Experts warn Texas power grid remains fragile as Abbott wins

Republican Governor of Texas Greg Abbott praising the state’s power grid for the most part remaining strong during this week’s winter storms, but experts warn the system could still be vulnerable to freezing temperatures.

Abbott commended the grid on Saturday for keeping millions of homes powered during winter storm Landon, sending temperatures drops as low as 18 degrees F.

“The Texas grid is up and running this time with enough additional capacity to power 3 million homes. At the peak of power supply, more energy is available to power demand across the country. grid versus peak demand during last winter’s Hurricane Uri,” Abbott tweeted.

Abbott’s statement is related to a severe winter storm that devastated the state last year and more than 200 people died when power failed and thousands of residents were left without heat for weeks. This week’s storm still causing power outages for tens of thousands of peoplebut the damage was not catastrophic.

In this year’s re-election bid, Abbott has repeatedly promised that power will stay in power this winter, citing this week’s relative success as proof. The governor praised recent measures taken to protect the grid, including a 15% increase in generator supplies compared to last year and greater availability of alternative fuels at facilities. generator.

However, experts said that this year’s storm was not as severe as last year and noted that the power grid could remain fragile if temperatures drop lower. Last year’s storm saw temperatures drop below zero and stay frozen for more than a week in a row, while this year had fewer days below 32 degrees, Bloomberg noted.

Michael Webber, a professor of energy at the University of Texas, told Bloomberg: “The grid works well for a couple of reasons: the weather isn’t as bad as we thought, and the wind works better. “The state is still vulnerable because we have not set requirements for gasification of the gas system. Therefore, the reliability of gas production is still fragile.”

Adrian Shelley, director of the nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, told local broadcaster CBS-DFW that this week’s success should not be a reason to “get complacent”.

“We shouldn’t allow politicians to fool us into thinking they got us through this,” Shelley said. “The reality is, we’ve done a bit to improve the grid, but if we get past this, it’ll be down to luck like anything else.”

Texas Power Grid Winter Storm
Experts have warned that the state’s power grid could remain vulnerable to winter weather as the governor declares victory. In this photo, light traffic moves through the snow and ice on US Route 183 in Irving, Texas this week.
John Moore / Getty Images

Democratic Party Candidate Beto O’Rourke also announced Friday that the most recent storm was not a real test of the state’s power grid.

“By all means, it’s much lighter than what we saw last February. And we’re all grateful for that and we’re all praying that it happens because it’s not me. or anyone else outside of the electrical infrastructure says this,” O “Rourke said, according to Houston Public Media.

“The fact that the lights didn’t come on for 10 million customers across the state of Texas [last year]. And that will be our future unless we change course now. We’re grateful that yesterday was relatively mild compared to February last year and we didn’t have the power outages that scared a lot of people,” he added.

In response, a spokesperson for Abbott railed against O’Rourke and claimed that the Democrats were “disgracefully using this storm to advance their lackluster campaign.”

“The truth of the matter is that Texas has faced a hurricane [and] “He’s running a campaign based on banishing fear, and Texans deserve better,” said Mark Miner, the governor’s campaign communications director.

Newsweek Contacted Abbott for further comment, but did not receive a response at the time of publication. Experts warn Texas power grid remains fragile as Abbott wins

Chris Estrada

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