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University of Texas professor demands more renewable energy – Rise with that?


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to Associate Professor Fernanda Leite of the University of Texas, the ice storm in Texas last winter knocking down the state’s wind turbines and widespread blackouts demonstrate the need for more renewable energy.

November 23, 2021

We must all rise to the challenge of climate change

By: Fernanda Leite

The columns appearing on this service and website represent the views of the authors, not the University of Texas at Austin.

We are feeling the effects of climate change all around us. Rising temperatures are changing our landscapes and livelihoods. The Great Barrier Reef is suffering from heat stress that contributes to coral bleaching – more than half of the reef’s coral area was lost between 1995 and 2017. In July, several European countries Europe has been hit hard by floods. Globally, 8 of the 10 largest cities in the world are located near the coast. And in the United States, nearly 40% of the population lives in coastal areas, where sea levels play a role in flooding and soil erosion.

Nowhere are climate stressors more evident than in Texas. Our population is expected to nearly double by 2050, and much of the state has warmed between 0.5 and 1.0 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century. We’re seeing new diseases spread from the tropics, and we’re experiencing more extreme weather events like winter storms that left two-thirds of Texans without power and nearly one half without water for more than two days in February on average.

We urgently need to reduce emissions. And Texas needs a statewide climate adaptation plan.

The increase in temperature is mainly due to an increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. CO2 levels have been rising steadily for over 100 years mainly due to burning fossil fuels, which trap more heat in our atmosphere and contribute to climate change.

A special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which includes climate scientists from around the world, has said that human activities are estimated to have caused the phenomenon of climate change. Earth’s warming is approximately 1.0 degrees Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. And global warming is likely to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.

This is exactly one of the goals of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, or COP26, to bring world leaders together to tackle climate change. Countries are being asked to set ambitious emissions reduction targets by 2030 in line with reaching net zero by mid-century.

We all need to do our part like actually phasing out coal, accelerating the shift to electric vehicles and investing in renewable energy. There are positive examples around the world of countries moving towards a low-carbon future using solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable energy sources. Texas produces the most wind power of any state in the United States. Overall, the United States has the second highest installed wind capacity in the world after China. A clean energy revolution must continue across America, punctuated by the continued expansion of the US renewable energy industry.

Setting ambitious emissions reduction targets not only helps fight climate change, but also leads to cleaner, more resilient cities and infrastructure systems. Energy systems with a high percentage of renewable energy – or even decarbonizing grids – are more resilient to shocks than those that rely heavily on fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal.

Extreme weather events are expected like this year’s winter storm, which was just nine months ago, and we need to adapt our infrastructure to cope with these triggers. such stress. And we need to pay particular attention to vulnerable communities, which already suffer from chronic stressors related to toxic pollution, poverty, food insecurity, mixed immigration status and immigration process. Countries and communities across the country have begun to prepare for climate change by developing their own climate adaptation plans, so we have many examples to follow at home. me.

Our world leaders need to leave COP26 with actionable goals with specific, realistic and meaningful deadlines. And policymakers and leaders in Texas must do their part, adopting and accelerating measures to combat climate change, address energy infrastructure and public resilience. equal. Only then will we overcome the challenge of climate change.

Fernanda Leite is an associate professor and Senior John A. Focht Teaching Fellow in Civil Engineering at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She serves as the leader of a major university-wide challenge initiative called Planet Texas 2050.

A version of this op-ed appeared in San Antonio Express News, Abilene News Reporter, MSN and Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

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Texas Perspectives is a string service produced by the University of Texas at Austin that provides the media with meaningful and thought-provoking op-eds on a variety of topics and events. present. The authors are faculty and staff at UT Austin who work with University Communications to create columns that adhere to journalism best practices and Associated Press style guidelines. The University of Texas at Austin offers these opinion articles for free publication. The columns appearing on this service and website represent the views of the authors, not the University of Texas at Austin.

The source: https://news.utexas.edu/2021/11/23/we-all-must-rise-to-the-challenge-of-climate-change/

The claim that much renewable energy could have been saved during the day is easily disproved.

Texas Ice Storm Generation
Changes in electricity production in Texas, January 18 – February 17, 2021, 12 a.m. EIA US (Source) Forbes)

To be fair, 7% of wind capacity seems to continue to produce, at least some of the time, so it’s surprising that wind isn’t completely useless. I guess solar isn’t used much during an ice storm.

But how much wind does it take to keep the lights on, if Texas is 100% renewable?

100% ÷ 0.07 = 1428% – 100% initial = 1328% over 100%, or 1328% capacity.

The wind may have been carrying the load, hypothetically, although this is a very rudimentary calculation that doesn’t take into account the availability of turbine locations, or the variation in output around the 7% average, but Standby wind capacity 1328% Texas was required to match the performance of gas during last winter’s ice storm that would be expensive to build and maintain.

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