TEXAS, USA — No Texan will forget – in February 2021, Winter Storm Uri hit.
"So, there's kind of this huge jigsaw of issues that helped trigger the power crisis in February, and we've seen them all happen before," said Emma Probst, member of the Sierra Club, an environmental group. "We have a similar event that happened back in 2011 and, not to the same degree at all, but still really, really bad. And, of course, you know, all these years later, February happens and we're still not prepared for a freeze."
A new report from the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC), said if an extreme weather event like Uri were to happen again soon, Texas is still not prepared.
Probst said state leaders need to focus more on upgrades at natural gas facilities because the fuel supply problems from nine months ago were largely driven by gas shortages.
"We need to make sure that power plants update their equipment so that it doesn't freeze when temperatures drop below freezing," said Probst. "We need to make sure that the folks that are providing the fuel for those power plants do the exact same thing."
Projections from the NERC said that in another severe storm, the state could see a 40% shortfall in available power.
However, Probst added, preparing for more winter weather goes beyond improving the resilience of the Texas electric grid.
"There's a hole in that system," added Probst. "We need to make sure that people will still be safe, which means that we need programs at the state level and locally to help people install more energy-efficient appliances in their homes, to help them add better insulation and to help them update their windows."
On Saturday morning, the Sierra Club will hold a hearing to talk about the changes state regulators have made since February. Texans are welcome to talk about their experience during the freeze, telling them what more can be done.
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