Two weeks ago, many Texas homes and businesses were left without power and water because of the raging snowstorm that passed through the state.
At first, a couple of government officials blamed the wind turbines for the power outages, but that quickly became a false accusation. The main cause of the outages were the frozen natural gas lines and supply chains that were not able to withstand the extreme temperatures.
The frozen natural gas lines had a huge impact on the power outages because Texas mostly relies on natural gas for power. Texas had to undergo rolling blackouts for the grid to still be online; if not, then Texas would have been without power for months.
However, the main culprit of this disaster is the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, also known as ERCOT. ERCOT operates the power grid for most of Texas since it is the only state with an independent grid. This is different from other states because they buy power from surrounding states to handle the high demands of power used daily.
ERCOT failed to prevent the power outages because they did not winterproof their system and believed it would withstand the frigid weather. This resulted in the worst power outage Texas faced in a decade.
They were wrong in the end. Lives were lost by hypothermia because of the power outages after many people were scrambling to get warm over the low temperatures. Carbon monoxide poisoning was also another factor since people were using indoor heating sources, such as car generators with little air ventilation.
On top of that, many homes were flooded after busted pipes because water lines could not withstand the temperatures. Texans were without drinking water and residents that did were advised to boil the water before consuming it. The water problems were also related to the lack of power, so the water pressure was low.
This shows how unprepared ERCOT was for the winter storm that affected many homes. They were reckless by not predicting the impact this storm would have on the electricity grids.
Texas should change its power system to prevent something like this from happening again. The state should not rely too heavily on natural resources and focus on winter-proofing the wind turbines. Buying additional power lines from other states like Oklahoma and Louisiana could also lessen the chances of power outages and water damage affecting most of the state.