Ex-Gov Rick 'Goodhair' Perry: Texans Will Happily Freeze To Keep The Feds Out Of Their Power Grid
"Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business," Rick Perry wrote on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's blog yesterday. Because we were all waiting with bated breath to find out what Rick Perry had to say about the ongoing disaster in his home state, right?
"When will that dipshit who wanted to abolish the Department of Energy until Trump made him Energy Secretary weigh in," we said in the Slack.
Just kidding! We haven't given that guy a thought in ages, except to idly speculate that he might wind up having to testify one of these days if Democrats ever try to unwind what really happened in Ukraine. And yet here he is again, to assure us that a few deaths by freezing or carbon monoxide inhalation as his neighbors huddle in idling cars to keep warm are but a small price to pay to keep THE MAN out of the Lone Star State.
Freedom isn't free, people. And when they say "Don't tread on me," what they mean is "Please wall off my state's power grid so that other states won't be able to help us if anything goes wrong." Local control is essential!
Well, except when it comes to health insurance, which the feds should allow to be sold across state lines so Arkansas can market shit catastrophic plans nationwide. And concealed carry permits, which should be portable. Oh, and abortion, which ... look, it's complicated, okay?
The point is that the millions of people without power or water in Texas right now are actually better off than their neighbors in states who can tap into excess capacity somewhere else, and this crisis in no wise represents a devastating failure by Texas's Republican politicians or an indictment of their refusal to upgrade the power grid after a 2011 snow storm demonstrated its inability to function in a winter storm. Wait 'til Rick Perry finds out who was governor of Texas in 2011!
In fact, what it does represent, according to Perry and McCarthy, is the failure of renewable energy. It's those damn windmills causing all the trouble.
"We are at the same amount of power needed in the state today than we were in August of 2020, which was the highest megawatt usage in Texas history… 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."
Yes, this would be a perfect analogy if every power source in central Texas had frozen solid during August 2020 when daytime temperatures routinely hit 100 degrees. Here on Planet Earth, however, the failure of the state's natural gas plants to meet demand during an ice storm has FUCK ALL to do with whether solar panels work in the summer. Half the country is in the middle of a snow storm right now, and it's only Texas that can't keep the heat on.
But those are just, like, objective facts. And McCarthy and Perry aren't going to let them get in the way when there's an opportunity to attack energy sources that don't involve extracting dead dinosaurs from the ground and turning them into carbon dioxide.
"Technology – not regulation" is how the governor believes Texas can ensure its grid can weather the next storm. But there's also the question of whether government subsidized wind and solar sectors — largely through policies like the wind and solar production tax credits – have made it harder for energy sources with on-site fuel storage like coal and nuclear to compete in the market. In a report issued under his leadership, Gov. Perry and DOE experts recognized this potential market failure. While then-Secretary Perry outlined the benefits of America's diverse energy resources, he also emphasized the need to "recognize the relationship between resiliency and the price of energy." And today's markets don't always recognize the value of resiliency.
The truth is, the federal government doesn't need to be playing favorites in the energy market to support a resilient grid. Instead, the federal government should stop skewing the market, and invest in technology and the kind of research that helps states be better prepared, and makes reliable, baseload power cleaner and more affordable. Texas, and we as a country, need to diversify our dependency based on need, opportunity, and technology — not federal subsidies.
How much Ayn Rand do you have to smoke to write about the "resiliency" of the fossil fuel power grid when it's in total meltdown?
Anyway, according to these two very serious thinkers, Texas, which is basically the Saudi Arabia of wind power, should move away from clean energy because it doesn't function as a backup for coal, gas, and nuclear power plants. And instead we should all put up with a warming planet, a fucked up polar vortex, and the resulting extreme weather conditions — don't call it a subsidy, call it an externalized cost! — which is a small price to pay for exercising our God-given right to pollute the earth. And if those "reliable" energy sources, which receive massive actual subsidies, aren't all that reliable, well, doesn't that prove the point?
Spoiler Alert: No, that's fucking crazy. But it won't stop these assholes from saying it over and over again.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.