Fossil fuel helicopter saves the day after windmill blades freeze in Texas

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A fossil fuel helicopter saved the day after the windmill blades froze and left 1.3 million electric customers in Texas without power. Rolling blackouts continued through the next day and it continues still.

Fossil fuel helicopters sprayed chemicals to unfreeze them.

Nearly half of Texas’ installed wind power generation capacity has been offline because of frozen wind turbines in West Texas, according to Texas grid operators.

It was a unique storm, however.

Wind power has been the fastest-growing source of energy in Texas’ power grid. In 2015 winder power generation supplied 11% of Texas’ energy grid. Last year it supplied 23% and overtook coal as the system’s second-largest source of energy after natural gas.

In Austin, wind power supplies roughly 19% of the city’s energy demands, all of which is passed from producers to consumers across the state grid. The city began adding several megawatts of wind energy capacity to its renewable energy portfolio in the 1990s from both West Texas and Gulf Coast wind farms.


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