Millions of Texans, including scores of families that have moved here recently, got a reminder of Mother Nature's fury, compliments of Winter Storm Uri (photo courtesy of NASA). As it turns out, our solar system's Sun is now in what is known as a Solar Minimum. This might, according to astronomer Bob Berman, suggest we may be seeing more of these powerful winter storms in the coming years, due to lower sunspot activity. The good news is that Texas' electric grid problems are all fixable, but it will cost money and require tens of thousands of new jobs to get this big Texas fail-safe job done. Texas is a can-do state, and the initiative is couched in urgency as stated by Gov. Greg Abbott.
Job number one is to create the most robust, spare capacity energy supply and future expandable grid after careful failure analysis and projected growth patterns. This will take new generation capacity, new transmission lines, distribution substations, and careful load analysis of all substation outputs so maximum power can be sourced and supplied when needed. I think we all must agree, without electricity, we're history. Our civilization is now 100% dependent upon electricity. It powers everything, from our business infrastructure, municipal water pumping stations, and pressurized gas grid, down to your LED lights in your home, and needs to be treated and protected as a vital national resource.
Green Energy Itself Was a Casualty of Winter Storm Uri
The idea of dependable "Green Energy" got exposed in a bad way when thousands upon thousands of solar-paneled roofs buried under snow produced zero energy, placing a sudden additional power demand on the power grid at exactly the time when the Grid needed added production to help cope with high demand. In this regard, "Green Energy" was a contributing cause of blackouts.
The Texas Grid project will run for years. Like transportation highways, electric highways must always be maintained, improved, and expanded. It must be broken down into sectors, subsectors and must handle not only today's power demands but all of tomorrow's projected growth and be able to deliver all power requirements when called upon to satisfy emergency demands, similar to Winter Storm Uri. The good news is, Texas is a pro-growth, business-friendly state, and you can expect large projects to obtain the urgency needed and hopefully not die in a mountain of political red tape.
Yes, nature has given us a new mandate this Valentine's Day, and we must adapt quickly because if we are entering a long-duration Solar Minimum, the politics must stop. Results must be obtained to fend off even more dangerous winter mega-storms. If our infrastructure was prepared, this storm should have been nothing more than a mere inconvenience, and hopefully, the Texas legislature will treat this weather emergency with urgency.
Flushing Toilets using Melted Snow? I Think We Can Do Better!
In the end, it is all about practicality and understanding costs. Do you want to spend billions in aftermath costs, and lost business productivity, or do you want to invest billions in modernizing our Texas electric grid so that tomorrow's mega-storms will have few lasting effects, other than temporary transportation issues? For me, there is no question about what must be done. Fixing the inadequate Texas electric grid is one kind of urgent public investment that needs emergency government fast-tracking.
Mike Askins, Realtor, Owner ARG
Got questions for Realtor Mike? Call me at 214-727-3686 (mobile)