Letters to the Editor - ERCOT, renewable energy, Ted Cruz, Ken Paxton, fearfulness

Readers offer ways to mitigate ERCOT’s warnings about power outages; point out the problems with renewable energy; bring up Sen. Cruz’ record; mention Ken Paxton’s indictment; and claim we are now a fearful nation.

What about battery farms?

Re: “ERCOT warns of demand — Power brownouts may happen in extreme situations, group says,” Thursday news story.

I appreciate the information in this story, but wondered about its gaping void concerning conservation and utility scale battery farms. In Texas, 7.9 gigawatts in new battery backup is planned over the next three years, according to the Energy Information Administration. Does that obviate our legislators’ groans about wind and sun?


The EIA also reports that a total of 10.5 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity is located in Texas; developers plan to install another 20.4 gigawatts between 2023 and 2025.


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And is conservation really such a terrible thing to promote? I personally cut my electricity usage by 60% over a 10-year period, largely by making efficiency my first concern when replacing and repairing appliances. Smarter use of thermostats and off switches can save us all plenty of money without sacrificing our future to monomaniacal fossil fuel interests.

Christine A. Guldi, Dallas


Level the playing field

Re: “Clean energy is working; why penalize it? Bills would make it harder for renewables to compete, despite lower cost to produce,” by Clay Lewis Jenkins, Wednesday Opinion.

Remarkably, attempts to put rationality into our state’s energy mix is considered “penalizing” renewables. Jenkins seems to think eliminating subsidies and making the energy production mix a level playing field is unfair. For years, renewables have enjoyed extensive subsidies (making them affordable). These subsidies have so unbalanced the mix that we now have more renewable energy than our high-line infrastructure (built at the public’s expense — another subsidy to renewables) can carry.


It is ironic that The Dallas Morning News the next day after the judge’s proclamation printed a news story from ERCOT warning Texans that the coming summer may see peak demands over what we can supply from reliable dispatchable sources, possibly leading to brown-outs or rolling blackouts.

Wind energy is great as long as the wind blows. However, in the summer and in the winter in Texas, the wind doesn’t blow so much, and our installed wind capacity of about 39 gigawatts will only produce about 5 gigawatts or less. Therefore, we must stop subsidizing renewables we can’t use and insist on a level playing field for electricity producers.

Clifford and Alice R. Holliday, Colleyville

Reliability must be considered

This column attempts to make the case for wind and solar but avoids their major problem: They are unreliable.

Jenkins complains about penalizing renewables while ignoring the government mandates, abatements and subsidies they receive. These government handouts tilt the playing field of market-based energy bidding, placing conventional — and reliable — coal, gas and nuclear power at an economic disadvantage. This is a dangerous practice that the Texas Legislature is trying to correct to avoid a repeat of past grid failures.

Renewable energy does not add one additional megawatt to the dependable capacity of the grid. If renewables did not have government subsidies to prop them up, they would be noncompetitive.

Wind has a capacity factor of less than 30%, and solar is even lower. Historically, wind and solar have been lowest during temperature extremes of heat and cold. Dependability is an absolute necessity and renewable energy undercuts the reliability of the electrical power grid.

Robert P. Smith, Dallas/Preston Hollow


About those term limits ...

Re: “As Allred enters Senate race, Cruz shrugs off competition — He says the Dallas congressman is too liberal for Texas voters,” Thursday news story.

Sen. Ted Cruz has long been an advocate of term limits. In his first term, he shut down the government costing us billions of dollars in a quixotic attempt to get President Barack Obama to cancel the Affordable Care Act. He supported the former president in his denial of the honest 2020 election results, betraying an oath to support the Constitution.

So, if indeed his Democratic opponent “is too liberal for Texas,” he himself should decline to run for a third term to give us an undamaged conservative senatorial candidate for Texas.


Mike Brophy, Northwest Dallas

Still backing max penalty?

Re: “GOP rep, AG spar over law change — Lawmaker: Paxton’s office behind reduction of election fraud penalty,” April 29 Metro & Business story.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Twitter that “Vote-fraudsters should be subject to the MAX penalty.” I’d like to ask him what he thinks about securities fraudsters.


In 2015, he was indicted for securities fraud, and since that time numerous delays by both the defense and prosecution have kept him from going to trial and facing the felony charges against him. If found guilty (he’s pleaded not guilty), Paxton faces five to 99 years in prison.

If convicted, I bet he would rethink his MAX penalty philosophy. Ninety-nine years is a long time.

Fred R. Neary, Far North Dallas

What happened?

We were once considered, and we considered ourselves, to be a fearless people. We traveled across the dangerous North Atlantic in a small boats to colonize a new land; we settled in 13 colonies and prospered; we formed a union and defeated the mighty British Empire to form a new nation; we forged into an unknown wilderness to settle a new continent from sea to sea; we had a disagreement within the nation and fought a terrible war but then reunited as a single nation; we took on two mighty foes in two World Wars and were victorious; we placed men on top of rockets and conquered low Earth orbit; we built a massive rocket and sent men to the moon; and we have taken on challenges in every area to advance science.


But then, some people on radio and television discovered that they could market fear and earn millions of dollars to line their pockets. Others sold military guns to fearful people to earn billions of dollars for themselves.

Now, we are a fearful people. What happened?

Tom Naylor, North Dallas

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