Millions of Texans endured freezing temperatures with no heat, electricity, sanitary water, or food after a devastating cold front wreaked havoc on the state's insufficiently winterized power sources, booting nuclear, electric, gas, and wind power plants offline.
The state's predicament is unique, as the majority of Texas is not on the national power grid, but an independent grid with less integration of out-of-state power sources, along with different standards of regulation and oversight.
But because a small number of the power sources to shut down were wind turbines, many Republicans are falsely claiming that the calamity in Texas is due to a disproportionate reliance on wind power.
Wind turbines are a growing form of renewable energy championed by advocates for U.S. climate policy, helping offset the imminent disasters posed by the climate crisis. As a result, the green technology has been slammed by Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, whose quixotic obsession with "windmills" went viral during his presidency.
The Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, went on Fox News, where he blamed the humanitarian crisis on the Green New Deal—a climate policy overhaul championed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) which hasn't been passed or enforced in Texas or nationally.
Texas Gov. Abbott blames solar and wind for the blackouts in his state and says "this shows how the Green New Deal… https://t.co/MnUmp8MxhB— Andrew Lawrence (@Andrew Lawrence)1613529263.0
"This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America. Texas is blessed with multiple sources of energy such as natural gas and oil and nuclear, as well as solar and wind. But you saw...our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10 percent of our power grid."
The Governor went on to say the debacle was proof that fossil fuels are necessary, but the energy sources Abbott was defending saw nearly double the outages of the state's renewable energy outages.
According to the Texas Tribune:
"An official with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said Tuesday afternoon that 16 gigawatts of renewable energy generation, mostly wind generation, were offline. Nearly double that, 30 gigawatts, had been lost from thermal sources, which includes gas, coal and nuclear energy."
In fact, wind turbines surpassed expectations throughout the storm.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, an architect of the Green New Deal that Abbot slammed, responded to his comments on Twitter.
I go offline a few days and return to a GOP Gov blaming policies he hasn’t even implemented for his own failures.… https://t.co/xkVrgsv8iN— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1613537810.0
So many Texans are in desperate conditions without heat, water, and little relief. Gov. Abbott needs to get off TV… https://t.co/8sM1MpmK8O— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1613577276.0
Just a couple of days later, Ocasio-Cortez announced an initiative from Team AOC to raise funds for Texas relief efforts.
Team AOC is launching relief efforts for Texas starting today. Our first effort is a partnership w/ 5 Texas orgs g… https://t.co/myoAVQD0mT— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1613688150.0
By the next day, they'd raised over $2 million.
We’ve now raised $2 MILLION in relief for Texans & are adding more orgs.🙏🏽 I’ll be flying to Texas today ✈️ to vis… https://t.co/WYSnDnsCMU— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1613753965.0
Meanwhile, others praised her rebuke of Abbott.
this is why i love aoc https://t.co/g6H8YiAqRv— Kamille🦋 (@Kamille🦋)1613578465.0
This 👏👏👏 https://t.co/zwUU9Js34A— Nicole Merritt (@Nicole Merritt)1613589019.0
Literally how is it that @AOC is ready to help Texans before @GovAbbott. Thank you @AOC for spreading awareness. https://t.co/rosQtTK2Ei— Alexi (@Alexi)1613578945.0
AOC literally cares more about me in this crisis than my governor, my representative or either of my senators. That… https://t.co/WEsBRrtyIG— Rev. Jacob Brenton (@Rev. Jacob Brenton)1613579132.0
Abbott's comments on Fox News were met with widespread backlash, including from onetime Senate candidate from Texas, Beto O'Rourke, who organized hundreds of thousands of wellness check-ins on the ground during the crisis.
You’re the governor of a state where millions don’t have power, where people are literally dying of exposure, and y… https://t.co/OPT8ja3OBl— Beto O'Rourke (@Beto O'Rourke)1613571586.0
Texas Governor causes Texas energy infrastructure rot under his watch, bringing untold suffering to millions of Tex… https://t.co/rlqSWEx6VV— Joe Scarborough (@Joe Scarborough)1613557904.0
Republicans don’t know how to govern. They only know how to blame Democrats for their own failures. https://t.co/x8H3WWfWAo— Ben Rhodes (@Ben Rhodes)1613539391.0
Dude own up to your ineptness ... the Green New Deal isn’t law but YOU’ve been Gov since 2015. Furthermore, 80%+ o… https://t.co/3apLoja0yC— Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair (@Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair)1613572641.0
Even @ERCOT_ISO has confirmed that most of the generating loss has come from (largely deregulated) gas and nuclear… https://t.co/NVAEyPmVOz— Steve Vladeck (@Steve Vladeck)1613537296.0
Millions of Texans are sleeping in their winter coats, burning furniture, and exposing themselves to carbon monoxid… https://t.co/bCOHJv4dPb— Julián Castro (@Julián Castro)1613579527.0
Nearly 40 deaths so far have been attributed to the crisis in Texas.