Texas GOP Wants to Punish Renewable Energy Firms Despite Gas & Coal Failures in Power Outage

Republican Texas lawmakers want to punish renewable energy firms for its winter storm power outage caused largely by other sources of energy, the Texas Tribune reports.

February’s power outage was the result of failures by natural gas, nuclear, coal, and solar energy sources but Republicans, many of whom are financially backed by big oil and gas firms, have sought to blame wind turbines and solar providers even though they are responsible for a small fraction of the state’s power production.

This month, Texas lawmakers advanced a bill that would “shift the financial burden of ancillary services, which help ensure power is generated continuously to Texas’ main electricity grid, to renewable energy providers” from electric providers, according to the Tribune.

Democrats criticize:

Democratic state Sen Nathan Johnson said there was no “logic to doing this.”

“I’m convinced that we’re making a big mistake by attacking a problem that isn’t the problem just because we feel like it might be the problem, when the data says the opposite,” he said last month.

Natural gas is the largest source of electricity in Texas. More than 25,000 megawatts of natural gas generation, enough to power 5 million homes, failed during the February storm, according to the Tribune, but lawmakers have spent little time in hearings discussing natural gas production.

Oil, gas get boost:

A separate bill that would reform the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which runs the main power grid, would also boost oil and gas firms over renewables.

Senate Bill 2 says that board members who represent power companies on ERCOT’s board of directors must control at least 5% of “installed capacity in the ERCOT market.”

But because renewables make up so little of the grid, only big oil and gas firms would qualify for the board.

“No renewable energy companies meet the Senate bill’s threshold,” the Tribune reported.


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