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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

February 17, 2021

Top Story

A Glimpse of America’s Future: Climate Change Means Trouble for Power Grids

By Brad Plumer, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2021-02-16 15:24:47

Analysts have begun to identify a few key factors behind the grid failures in Texas. Record-breaking cold weather spurred residents to crank up their electric heaters and pushed demand for electricity beyond the worst-case scenarios that grid operators had planned for. At the same time, many of the state’s gas-fired power plants were knocked offline amid icy conditions, and some plants appeared to suffer fuel shortages as natural gas demand spiked nationwide. Many of Texas’ wind turbines also froze and stopped working, although this was a smaller part of the problem. [ read more … ]

Blackouts

Frozen Wind Farms Are Just a Small Piece of Texas’s Power Woes

By Will Wade, Naureen S Malik and Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2021-02-16 15:01:21

While ice has forced some turbines to shut down just as a brutal cold wave drives record electricity demand, that’s been the least significant factor in the blackouts, according to Dan Woodfin, a senior director for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state’s power grid. The main factors: Frozen instruments at natural gas, coal and even nuclear facilities, as well as limited supplies of natural gas, he said. “Natural gas pressure” in particular is one reason power is coming back slower than expected Tuesday, added Woodfin. [ read more … ]

Severe weather, blackouts show the grid’s biggest problem is infrastructure, not renewables

By Jonathan Shieber, Tech Crunch  •    •  Posted 2021-02-16 15:02:09

It’s becoming harder for the U.S. to ignore the very real effects of global climate change — and despite the efforts of naysayers, it’s not a push to renewables that’s to blame for the outages sweeping the nation. It’s the country’s energy infrastructure. Severe weather conditions caused by global warming have now caused massive blackouts across some of the largest cities in the United States. The inability of the U.S. power grid to withstand the stresses caused by extreme weather events shows that the nation needs a massive investment plan to upgrade energy infrastructure in an effort to make it more resilient. [ read more … ]

How a bitter cold snap is crippling power in Texas

By Dino Grandoni, Washington Post  •    •  Posted 2021-02-16 15:01:51

Fox News host Tucker Carlson faulted Texas for being “recklessly reliant on so-called alternative energy, meaning windmills” on his program Monday evening. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board piled on, solely blaming “frozen wind turbines” for Texas’s power problems. But that criticism is misleading. While Texas’s capacity to generate energy from the wind is down with some turbines seized up, most of the power generation offline during the cold spell was supposed to come from traditional thermal plants, Texas’s grid operator said Monday. It is a redux of what happened in California after a severe heat wave in August pushed California’s grid to the brink, prompting then-President Donald Trump and other Republicans to blame the blue state for shifting away from fossil fuels. [ read more … ]

EVs

The Auto Industry Bets Its Future on Batteries

By Jack Ewing and Ivan Penn, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2021-02-16 14:59:50

As automakers like General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford Motor make bold promises about transitioning to an electrified, emission-free future, one thing is becoming obvious: They will need a lot of batteries. Demand for this indispensable component already outstrips supply, prompting a global gold rush that has investors, established companies and start-ups racing to develop the technology and build the factories needed to churn out millions of electric cars. [ read more … ]

GM’s Chevy Bolt SUV joins parade of new US electric vehicles

By Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2021-02-16 15:00:48

Whether people want them or not, automakers are rolling out new electric vehicle models as the industry responds to stricter pollution regulations and calls to reduce emissions to fight climate change. The latest offering comes from General Motors, which unveiled a Chevrolet Bolt compact SUV on Sunday. It comes with an estimated range per charge of 250 miles (400 kilometers) and a $33,995 starting price tag. [ read more … ]

Off Topic

There’s an invisible climate threat seeping from grocery store freezers. Biden wants to change that.

By Desmond Butler, Washington Post  •    •  Posted 2021-02-16 15:02:58

In nearly every supermarket in America, a network of pipes transports compressed refrigerants that keep perishable goods cold. Most of these chemicals are hydrofluorocarbons — greenhouse gases thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide — which often escape through cracks or systems that were not properly installed. Once they leak, they are destined to pollute the atmosphere. [ read more … ]

After Four Years of Trump, Some Scientists Are Treading Into Politics

By Leslie Kaufman, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2021-02-16 15:00:26

Last week, The Lancet, the well-respected British medical journal, published a report excoriating the Trump administration for leveraging racism and class anxiety to push environmental policies that killed tens of thousands of people. Not long ago such an article would have been an outlier. Although political conservatives in the U.S. have waged a war on science going back to evolution in the classroom, the vast majority of scientists—and scientific journals—made it a point not to fight back directly. Many thought their research would speak for itself and that their neutrality enhanced their legitimacy.  [ read more … ]

 

 

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.