Lt. Governor of Texas on ERCOT ‘investigation’: I’m personally putting this on my shoulders

Texas Politics

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Lieutenant Governor of Texas Dan Patrick said in Abilene on Monday that he will personally put it on his shoulders to find out what exactly happened regarding the power outages across the state and subsequently fix the issue.

President of the Senate Dan Patrick arrived at the Abilene Airport Monday afternoon where he held a press conference concerning the electric grid failures in the state of Texas.

“If we gave winter storms categories, numbers just like we do to hurricanes, this would have been a category 5 freeze.”

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick

He announced that they will be holding hearings this week to find out what exactly needs to be done to prevent it from happening again.

“We’re having hearings this week starting on Thursday and Friday that I would really call an investigation,” said Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

What happened?

Lt. Governor Patrick said they already have information about what the issue was, including the following:

The highest public demand for the state of Texas was 74,000 megawatts, this was in August 2020.

“ERCOT was preparing for 57,000 megawatts being ready for the winter; when the storm started that night by 9:00 p.m., the demand for power was at an all-time record by consumers across the state: 69,000 megawatts,” said the Lieutenant Governor. “ERCOT had at that time a little over 70,000 megawatts so it held until it got colder… slowly but surely they began to lose power.”

Within hours they went from around 73,000 megawatts down to the ‘high 40s’ (around 48,000 megawatts).

According to Lt. Governor Patrick, the system had to lower its functionality to prevent losing power in the entire state of Texas for weeks or even months.

“If you don’t bring down the system and start turning off power then you have a real potential to creating fires, maybe explosions at some point in some smaller areas, and having the entire grid go down for 90% of the state, and that would’ve meant we would be without power in the entire state of Texas for weeks or months… you don’t ever want to get to that situation,” Patrick said.

Why did it fail?

The Lt. Governor said ERCOT estimated that between 12,000 to 16,000 megawatts of their power come from wind. However, their estimate was mistaken because the “turbines froze, so they got very little wind power.”

Additionally, he explained the power was cut for the companies in West Texas (primarily) that send gas to the power generators. Patrick called that a big mistake and something to correct in the future.

“When ERCOT tells your local companies that deliver the power to your home that they have to step back, we keep hospitals as a last resort, critical infrastructures like police and fire, we don’t turn off the power in those areas. Well, you shouldn’t be turning off the powers to the companies in West Texas that are producing the gas to go to the pipelines to go to the generators that then produce the power.”

He then said there were several other issues regarding the gas companies that weren’t possible to be fixed quickly due to the bad weather. If we gave winter storms categories, numbers just like we do to hurricanes, this would have been a category 5 freeze.”

What comes next?

The Lt. Governor and President of the Senate said he will not let a bill come to the floor if it doesn’t fully address the issues.

“I alone decide which bills come to the floor, I will not let a bill come to the floor this session that does not address these issues fully. There won’t be any more recommendations or suggestions, there will be you shall do this,” said Lt. Governor Patrick.

Furthermore, Lt. Governor said there will be a lot of things they will have to do to revamp the current system. Among those, re-evaluating the usage of an entity like ERCOT and the possibility of changing its board structure. “I think that’s definitely coming,” he said.

“I’m personally putting this on my shoulders as president of the senate to get this done,” said Lt. Governor Patrick. “If we have to get subpoena power to bring witnesses to the table, that’s what we will do.”

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick on renewable energy

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick also addressed the people who say the power would have been avoidable if the state had more renewable sources of power.

“No, it would’ve been even worse.” said Lt. Governor Patrick.

“If we’re a 23% on average of wind power, and that’s average for the whole year… If you triple the renewables, wind and solar, in Texas, we wouldn’t have been able to generate about 20,000/25,000 megawatts of power from them when we needed 50 or 60 thousand.”

This is a good lesson for America and a good lesson for Texas.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick

“Renewables can be part of your portfolio, but you need a diverse portfolio, you need nuclear, gas power, clean coal, they’re reliable, I can’t turn on the wind, and I can’t make the sun shine after the sun goes down!”

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