Letter To The Editor: We Need To Clean Up Fossil Fuel Pollution That’s Damaging The World

in Letter to the Editor

Dear editor:

Regarding “Removal Of Coal/Natural Gas Could Mean Wyoming And Neighbors Face Blackouts This Winter“, Dec. 3, 2022, there are some clarifications needed in this reporting, especially in regard to what really happened during winter storm Uri in 2021.

In the final report regarding the root cause of the Uri electricity outage, it’s interesting that the greatest impact was caused when “dispatchable” thermal generation was no longer dispatchable.  

More specifically, “87 percent of unplanned generation outages due to fuel issues were related to natural gas, predominantly related to production and processing issues, while 13 percent involved issues with other fuels such as coal or fuel oil.”

We know that wind and solar energy is not always available, and people in the industry are well aware that storage is needed to provide reliable and dispatchable renewable energy. 

Fortunately, new technologies are coming online such as Tesla MegaPacks and Green Hydrogen for storage. 

But it’s surprising that Texas Commissioner Jim Wright told Bloomberg News that Texas state law should be “incentivizing natural gas storage to improve resiliency for power plants.” 

In effect, he acknowledges that for natural gas thermal energy to be truly “dispatchable”, it also requires a storage mechanism to achieve a similar result as battery storage for wind and solar, because natural gas is not always available. 

So what’s the point and why does it matter?

It’s quite expected for interests in the fossil fuel industry to make renewable wind and solar into the scary “bogeyman”. 

But if we accept the science based findings and outcomes, we know that our grandchildren will be struggling in a world that we no longer recognize, with ever more frequent and devastating extreme weather events that are caused by the carbon pollution from the fossil fuel industry.

Let’s give our grandchildren a fighting chance by doing what we can to clean up the fossil fuel pollution that’s damaging this world.

Joe Garfunkel

Houston chapter leader of Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Houston, TX

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