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Fact-checking the Texas energy-failure blame game

February 19, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.3%. 1 min read.

FORT WORTH, TX - FEBRUARY 16: Pike Electric service trucks line up after a snow storm on February 16, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. Winter storm Uri has brought historic cold weather to Texas and storms have swept across 26 states with a mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

This week, all eyes have been on Texas. An unprecedented winter storm left 4 million people without power across the state, and put nearly half of all Texans under a boil-water advisory.

Initial reports from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the state's power grid, suggested frozen wind turbines were partially to blame.

Though ERCOT's report on Sunday said that limited natural gas supplies had also crippled the power grid, many Republican officials seized on frozen wind turbines and solar panels as primary culprits behind the outages.

Wind energy accounts for 10% of Texas's winter energy capacity and throughout the entire year it is able to provide 24. 8%, the second-largest source of energy in the state under natural gas, which accounts for 51%.

Furthermore, the cold weather also caused generators and other parts of Texas's energy infrastructure to fail and regulators have previously warned about the lack of preparedness when a 2011 cold snap caused power outages in the state.

According to Webber, a lack of winterization affected power supplies across the board in Texas, not just wind turbines and solar panels.

After low temperatures battered the Southwest in 2011 -- resulting in the loss of power for 1. 3 million customers across several states and rolling black outs for several million Texans -- the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and North American Electric Reliability Corporation released a report recommending preventative measures to protect Texas's energy infrastructure from future extreme winter storms.

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