Governor Abbott Tells Texans To Ignore Their Lyin’ Eyes About The Grid

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THE POLICY GOAL OF ENERGY
High voltage towers on vast paddy field

Confession: I voted for Greg Abbott to be Texas’s governor, not once but twice. But on Wednesday, the Governor made a statement so at odds with all available public information and frankly out of touch with reality that I and many other Texans will have to think long and hard about ever casting such a vote in his favor again.

At an afternoon press conference, Gov. Abbott is quoted as describing the state of the Texas power grid as being “better today than it’s ever been.” No kidding, he really said that, even as Texans who receive their electricity from the state grid were living through their third straight June day of being asked to conserve energy by officials at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

Those loud gasps you may have heard emanating from Texas likely came from the 10 million Texans who spent days without power and the families of the 200 Texans who died during February’s Big Freeze event as they read reports of the Governor’s odd statement. Given that literally nothing has been accomplished as of today to improve the Texas grid’s reliability, the Governor’s remark amounts to telling Texans to just ignore their lyin’ eyes.

Interestingly, the Governor’s comment about the grid came a day after ERCOT had issued a press release stating that “The grid is operating exactly as it was designed and intended” and which quotes new CEO Brad Jones as stating that “Conservation notices are commonly-used tools used by utilities and system operators across the country to ensure the reliability of the electric grid. If possible, Texans should apply that same effort during peak hours from 3 to 7 p.m. this week until conditions return to normal.”

So, the messages Texans have now received from their state officials – pretty much all of whom happen to be Republicans – amount to the following, as paraphrased by me:

“Turn up your thermostats because the grid is short of capacity”

“The grid is operating exactly as it was designed”

“We’re gonna keep sending you these conservation notices when we are short on capacity” and

“this state electricity grid is really, truly just the best it has ever been”

Talk about mixed messages. Having already stated that “everything that needed to be done” during the legislature’s regular session “was done,” it is now obvious that Gov. Abbott and other Texas Republicans have decided that holding a special session to really try to fix the grid’s issues would be detrimental to their chances for re-election next year. Thus, Gov. Abbott has decided to renege on the promise he made in his statewide address of Feb. 24 to hold such a special session after the legislature inevitably passed what can generously be called half-measures contained in several bills.

The Texas GOP will obviously hope the weather in the state calms down from its current heat wave, that ERCOT officials can find ways to cobble together enough generating capacity to meet the inevitable high demand days of July and August, and that the state won’t suffer another major winter storm like it saw this past February. If all that hoping comes together, then maybe their party will be able to retain control of every statewide office as it has since 1994.

What an awful way to run a state. And a power grid.

1 COMMENT

  1. Maybe it’s time to incentivize more baseload capacity like we incentivize renewable capacity.

    Or, given the recent cryptocurrency laws passed here in Texas, have state taxpayers invest in baseload capacity that mines Bitcoin, to return to the taxpayers, when the supply is not needed.

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