In response to the recent severe winter weather in Texas — which has left the state’s energy grid totally unprepared and has exposed the foolishness and destructiveness of some of the state’s “green energy” mandates — President Joe Biden has approved a federal disaster declaration for the state.
The declaration now enables the federal government to supplement “state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms” through its own resources.
Biden’s Disaster Declaration
Biden’s disaster declaration outlines some of the forms of assistance that the federal government may now provide to Texas. Some of these include “grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses” and other things.
In addition to this form of help for individuals, the declaration also authorizes the allocation of federal funding for “state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a low-cost sharing basis for emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation measures statewide.”
Every Texas county’s local government will have access to this federal aid, but only in 77 of Texas’ 254 counties will the aid also be available to individuals. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has requested that individual aid be made available in every Texas county.
The Causes of the Disaster
According to a spokesman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, 14.9 million people in the state currently have suffered disruptions to their water service. Millions of others remain without power or heating.
Though failing wind turbines have been blamed for the failure of Texas’ power grid, the true explanation is more complex than this. Wind is a notoriously unreliable form of energy. Though wind turbines account for about a quarter of Texas’ current total electricity generation, they fail regularly for the simple reason that the wind doesn’t always blow. When failures occur, fossil fuel plants — particularly in coal, oil and natural gas — always pick up the slack.
Throughout recent years, Texas has crafted a series of energy policies — mainly tax breaks and subsidies — that grant artificial economic advantages to unreliable energy sources like wind and penalize the reliable fossil fuel sources. Since this causes investors to prefer unreliable sources to reliable ones, it greatly reduces the energy grid’s ability to withstand unforeseen contingencies.
Reforms that don’t address that issue will not help Texas.