Failures in coal, natural gas added to Texas power shortages -WH

"There has been some inaccurate accusations out there... that suggested that renewables caused failures in Texas' power grid. And actually, numerous reports has actually shown the contrary - that it was failures in coal and natural gas that contributed to the state's power shortages," Psaki said on Wednesday (February 17).

Millions of Texans braved their third day without heat on Wednesday following a punishing winter storm that has killed at least 21 people, as icy conditions threatened to hamstring the country's largest state and the surrounding region for days.

Some 2.7 million households were without power, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a cooperative responsible for 90% of the state's electricity which has come under increasing fire for a massive failure of the power grid.

Video Transcript

- So about a decade ago, federal regulators suggested-- they urged Texas to weatherize its power grid. That largely did not happen, or it certainly didn't happen enough. And, of course, it was only a suggestion because Texas is not part of the national grid.

You may have seen the Rick Perry, the former energy Secretary and Governor of Texas, had-- had said today that Texans would rather endure days of blackouts than submit to federal regulation. Is the president willing to leave 30 million Texans off of the national grid?

JEN PSAKI: Building resilient and sustainable infrastructure that can withstand extreme weather and a changing climate will play an integral role in creating millions of good-paying union jobs, creating a clean energy economy, and meeting the president's goal of reaching a net zero emissions future by 2050, and also will be beneficial in future storms. I will say that there has been some inaccurate accusations out there.

I'm not sure if former Secretary Perry made these, but that it was the-- that suggested that renewables caused failures in Texas' power grid. And actually, numerous reports have actually shown the contrary, that it was failures in coal and natural gas that contributed to the state's power shortages.

And officials at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state's power grid, have gone so far as to say that failures in wind and solar were the least significant factors in the blackouts. I know that wasn't exactly your question, but I just wanted to convey that since there's been a lot of confusion about it.