A Free-Market Energy Blog

Renewables, renewables … a Texas-sized Truth Creeping In

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 16, 2021

“You may be right. I have stated earlier that the ERCOT market’s reliance on scarcity pricing did not foresee an environment with high penetration of zero-marginal cost resources. Back in 2005 I generically simulated an energy-only market to demonstrate how scarcity pricing would work. I never anticipated the mass introduction of renewables at that time.”

— Robert Borlick, electricity expert (below)

The once-proud, sturdy Texas electric grid is under severe stress–yet again.

Growing demand (electricity is life!), hot (almost) summer weather, and disappearing renewables (wind in the day, solar at night) have exposed a wounded grid. The wounds are evident in prematurely retired natural gas and coal generation capacity, and a lack of new capacity. Why? Renewable energy has severely diminished incentives that would have prevailed without (government-enabled) wind and solar capacity.

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Texas Legislature Ignores Renewables in Grid Reform: More Problems Ahead (Peacock Interview)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 15, 2021

“In 2011, even though the market was caught by surprise by one of the hottest summers in Texas history, Texans did not experience any blackouts because of reliable generation. Today, however, the reckless rush toward renewables has changed the situation completely. ”

– Bill Peacock, Energy Alliance (below)

Bradley: How did the just-completed Texas legislative session deal with the February Blackout that caused so much damage to life and property?

Peacock: The session had two issues to address here. One was dealing with the aftermath costs; the other was reform to prevent it from happening again. The lawmakers did poorly with both. 

Q: What did the Legislature do wrong in dealing with the aftermath? 

A: The Legislature failed to appropriately address the massive financial costs of the blackout, most of which came from the Public Utility Commission of Texas’s (PUCT) panicked decision to raise electricity prices to $9,000 per MWh and leave them there for three days.

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Wind Turbines and Birds: Latest from the American Bird Conservancy

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 14, 2021

“Which source of mortality kills more or less birds is somewhat irrelevant…. the threat posed by wind turbines grows with each facility constructed in a high-risk area for birds.”

– Joel Merriman, American Bird Conservancy

The “avian mortality problem” has long been an issue for industrial wind turbines, as chronicled over the years at MasterResource. Even fossil fuel critics, such as Paul Gipe (and Christopher Flavin) in Wind Energy Comes of Age (1995), have lamented the by-products of industrial wind. And who can forget the characterization used by the Los Angeles head of the Sierra Club in a 1989 hearing? “Cuisinarts of the Air’.

The problem persists. At the anti-wind site, Stop These Things, one author wrote this week: “Cars, cats and skyscrapers don’t kill Eagles – like the critically endangered Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle, but 60m wind turbine blades with their tips travelling at 350Kph routinely smash them out of existence.”

Bird hobbyists and lobbyists have to be kind to the overall mission of renewable energy to address climate change, but their reservations against wind are real and enduring.

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PUCT Leaders in Denial: Erasing Renewables from Blackout Causality

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 10, 2021
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“Environmental Racism” as Second-class Energy (E&E News article)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 9, 2021
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The Green Energy Agenda vs. Long Run Strategic Planning

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 8, 2021
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Japan’s New Anti-Fossil Fuel Approach Will Compromise Its Energy Security

By Vijay Jayaraj -- June 7, 2021
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“Fact-check: Is renewable energy to blame for the Texas energy shortage in April?”

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 3, 2021
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Ed Rivet vs. Kevon Martis: Renewables Imposter at Work

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 2, 2021
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ExxonMobil’s Appeasement Strategy Backfires (Milloy has had enough)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 1, 2021
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