It’s really a shame to see Texas, a proudly independent state, suffering under one of the worst winter cold snaps since the mid-20th century. Their suffrage is a combination of climate change, coupled with Texas’ assumption that winter would never be a problem of theirs, and the republican-inspired leeway they give to their power companies, catching them with their chaps down and leaving ~40% of its residents without power for days.
And to add insult to injury, Tim Boyd, Mayor of Colorado City, Texas, wrote a historically insensitive message on Facebook, telling Texas residents:
“No one owes you [or] your family anything; nor is it the local government’s responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim it’s your choice! The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING! I’m sick and fired of people looking for a damn handout.”
He resigned the next day, but those words can hardly be taken back.
Although Boyd’s stupid words totally contradict the reality of modern life (including in Texas), there’s a point to them that should be considered: In the case of energy, modern Americans have an independent alternative to the power grid that failed them so badly; and in modern times and the pressures of climate change, that alternative should be considered, not just by Texans, but by all Americans.
That alternative is solar power. In Texas, fields of solar cells, along with windmill forests, make up about 20% of the state’s power (and despite republican claims, are not to blame for power losses and blackouts… non-winterized equipment are). But instead of depending on those solar cell fields, Texans should use this circumstance to put their own solar cells on their roofs and in their yards.
Solar cells have reached a high enough efficiency and low enough price that it is now affordable for many Americans to buy them and have them installed; and many power companies are offering incentives for the rest of Americans to buy or lease them. The advantage to having your own cells is the generation of power at your site… your power, provided to your home whether or not the grid is active, saving you money from using grid-based power and taking pressure off the grid.
If the majority of Texan homes had had solar cells and storage batteries at the beginning of this climate attack, power grids could have shut down for self-preservation, and homes would still have power to keep warm, to keep pipes from freezing, to allow families to cook hot meals and to keep their batteries from discharging due to the cold.
And think about it: As more communities deal with the ongoing pressures of climate change, which includes power outages due to infrastructure damage from floods, landslides, tornadoes, fire, ice and weather-wear and age, the more individual homes could provide power for themselves and take pressure off the grids by installing their own solar cells.
It’s already too late for Texas’ record climate attack, as well as it’s too late for other places that have already suffered from climate-change-related losses. But before the next loss occurs, we should all be considering upgrading our homes with solar cells—or windmills, hydroelectric, geothermal, or whatever floats your boat—that will protect our homes and take pressure off of fragile power grids.