The crisis in Texas over the past week has had Americans across the nation watching in horror as a failure of the energy system left millions of Texans for days without heat in freezing temperatures. Many in the Lone Star state are still dealing with water shortages, contaminated water, and flooding from bursting pipes.
We at Environment America have been working with our in-state affiliate, Environment Texas, to answer questions that many are having:
The problems of the energy system aren’t confined to winter months. Where I live in New England, there was a major blackout event back in August 2003 that was caused by a combination of power lines touching trees, software problems and equipment failure. Just last year, California cut power to millions of people to prevent wildfires sparked by live power lines. Floods and hurricanes have also disrupted power supplies for many Americans in more recent memory as well.
The hard truth is that our energy system is more fragile than it should be. With climate change bringing more extreme weather, that’s likely to get worse before it gets better. As a result, our leaders and regulators must fix three crucial vulnerabilities in our current system.
As Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, put it in The Dallas Morning News:
“Simply doubling down on the same failed approaches that put the state at risk will only set us up for the next disaster. A cleaner, safer, more resilient energy system is possible. With smart planning and decisions, we can make it a reality.”