Don't blame Wind Power for Texas' Big Power Frackup
Wind Turbines don't freeze up here; nat gas failures caused most of it
By Ian Darwin
The power grid shutdowns in Texas are easy to blame on Wind Power.
After all, they put up some wind turbines, and, the power grid ran out
of power. A simple example of the child's fallacy known as post hoc, ergo propter hoc or, in English, correlation does not prove causation.
some wind turbines did indeed freeze up. I don't know the technical
details, but note that wind turbines in Ontario run fine in winter. Did
they just use too thick a grease coating on the bearings? Lubricants
behave like most fluids: their viscosity or thickness varies in
proportion to the absolute temperature. Almost any fluid will freeze at a
low enough temperature. Texas turbines do have the problem of needing a
lubricant so thick won't get so thin it drips off the bearings in
summer heat but also so thin it won't congeal at the new range of
man-made climate-change low temperatures caused by disruptions in air
circulation patterns. But, this must be a solved problem, as the same
lubricants are used in wheel bearings on cars, and I didn't hear about
any of them freezing up.
At any rate, wind so
far provides only a small percentage (15%?) of Texas' electrical power.
Much more of it still comes from fossil fuels, and it's that which froze
up to make the bigger dent in the supply. Natural gas (which is
basically methane) is a fluid, so it behaves as I described above. If it
gets too cold, it slows down and eventually freezes. Since Texas "never
expected" such cold, they didn't insulate their nat gas pipelines, so
these froze up, making a bigger dent in the electrical supply.
You may think I'm dreaming, or just an anti-fossil-fuel fanboi, but here are some reports that have more detail: