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Crazy AOC Wrongly Blames Texas Power Outage on Lack of Green New Deal

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The left is gloating over millions of people in Texas losing power during the big snowstorm, blaming it on the red state’s lack of taking drastic efforts to address climate change. AOC tweeted, “The infrastructure failures in Texas are quite literally what happens when you *don’t* pursue a Green New Deal.” But wait a second, just a few years ago, Democrats called climate change global warming. Now that there’s been a terrible cold spell in Texas, they’ve revised their language just in time to call it climate change and not look silly. 

 

The reality is a big reason for the power outage is the opposite — renewable energy sources failed. According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, a cooperative responsible for 90% of the state’s electricity, almost 13% of the outages were due to renewable sources. As many as half of the state’s wind turbines were forced to shut down. Wind turbines generate less energy in the winter, so they are not a great energy option for times like this. They need to be de-iced, and they lose 60% of their energy in the cold. Just 10 years ago, wind power accounted for under 10% of electricity production in Texas. Now its share is close to 25%.

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Even nuclear energy, which both conservatives and liberals often agree upon as a solution, ran into problems. At one of the four nuclear plants, a safety sensor froze, which shut the plant down. 

 

There was enough natural gas, but not all of it was available since pipelines froze; Texas does not insulate the pipelines. According to Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, “Bottom line: Thank God for baseload energy made up of fossil fuels. … Had our grid been more reliant on the wind turbines that froze, the outages would have been much worse.” 

 

Ed Hirs, an energy economist at the University of Houston, said it’s likely some power generators were “dragging their feet” about ramping up electricity because they wanted to price gouge. There are also some practical problems that will need to be addressed in the future. Texas’s grid is not as interconnected with other states so the state cannot easily import and export electricity. Maybe this is because the state does not want to get stuck bailing out California. In addition, Texas utilities are not required to keep their plants available on standby in case they’re needed on short notice. Politicians decided to cozy up to the utilities instead. Finally, states used to lots of freezing storms are more likely to be prepared for them. Texas is not one of them; while it has some snow, this was an aberration. In New Jersey, pipelines are buried deeper to avoid freezing. 

 

This isn’t a problem of capitalism because the government regulates public utilities. The public utilities that are gouging people right now are doing it because they can; unlike in the free market, a competitor cannot easily step in within hours to replace the handful of giants in Texas’s public utility industry. 

 

Contrast this to California. That state has constant rolling blackouts — many not caused by natural disasters and storms — because California law mandates renewable energy must make up a huge portion of the California electric supply. That’s not as reliable as gas and coal. And it’s just going to get worse. Governor Gavin Newsom issued a directive saying the state will ban sales of new gas and diesel-powered cars by 2035. All the new charging stations will put more pressure on the grid. 

 

The Democrats’ solution would turn Texas into California. The Democrats say we need drastic changes toward renewables in order to combat climate change. But those changes are what have resulted in California’s rolling blackouts. 

 

Eventually we should get some firm answers. Texas will be holding hearings to find out what went wrong at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The high of three million who were without power on Wednesday is now down to 190,000. 

While it sounds great to turn to “clean” energy sources, there is plenty of evidence that they are not as clean as the left makes them out to be. And the cost is overwhelming. The Biden administration has proposed a nearly $2 trillion plan that would make the grid carbon-free by 2035, almost as extreme as AOC’s Green New Deal. Unless we all want to end up like California with regular rolling blackouts, that’s not a wise path to take.  

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Rachel Alexander is a conservative political writer and pundit. She is the editor of Intellectual Conservative and a recovering attorney. She was ranked by Right Wing News as one of the 50 Best Conservative Columnists from 2011-2019.



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Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind: California and its Epic Wildfires

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California
Photo credit: Patrick Luscri

Like the 2018 Camp Fire, California’s Dixie Fire is epic. It has burned more than 220,000 acres and at least 40 structures. It’s the largest conflagration since the Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise. Sadly, California wildfires are becoming as common as Florida hurricanes. Why is this happening and who’s to blame? In a word, California.

By mismanaging its forests and water sources and enabling a power provider to place profits over people, the Golden State has sown the wind and is reaping the whirlwind.

