Former Texas governor Rick Perry (R) suggested that Texans are willing to go days without power if it means keeping federal regulators away from their power grid, the Houston Chronicle reports.
In a blog posted on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s website, Perry is quoted responding to the claim that “those watching on the left may see the situation in Texas as an opportunity to expand their top-down, radical proposals.”
“Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” Perry is quoted as saying. “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.”
Texas’s power grid, run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, occupies a unique distinction in the United States in that it does not cross state lines and thus is not under the oversight of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The Chronicle reported that Texas leaders moved in the 2000s “to deregulate the state’s power market and allow power companies, not state regulators, determine when and how to build and maintain power plants.”
This system has come under increased scrutiny in recent days as millions of Texans have been left without power during a period of unusually cold temperatures. “Following a near identical episode a decade ago, federal regulators warned Texas it needed to take steps to better insulate its power plants,” the newspaper reported.
There is little evidence that this occurred, according to the report, but Perry, who also served as energy secretary under former President Donald Trump, has joined other conservative voices laying blame for the blackouts on wind and solar energy in the state.
“If wind and solar is where we’re headed, the last 48 hours ought to give everybody a real pause and go wait a minute,” Perry said. “We need to have a baseload. And the only way you can get a baseload in this country is [with] natural gas, coal, and nuclear.”
The Chronicle noted that this argument “does not line up with early reports indicating the majority of the lost generation was natural gas plants not wind turbines, which actually performed better than grid regulators had anticipated, said Michael Webber an energy professor at the University of Texas.”
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