Nearly 500,000 homes and businesses in Texas are still without power, down from about 3 million earlier this week. According to the state's grid manager, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the remaining outages are mostly weather-related not forced outages that were intentionally made to stabilize the power grid.
The former governor of Texas, Rick Perry, said that Texans would choose to go longer without power during freezing temperatures if that meant keeping federal regulators out of their state.
"Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business," Perry said in a blog post on the website of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. "Try not to let whatever the crisis of the day is take your eye off of having a resilient grid that keeps America safe personally, economically and strategically."
Perry and other Republicans, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, have criticized the operations of the state's power grid and pushed back on suggestions by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., that the Green New Deal could have prevented outages. Abbott on Tuesday called for an investigation into ERCOT in order to determine what caused the problem and find long-term solutions.
Perry, a Republican who also served as the U.S. secretary of energy from 2017 to 2019, argued that the federal government and its national labs could help states to model potential catastrophes and decide where to invest in weatherization, transmission and energy storage technology to make their grid more resilient in the future, stressing that the answer is more "technology – not regulation."
"This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America," Abbott told Fox News anchor Sean Hannity on Tuesday. "Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10% of our power grid, and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis ... It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary."
"I was asked a question on one TV show about renewable, and I responded to that question," Abbott said. "Every source of power that the state of Texas has has been compromised, whether it be renewable power such as wind or solar, but also, as I mentioned today, access to coal-generated power, access to gas-generated power, also have been compromised."
ERCOT does not cross state lines and is therefore not subjected to oversight by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Federal regulators opened an investigation into the company that manages the state's grid system.
FERC, along with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, will be investigating every area that has experienced severe impacts caused by the winter weather including ERCOT, the Southwest Power Pool, and Midcontinent Independent System Operator.
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