Why is every California fire season scarier and more destructive than the last? The reasons can be boiled down to these:

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  1. Decades of forest mismanagement caused by environmentalists shaping policy
  2. Co-opted Northern California watersheds and water supply diversion
  3. Hotter temperatures and historic drought conditions caused by climate change
  4. Failing PG&E infrastructure
Forest mismanagement

We live five miles from the southeastern edge of the Dixie Fire. Our little mountain town of Quincy is under an evacuation warning. Many of our fellow residents live in areas of mandatory evacuation and some have lost their homes. Local firefighters and forest experts have known for years this was inevitable.

It’s common sense, really. When forest undergrowth and dead limbs and logs are allowed to pile up between trees, you may as well stack logs at their bases and light a match. Wise forest managers remove forest floor fuels and keep forests from growing dangerously dense.

Foolish forest managers allow undergrowth to flourish in order to “protect” ecological environments of certain species at the expense of overall forest ecology. This hands-off approach is pushed in Sacramento by those who think we’re only one species sharing our environment rather than caretakers of our environment.

Wise gardeners prevent weeds from diverting moisture from produce plants by removing them. This ensures a healthy garden. Why wouldn’t smart forest management include removal of undergrowth and dead or dying trees?

Water diversion

A few years ago, state biologists “gill-netted” vast quantities of fish in our local Silver Lake in order to prevent them from feeding on a certain frog. This decimated the fish population in favor of the frog population. How is this an ecological balance?

Similarly, allowing natural water sources to feed rivers and streams provides better hydration for trees—and raises critical moisture levels for forests. Diverting water from Northern California sources when levels are low exacerbates the deadly dryness of moisture-starved Sierra forests. Shouldn’t there be a better balance based on water levels?

As climate change continues to affect moisture and heat, smart and balanced water management becomes more critical. Yet California continues to base policy decisions reactively rather than proactively. If Northern California watershed areas burn for lack of moisture, poor water management will be partially to blame.

So will California’s reliance on hydroelectric power over traditional (and more effective) fossil-fuel plants. The state gets nearly 2/3 of its power from non-fossil fuel production, which is why it has to buy electricity from states like Oregon, Arizona and others.

Failing PG&E

Failed PG&E power lines are responsible for devastating California wildfires for the last five fire seasons. According to PG&E’s initial report the day the Dixie Fire started, an employee responding to an outage noticed a blown fuse at Cresta Dam in a heavily forested area of Butte County around the Feather River Canyon. He found two blown fuses and a tree leaning on a power conductor. He also found a fire on the ground near the base of the tree.

When the 2018 Camp Fire erupted, a PG&E employee noticed flames caused by a faulty transmission line in Feather River Canyon. Many of these lines are supported by electrical towers from the early 1900s. PG&E customers pay modern rates for modern electricity delivered via century-old towers.

In fairness, PG&E is finally taking steps to modernize its infrastructure with underground line burial and other measures. Sadly, these measures are long overdue and are too little too late for victims of the Camp Fire and now for those dealing with the Dixie Fire. Worse, PG&E seems to be continuing their foot-dragging regarding reporting system failures when they point to a wildfire start.

Closed market

According to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), PG&E ignored regulations that require it to report wildfire-related infrastructure failures within two hours of the event. PG&E took five days to report the Dixie Fire-related failure to CPUC. As a state agency, CPUC answers to Governor Gavin Newsom and Sacramento politicians. PG&E is supposed to answer to CPUC, yet is still failing to follow the rules.

Not only is there a lack of meaningful accountability, the relationship between California and PG&E is dysfunctional. The average citizen wonders why Sacramento continues enabling a repeat offender of a power company. Another question is why California refuses to open up its utility market to competitors in order to force PG&E to modernize its infrastructure.

Something has to change or California will continue to burn every fire season. Close to home, people in our community love living in Northern California, but the Golden State will lose even more citizens if residents have to flee the flames every summer.

 

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The Most Important Scholar You’ve Never Heard Of

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Thomas Sowell is many things. He’s a historian, an economist, philosopher, and more. He also may very possibly be the most important scholar that you haven’t heard of. Thomas started life on his own at age 17 when he moved out into a homeless shelter and later was drafted into the Marine Corps. Later, he graduated from Harvard and went on to study government regulations coming to some remarkable explanations and solutions. PragerU tells Thomas’s inspiring story in this video linked below.

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