Wind Critics Blow Hot Air in Texas Energy Debate, Data Suggest

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Advocates for coal and natural gas are blaming the Texas energy crisis on the plunge in electricity generated by wind farms in the Lone Star State, due to freezing turbines.

What do the data indicate? Hour-by-hour figures from the U.S. Energy Information Agency show a drop-off in electricity production from almost all sources in the past week, climaxing at about 3 a.m. in Texas on Feb. 15. Here’s a chart showing that. Note the particularly sharp drop in wind production, which narrows to just a sliver for hours at a time in the days after the plunge.

Wind Critics Blow Hot Air in Texas Energy Debate, Data Suggest

So would the overall situation look much different if wind energy was just as reliable as the other three big suppliers -- natural gas, goal and nuclear? To see, we manipulated the data to create a hypothetical situation in which wind energy production changed each hour at the exact same rate as the average for the other three. Here’s what that chart looks like:

Wind Critics Blow Hot Air in Texas Energy Debate, Data Suggest

The plunge looks almost exactly the same, even with wind energy performing as reliably as its rivals.

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