February 20, 2021 11:46:17 PM
Thinks Texas families should seek recourse
The disaster in Texas is heart-breaking, particularly as it was preventable. Texas has had several arctic blast events that drove major power failures, the last being only 10 years ago. Most of the same failures occurred then. Contrary to a meme being circulated, wind power provides less than 25 percent of Texas power and, according to the Texas utility, Ercot, frozen wind turbine shutdowns account for less than 13 percent of the outage (the famous helicopter/wind turbine photo was taken on a mountain in Sweden years ago). Natural gas provides 51 percent and coal provides 13.4 percent of the total power production. Nuclear, solar, and hydro power provide the rest. The gas-powered plants shut down because the gas infrastructure froze. Just as it did in 2011. The U.S. Department of Energy told them then, and had told them the times before, that they needed to insulate their systems against cold, but because the Texas power system was intra-state only, the DoE could not order them to do so. Since insulating the parts subject to freezing is expensive, the Texas Reliability Council of Texas (Ercot) (reliability!) chose not to do so.
The suffering and damage this has caused needs to be addressed. The families who had members die, the people whose houses were damaged, the businesses that have lost income and suffered damage all need to sue Ercot. Some enterprising lawyer may put together a class-action suit. Perhaps losing money to a host of plaintiffs will encourage Ercot to do the right thing and protect their infrastructure from the cold. Thanks to climate change, extreme weather has become much more likely, and will become even more so in the future.
I know Texans are tough. "One riot, one Texas Ranger," after all. But why should Texans suffer just so that the owners of Ercot can maintain their profits at public expense? Be like Trump. Sue the bastards.
2. Possumhaw: One transition to the next LOCAL COLUMNS
3. James Finck: Congressional freedom of speech NATIONAL COLUMNS