Friday, February 11, 2011

No Coal, No Power, No Gas

"The Texas blackouts are a foretaste of what the rest of the country can expect."

February 11, 2011
By Jeffrey Folks

Let's see if I get this straight. During the early February cold spell in the southern plains, when wind chills in Dallas dipped to minus twenty degrees, Texans were going without power to heat their homes and businesses even as the state was sitting on massive surpluses of natural gas. Even hospitals were having to switch to emergency generating systems. And this in the state with the largest energy production capacity in the continental US.

How was it that Texas suffered an extended period of rolling blackouts at a time when there's a glut of coal and natural gas waiting to be used?

The answer may be quite simple. It seems that a great deal of natural gas got "stuck in the pipes" because there was not enough electricity to operate the pumps to move it along. And there was not enough electricity to operate the pumps because environmentalists had seen to it that plans for new coal-powered generating plants had been shuttered back in 2007. So without the coal, there was no electricity, and without the electricity, there was no natural gas. And since much of the natural gas was intended to supply electrical power generating plants, there was even less electricity to supply the pumps and everything else.
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