It’s the Governor’s fault. It’s the Legislature’s fault. It’s ERCOT’s fault. It’s the PUC’s fault. It’s the fault of wind turbines and renewable energy. It’s the fault of fossil fuels. It’s Flyin’ Ted’s fault. It’s Rick Perry’s fault. Whew!
The amount of finger pointing, circular firing squads, and blame gaming is symptomatic of a political theater occupied by multiple career politicians, who are protecting their flank and thinking about their next election. None of this is productive, and takes attention away from what was a once in a hundred years event – the deadly winter storm of 2021.
Let’s honor and support all the families who lost loved ones, or are in financial distress due to lost power, burst pipes, and the prohibitive cost of power (when it came on) during the crisis. This was a Texas-sized tragedy, no doubt, and the political theater surrounding it is not worthy of our state. We need to focus on those suffering due to this tragedy, and help whoever, wherever, and however possible. And perhaps almost as important, get to a solution where this can and will never happen again. Believe it or not, a solution will not be that difficult. Here’s what it is.
Winterize base load natural gas distribution systems. Winterize wind turbines. Winterize natural gas power plants. Problem solved. It’s that simple. Expensive, yes. Complex, somewhat. But mandatory after what happened two weeks ago. Do you do it through the Rainy Day Fund (if this wasn’t a Rainy Day Fund disaster, what is?) or through the private sector, or both? Either way, insist on efficient expenditure of funds, private and public both, but fix it.
Government has several basic building block tasks to perform, to protect the public and insure the common welfare. Power generation and water supply are two of the most important. I doubt most Texans care a lot where they get their power and water from – they just want it to be affordable, work, be safe, clean, and consistently reliable.
Texans deserve better from their politicians and infrastructure bureaucrats. We should assure all Texans that our power infrastructure, both fossil fuel and renewable energy, will be winterized and reliable prior to next winter. Should we build more power plants and increase our power capacity? Of course. Some demographers predict Texas will have as many as 50-60 million people within the next 50 years. We need more power in the future. But right now, despite the immediate past debacle, we do not. We just need it to work in extreme conditions. Winterizing distribution systems, wind turbines, and power plants will do just that.
Let’s stop all the immature finger pointing and get to work for the good of all Texans. That’s what we do best. Should we keep Texas government as small as possible? Sure. But let’s be sure core governmental functions not only work, but work with the excellence Texas deserves.