This article appears in the February 26, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
The Model ‘Green New Deal’ Power Mix Failed
Feb. 19—According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total electricity generation capacity in Texas (“total peak summer installed”) is 125.1 gigawatts (GW). The wind component is 30 GW, or 23%. This winter, the total rated capacity of the wind on line February 14 was 25.1 GW, according to the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), cited in the Feb. 14 Austin Statesman. Of this, 13 GW was iced and not generating anything on that Sunday. Wind power failed before anything else; and ERCOT’s latest, February 19, claim of the amount of wind power not generating, was still 15 GW.
A significant share of Texas’ gas turbine power failed to back up the lost wind, both because of freezing equipment, and because the price skyrocketed so far that wholesalers hesitated to buy it, and it was going into heating buildings in any case.
Thus, the Green New Deal model—natural gas turbines cycled up and down to back up “renewables” when the latter don’t generate—failed.
Three of Texas’s four nuclear reactors continued to operate at 100% power throughout. The reactor which shut down on February 15, due to a cold weather–related failure of pressure sensing lines to the feedwater pumps, restarted and had reached 14% power by Wednesday, February 17.
Deeper Freeze, Better Performance
In comparison, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), serving the northern Midwest states—Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, the Dakotas and Manitoba (plus most of Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, all of Louisiana and about half of western Mississippi), has come through the polar vortex much better, even though the freeze in that region has been far deeper than in Texas. Wind and solar installations in that region (which are growing rapidly) failed in parts of that region as well. But MISO still has coal power outweighing all other forms of energy in its mix, followed by natural gas, and then nuclear.
Terry Jarrett, a former board member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and of the Missouri Public Service Commission, wrote a February 14 column on the Upper Midwest situation for the Montgomery News in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, called “Coal Rescues U.S. Power Grid During Polar Vortex.” Jarrett reported that MISO said that on February 10 coal was generating more than half of all power there in the polar vortex, some 41,000 out of 78,000 MW. Natural gas was generating 22,000 MW, and nuclear 10,000 MW. Wind turbine output, predictably, fluctuated wildly, reaching 3,200 MW at most. Solar? 231 MW.
“That means these much-vaunted renewable systems produced only about 4% of the electricity needed across 15 states,” Jarrett concluded.
The late Lyndon LaRouche, in a 2012 speech, said:
Dump the Green policy, which is presently the greatest single threat to humanity, that’s a killer! And we have to understand that it is the increase of man’s intelligence, which means also scientific intelligence, the ability to create, the ability to generate higher energy-flux densities per capita and per square kilometer of territory—these are the standards on which credit is generated. It’s to increase the population of the planet: increase it! Stop this killing people…. We need, also, increases of the energy-flux density of the work being done. These are absolute necessities for us.