Greg Abbott Admits Failure from All Power Sources After Initially Blaming Green Energy

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has conceded that the recent mass power outage in the state was due to failures in the network involving all sources of power, not just green energy.

The Republican had initially sought to blame renewables for the outage, which left 4 million people in Texas without power or heat amid freezing temperatures. Some also experienced a lack of water.

Abbott spoke to the state in a televised address on Wednesday and acknowledged that the failure to winterize the Texas grid was to blame and both green energy and fossil fuels were affected.

The governor said "tragic does not even begin to describe" what many Texans have recently experienced.

"Many of you are angry - and you have a right to be. I'm angry too. At a time when essential services were needed the most, the system broke. You deserve answers. You will get those answers."

Abbott, speaking from State Emergency Operations Center in Austin, blamed the operator of the state's grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and said he would introduce reforms to implement winterization, according to the Texas Tribune.

"I assure you this: This legislative session will not end until we fix these problems," Abbott said.

"The fact is, power generation from all sources buckled under the harsh, freezing winter weather. That includes natural gas, coal, nuclear, as well as wind and solar," the governor went on.

Abbott first pushed for winterization of the grid last week. He also called on ERCOT's board members to resign. Six of them tendered their resignations before his speech on Wednesday.

The governor's remarks contrast sharply with his comments to Fox News' Sean Hannity on February 16. As events in Texas were unfolding and millions were without power, Abbott criticized renewable energy.

"This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America," he said, adding that wind and solar power accounted for "collectively more than 10 percent of our power grid."

"It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary for the state of Texas as well as other states to make sure we'll be able to heat our homes in the winter time and cool our homes in the summer time," Abbott said.

However, Texas is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, with estimates suggesting some 80 percent of the state's electrical generating capacity may be powered by natural gas, oil and coal.

Natural gas is of particular importance to energy supply in Texas and freezing conditions coupled with a lack of winterization measures affected its supply to the grid.

"It appears that a lot of the generation that has gone offline today has been primarily due to issues on the natural gas system," Dan Woodfin, a senior director at ERCOT, told the Texas Tribune on February 16.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announces the reopening of more Texas businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol on May 18, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Abbott has acknowledged that a lack of winterization led to mass power outages in the state. Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images