If I can easily use my smart phone to have a video call with my family, or colleagues, around the globe, then why can't they just keep the lights on in Texas?
In the aftermath of the extreme cold weather this February that led to massive rolling blackouts across Texas, there has been no shortage of stones cast trying to identify the root cause. Blame was first directed at renewable generation because ice storms caused nearly half of the region’s wind farms to be out of service. This assertion was followed by retorts that it was not wind, but rather a combination of natural gas, coal and nuclear power plant outages that impacted reliability. Next, the market design and electric grid operator were targeted, as Texas is home to a unique free market compared with other U.S. electricity regions.
So, what actually went wrong—and who is to blame? Despite the constant finger pointing, the reality is we do not yet know and likely will not know for quite some time.
David Cherney is a US energy policy expert at PA Consulting