Texas isolated from the national grid
It’s too early to say definitively what went wrong in Texas and how to avoid similar cuts. State authorities will need to provide more information.
However, some experts say the criticism of wind power already seems overblown.
“In terms of the blame game, the focus on the wind is a red herring. It’s more of a political problem than what’s causing the grid power problems, ”said Dan Cohan, associate professor of Environmental Engineering at Rice University.
Cohan said there was a much larger deficit in terms of the amount of energy Texas expected from natural gas than from wind.
It’s clear that a wide range of energy sources, from fossil fuels to renewables, were unprepared for the unusual weather in Texas.
“Regions need to rethink the extreme conditions they are planning for and make sure their systems are designed to be resilient to them,” said Jenkins of Princeton.
The energy crisis in Texas also raises questions about the nature of the state’s deregulated and decentralized power grid. Unlike other states, Texas has made a conscious decision to isolate its network from the rest of the country.
That means that when things are going well, Texas cannot export excess energy to neighboring states. And in the current crisis, it cannot import energy either.
“When it comes to electricity, what happens in Texas stays in Texas,” Cohan said. “That really worried us again.”