U.S. Energy News

Texas was warned about power plant vulnerability a decade ago

GRID: More than 3 million customers around the country are still without electricity as another winter storm system hits the eastern U.S. today. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
A federal study following a 2011 cold snap warned Texas officials that the state’s power plants were vulnerable, but it’s not clear whether any of the recommendations were followed. (Bloomberg)
Rick Perry, who was governor of Texas during the 2011 outages and briefly served as Secretary of Energy, suggests Texans would willingly endure power outages “to keep the federal government out.” (The Hill)
Beyond Texas, experts note that the U.S. power grid overall is uniquely vulnerable to weather-related disruptions and that other countries are better prepared. (Yale Climate Connections)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbot orders all natural gas producers in the state to sell to power producers before exports will be allowed, as power prices continue to soar. (S&P Global)
First responders are seeing a surge in carbon monoxide poisoning cases as people use stoves and cars to keep warm, with at least two deaths in Texas and four in Oregon so far. (KVUE, Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: “Achieve Your Renewable Goals With Geothermal” will be held virtually on March 3, and explore innovative ways for governments, industry, schools, utilities, and homeowners to use geothermal heat pumps to meet their renewable energy goals. There is no cost to attend. Register today.***

EQUITY:
Experts say that Black and Latino communities in Texas were among the first to be hit with power outages, and will be disproportionately impacted by anticipated bill increases to cover disaster costs and harden the grid against future extreme weather. (New York Times, Reuters)
A Texas utility disputes social media claims that wealthy Dallas neighborhoods were exempted from rolling blackouts. (Newsweek)

UTILITIES:
• FirstEnergy now says a $4 million payment to a former consultant turned Ohio regulator “may have been for purposes other than those represented within the consulting agreement.” (Cleveland.com)
• Two Republican state representatives introduce legislation to repeal the state’s power plant subsidy law at the center of a corruption investigation. (LimaOhio.com)

POLLUTION: Replacing an eastern Michigan coal plant with a natural gas plant will deny a more meaningful reduction in ozone pollution to an area at high risk for respiratory diseases, environmental advocates say. (Energy News Network)

COAL:
• Kansas City utility Evergy now supports proposals in Kansas and Missouri to authorize coal plant securitization meant to shield customers and investors from costs associated with accelerated plant retirements. (Energy News Network)
• Virginia lawmakers pass a bill to end costly coal tax credits, sending it to the governor for consideration. (Roanoke Times)
• A coal company owned by the family of West Virginia’s governor settles with environmental groups after it was found liable for discharging selenium into a waterway. (Associated Press)

WIND: Boston University now sources all of its electricity from a new wind project in South Dakota, which school officials say is a more effective way to reduce emissions. (Energy News Network)

OIL & GAS: California lawmakers introduce a bill that would ban fracking and other methods of oil extraction in the state by 2027 and require wells to be set back from homes and other public places. (San Francisco Chronicle)

COMMENTARY:
• A Texas author points to the state’s “ruinous laissez-faire governance” as a cause of utilities’ failure to prepare for extreme weather events. (New York Times)
• An energy systems expert writes: “the failure to prepare for this extreme cold is systemic, and the millions of Texans enduring deadly cold and extreme discomfort deserve a closer look at what went wrong, and what to do about it.” (New York Times)

Comments are closed.