In response to the recent freeze-inspired power outages in Texas, some politicians blamed the historic blackouts on wind turbines. The dubious, and largely dismissed, claims nevertheless spotlighted an intriguing fact: Texas, the land made famous by oil derricks and wildcatters, now gets a significant portion of its electricity from clean, renewable sources, most notably wind, but also from water and solar – a troika of sustainability known collectively as WWS.
“Texas gets about 20 percent of its electricity from wind alone,” says Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, who is author of a new study appearing in the journal Smart Energy looking at the future of smart grids.
Jacobson used computer models to show that wind turbines, averaged over large regions, actually ramp up their power during cold snaps, when demand for home and business heating is the greatest.
Furthermore, he concludes that wind – when combined with solar and water power, various energy storage systems and incentives for people to shift the time of some of their electricity use – could meet not only all electricity needs worldwide, but all energy demand in total, every minute of such crises.