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25 Investigates: 'The Texas Energy Crisis'

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Posted at 6:47 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 23:03:48-05

MART, TX — Power problems continue to plague Texas, creating a sort of "lone star energy crisis."

While some point fingers at problems with renewable energy like wind and solar, the facts are they're doing better than expected.

That doesn't mean they don't have weaknesses just like the traditional plants that have gone off-line across the state.

When the power went out in the town of Mart, Charlie and Katie Walter got caught in the "Texas energy crisis."

They relied on the kindness of a neighbor for help.

"We had to abandon our house...his house runs off of gas which now seems like genius we had it taken out of our house regretting that we might change the way we do things in the future for sure," said Charlie.

And on a day so quiet you could actually hear the ice melting, the Walter's took a walk among the windmills outside of town...and got a little shock.

Not one windmill seemed to work.

”What did we think when we saw this? Yeah, we were confused why they weren't turning at first,” said Katie.

While the people that run the Texas electric grid struggle to make their so-called "rolling" blackouts "roll" properly, the Governor has singled out power generators for our Texas energy crisis.

”They were working up until about midnight last night but after midnight, some of them literally froze up and were incapable of providing power and some are still incapable of providing power,” explained Gov. Greg Abbott.

His comments go to show every source of power has some sort of problem area.

What stopped the windmills from turning?

Well, the only thing that wind. Technicians say as soon as the wind speeds pick up, so will the windmills.

Experts say solar and wind power have actually played an important role in keeping our problem from getting any worse.

”We've seen throughout this crisis that when and solar both been performing above those expectations throughout most of the time period, and are even beating the grid operator short term forecasts for wind and solar over the past couple of days.” explained John Hensley, Vice President of Research and Analytics for American Clean Power, an industry support organization.

Meantime, the issue has provided some "heat" to the state capitol.

House speaker Dade Phelan wants state affairs and energy resources committees to look into the problem.

The Governor says he plans to make sure the private companies that generate our power don't fail us again.

”We need to calibrate for this type of weather to make sure that the companies that are contracted with to provide the power generation in the state of Texas are going to be capable of providing power generation in these ultra cold temperatures,” said Abbott.

Some of those companies might need to diversify to make sure they can deliver.

Charlie and Katie Walter call that a big help.

”The way our house is set up is kind of a good example of it. Maybe not depending on just one thing. So I think integrated, you know, having wind, having, if we didn't have natural gas if our neighbor didn't have natural gas service, there'd be people dead,” said Charlie.

That's exactly why government leaders and others want to either fix, or make up for, the weaknesses of all types of energy production, so that we never have another "Texas energy crisis" again.