Washington, DC – Today, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) reacted to the tragic events that have unfolded in Texas this week resulting from an unprecedented cold snap that has sent temperatures plunging to historic lows and compromised the state’s power grid.
In response to this crisis that has claimed the lives of nearly 50 Texans and left millions more in the cold and dark, CRES Executive Director Heather Reams offered the following statement:
“The situation that continues to unfold in Texas can only be described as tragic. For a state that rarely sees temperatures dip below 40 degrees, this week’s frigid weather has brought unthinkable hardship and heartbreaking loss. My heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones and those who continue to struggle without access to heat, power and fresh water for their homes.
It may be tempting to write off these weather conditions as a once in a century anomaly, but we cannot afford to ignore the underlying problem any longer. The climate is changing, ushering in extreme cold and extreme heat in unexpected places and with little warning. There is no denying that America is woefully unprepared to deal with these stresses on our electric grid.
Republicans and Democrats alike want energy independence and more energy to come from clean and renewable sources, but first and foremost we all need reliable access to heat, power and fresh water.
This starts with a serious commitment to improving our nation’s aging infrastructure. Systems designed generations ago – some more than 100 years old – can’t possibly meet the needs of today’s population and our demands for reliable power and connectivity, especially during an emergency.
A modern, all-of-the-above energy grid must be able to pull in power from any and all available sources, facilitate energy exchange with neighboring regions as needed, and effectively store it for times when we don’t have enough generation to meet our needs. Whether that’s new breakthroughs in battery technology or innovations in storage at the grid scale, we must figure out how to separate generation from use if we want to be truly prepared for the unexpected.
While in our homes, electricity and water supplies couldn’t be more distinct, you don’t have to zoom too far out to see these are highly interconnected systems. Along with robust and secure power supplies, we need water infrastructure that is adaptable and resilient, delivering safe, fresh water to our communities.
Weeks from now, there will be a new headline dominating the national news. But we can’t forget about Texas after the snow melts – that’s an injustice to families still hurting and certainly won’t help our nation face the next disaster. Now is the time for policymakers to put the blame-game to the side and truly prioritize infrastructure investments in advanced energy storage, power generation from diverse sources, and robust, resilient and adaptable energy and water systems.
This will require incredible coordination across multiple sectors of industry and government, and support from all corners of the American public. It won’t be easy, but we cannot continue to be caught unawares. It is time for us all to take a lesson from the Boy Scout motto, and Be Prepared.”