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The “energy heart” of the United States has been cut off, but politicians are busy “blaming the pot”

Blizzard is rampant, and electricity prices have soared! Texas, USA, once charged about 10$.

In Austin, Texas, United States, local residents can only get warm in their cars due to power outages. Source: The New York Times)

“Texas paralyzed” “Texas is in crisis”, millions of Texas people trembling in the cold wind and made the American media blow up.

The United States has been hit by extremely cold weather recently, and temperatures in many places have hit new lows in recent years, killing at least 31 people. Among them, the disaster in Texas was particularly serious.

The snowstorm paralyzed Texas’s power grid in the cold and caused long-term power outages in the homes of about 4 million residents.

The Texas Electricity Reliability Commission (ERCOT), which is responsible for supplying 90% of Texas’s electricity, announced on the 15th that the state has entered a three-level warning of emergency power supply, and cities such as Dallas and Houston have largely rotated power outages.

Although the power department has carried out emergency repair work, according to ERCOT data, nearly 3 million users in the state were still out of power as of the 17th. CNN said, “The Texas crisis shows that this is not what modern society should be“.

Texas sits in the United States with 41% of petrochemical production and 28% wind energy supply, which is known as the “energy heart” of the United States. The power outage of the energy heart is the epitome of the chronic disease of the U.S. power infrastructure.

On the one hand, underinvestment is a major problem in the U.S. power system, including Texas.

The New York Times believes that although 29 million Texas residents knew that the area would experience extreme cold weather as early as last week, “Texan electricity suppliers seem to be caught off guard by the surge in energy demand for housing heating and telephone charging”.

Bloomberg analyzed that during the winter storm, the freezing of natural gas transported in pipelines, the closure of many natural gas processing plants, resulting in supply shortages, coupled with the freezing of wind turbine blades, which cut off more than half of wind power production capacity, are important causes of the energy crisis.

In response to this, The Hill said that unlike the northern states, many electric facilities in Texas are not equipped with the same type of insulation as the northern states, which makes “wind turbines unable to cope with extreme cold weather and other power facilities cannot maintain normal temperatures.” In fact, power facilities across the United States are facing a situation that they have to operate due to insufficient investment.

According to the statistics of the U.S. Department of Energy, 70% of transmission lines and transformers in the United States have a service life of more than 25 years, 60% of circuit breakers have a service life of more than 30 years, and many equipment is already at the limit of operation. , which may collapse at any time.

On the other hand, the collapse of the Texas power grid is also a microcosm of the fragmentation of the U.S. power grid. Texas is the only state in the United States with a self-contained power supply.

The Texas power grid has little connection with the power grid in other states. During this cold wave, Texas’s power generation capacity of more than 34 GW was “destroyed”, which is equivalent to 40% of the state’s expected power supply.

With the sharp decline in power generation capacity and the difficulty of obtaining power support from other states, Texas’s power grid was eventually overwhelmed in the face of the surge in demand for electricity caused by the cold wave.

The situation in Texas is not unique in the United States.

The Texas power outage is the third time that a statewide power outage has occurred in the United States after the power outage in New York State in July 2019 and the power outage in California in August 2020.

Behind these large-scale power outages is the reality that the U.S. power supply lacks unified scheduling and is difficult to cope with emergencies.

There are more than 3,000 power enterprises in the United States, of which only 6 are federally owned enterprises, and only 40,000 are served. The revenue accounts for only 0.5% of the national power market, which is in an optional position.

In contrast, the proportion of service users and income of private enterprises is as high as more than 70%.

It can be said that in the absence of a real national power grid and hundreds of home appliance network operators occupying the mountain, the United States lacks close coordination whether it wants to achieve a balance between power supply and demand or respond to emergencies in time.

And just as the Texasans trembled in the cold wind, the blame drama of the two parties in the United States about “who should be responsible for the power outage” was staged again. 

Republican politicians accused Democrats of irresponsibly pushing for the so-called “Green New Deal” and radically replacing fossil energy with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy, as the culprit of the Texas power outage, but according to the Wall Street Journal, Texas’s winter power generation is still fossil energy sources such as natural gas, coal and oil.

Wind It can only account for 10%; Democrats use the TV shutdown as an opportunity to further shake the Republican dominance in Texas.

Chris Turner, the leader of the Texas House of Representatives, said, “The whole incident represents a disastrous failure of the Texas (Republican) leadership”.

CNN’s comments are meaningful. At a time when the health care system in the United States is almost overloaded due to the coronavirus epidemic, the education system no longer provides fair education for students across the United States, and American democracy is pushed to the brink of collapse by politicians. “What can the electricity grid make any difference in the United States?”

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