If you’ve been living nearly anywhere in the world for the last few, oh, decades, you will have heard much about global warming and what the political left has taken to calling “climate change.” Their main argument is that we as humans are destroying the planet with the energy sources we currently use.
And, to be honest, there is some truth to that. It is a well-known fact that fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, while reliable, leave dangerous particles in the air and atmosphere that can harm our planet and the life sustained on it.
As a result, there is a massive push to move toward cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. You know, like wind and solar power.
However, these methods are just as flawed, if for entirely different reasons.
And winter proves to explain these flaws the best.
You see, both wind and solar powers rely on a near-constant supply of, well, wind and sunshine.
But what happens when the sun isn’t shining so bright? Or when snows and freezing rains cover and block solar panels from the rays? What happens when those same snows and rains fall on wind turbines in freezing temperatures, effectively locking or seizing up those massive blades?
As Texas and much of the US is experiencing right now, those energy sources become just unreliable and just as unsustainable as those they are supposed to replace.
According to the Austin American-Stateman, winter precipitation and the colder than average freezing temperatures, what is being called another polar vortex, has cost the state about 12,000 megawatts of power in the last few days as wind turbines have seized up. This has caused the state, as it relies heavily on wind power and is already at a shortage, to have an overtaxed power grid.
And The Dallas Morning News confirms this, noting that in recent days, the cold temperatures and heavy snows have caused over 2 million Texans to go without power or heat. And rolling blackouts have become the norm during the coldest winter many have seen in years.
One of the best summations of the southern state’s issues is by author and founder of the Center for Industrial Progress, Alex Epstein.
As I write this the wind-dependent Texas grid is experiencing rolling blackouts, prices the equivalent of $900 per Tesla charge, and an expected supply shortage of 10 GW–the amount of electricity needed to power 5 million homes or 8 time-traveling DeLoreans.#Unreliables pic.twitter.com/kx3jJfqafu
— Alex Epstein (@AlexEpstein) February 15, 2021
He wrote on his Twitter account on Monday, “As I write this, the wind-dependent Texas grid is experiencing rolling blackouts, prices the equivalent of $900 per Tesla charge, and an expected supply shortage of 10 GW – the amount of electricity needed to power 5 million homes or 8 time-traveling DeLoreans.”
Now, you might say, ‘well, Texas doesn’t usually get these kinds of winters, so it shouldn’t be something to worry about all the time.” and that’s true.
But the story really isn’t all that different in more northern states like Minnesota and North Dakota, where wind turbines have increased in numbers dramatically over the last few years.
Here, the snows and cold temperatures are expected, and so the turbines are often kept under heat to prevent freezing of fluids or parts. However, that heat must be generated by some kind of power source, which means it is taking electricity to power the wind turbines.
In fact, according to the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative think tank, in 2019, during a similar polar vortex or winter weather cycle, heating these turbines used a massive 2 megawatts of energy from the already stressed power grid.
Essentially, they are using energy to create energy…
Doesn’t make much sense, does it?
And what about solar panels? With non-moving parts, it’s easier to keep these energy sources in working condition through the cold months of winter. But only as long as snow and ice don’t block out the sun’s rays.
Let me tell you, in northern and midwestern states like my home in Indiana, getting up every day and likely throughout the night to brush the near-constant snow we’ve received this year off of solar panels, particularly when they are placed on a slick and icy roof, would be quite the chore.
All of this is not to say that solar and wind power are bad ideas. In and of themselves, they are terrifically genius ones. But only so long as the technology behind them can back them up. And let’s face it, right now, at this exact moment in time, they can’t.
Maybe down the road, we will find a way to keep wind turbines and solar panels consistently running through all kinds of weather, but that day is not today. And in the meantime, families need heat to stay warm and electricity or gas to warm their meals.
Merely saying no to gas and coal, as President Biden’s staff is want to do, cannot happen, at least not in the here and now – not with the unreliability of current “green” energy sources.