The White House recently rolled out its infrastructure plan, and billions of dollars would go to improving the nations power grids, but Texas' grid is independent from the rest of the country.
FOX 4’s Steven Dial spoke with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm about the power grid here in Texas in the wake of the winter storm earlier this year.
[REPORTER: "This week, you tweeted and said a reliable power grid is infrastructure, what do you mean by that?"]
"We want to make sure people understand that infrastructure evolves with American progress and American aspirations, so that means that the electricity grid is infrastructure now. Broadband, which wouldn't have been considered infrastructure in the 1990s, is infrastructure now," Granholm responded.
[REPOTER: "Talking about reliable grids, everyone in Texas knows what happened when we experienced our winter storm. the power grid buckled, a lot of people were without power. What is your take on Texas' independent grid? Also, lawmakers are putting measures in place to prevent this from happening Again."]
"Ten years ago, when a similar thing happened, when it was warned to winterize the grid and power systems that supply our electricity and that these unusual weather events will continue to happen. Hopefully there is that investment in Texas' grid. I understand Texas' ethos to be independent, but there must be a way that the rest of the country can help when Texas is hurting," Granholm said.
[REPORTER: "The winter storm, less than 15% of the power failure was due to wind, but the political narrative, some lawmakers criticized renewable energy as the reason why the power failed. How do you sell that to a state like Texas?"]
"I think Texas, because it does have some amazing renewable resources that it can also make money for people with, it doesn't have to be a zero some," Granholm explained. "You can do things that would remove CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and still allow fossil fuels to power people. We have technology called carbon capture use and sequestration. That’s tech that you would attach to power plants so that can still be used."
[REPORTER: "This week, in a rare form of bipartisanship, Republican Sen. John Cornyn and Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson held a press conference and proposing federal legislation in providing states like Texas funding with winterization from a funding level. What do you think the federal government's role should be in helping power grids prepare for weather events?"]
"Texas' system isn't even under the federal government, but perhaps it’s the opening for a conversation to someway have that partnership. We certainly don’t want Texans finding themselves in this situation again. We want utility and power suppliers to weatherize and take responsibility and not penalize the citizens of Texas. perhaps it’s the opening for bipartisan conversation," Granholm said.