdowns accounted for just 13% of total outages because wind only makes up 25% of the state’s energy mix in the winter.
Those energy supply failures combined with massive demand due to all of the state’s 254 counties facing freezing temperatures uncommon for most of the state. Planned 45-minute rolling blackouts became lengthier due to the supply problem, with some parts of the state still without power.
Natural gas supplies are coming back slowly due to pressure issues, according to Woodfin, but strong winds have helped boost production from wind turbines still in operation. Wind power production has actually exceeded ERCOT forecasts for the weekend.
About 90% of Texas is powered by a Texas-only power grid, but ERCOT director CEO Bill Magness told Dallas news station WFAA that the state should consider joining a regional transmission organization to meet energy demands.