Fact Check: Have Investments In Wind Energy ‘Pushed Out’ Gas And Nuclear Power?

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By Brandon Mulder, PolitiFact/Austin American-Statesman; radio story produced by Alexandra HartMarch 3, 2021 1:01 pm, ,

From PolitiFact Texas:

Wind subsidies aren’t ‘pushing out’ nuclear, natural gas investments

U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston, was one of several Texas Republicans casting blame for the state’s blackouts this month as millions of Texans huddled in their frigid homes.

As with many other Republicans and conservative pundits, Crenshaw pointed his finger at wind energy as the primary culprit. But in a Feb. 16 tweet thread, Crenshaw expanded criticism beyond frozen wind turbines to include the federal subsidies for the wind industry and “force the grid to rely in part on wind as a power source.”

“Why don’t we have extra gas power when we need it most?” Crenshaw tweeted. “Because years of federal subsidies for wind has caused an over reliance on wind and an under-investment in new gas and nuclear plants.”

“Subsidizing investment in wind has pushed gas and nuclear out,” he said.

There’s no doubt that wind energy now plays a major role in supplying Texas and the U.S. with power. In Texas, wind has grown from supplying 11% of the state’s energy demand to 23% over the last five years. It is now the state’s second-largest energy resource after natural gas.

In the U.S., wind accounted for 7% of all energy generation and was the nation’s fourth-largest energy resource in 2019 after natural gas, coal and nuclear, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

It’s accurate to say that renewable energy subsidies over the last two decades have stoked investments in wind energy, said Bernadette Johnson, an energy economist with Enverus.

“Those underpin every major renewable investment in the country,” Johnson said.

But is it true that gas and nuclear energy sources across the U.S. have been “pushed” out, and that federal wind subsidies are to blame? …

Read the full story and see how Crenshaw’s claim rated at PolitiFact. And listen to an interview with PolitiFact Texas’ Brandon Mulder in the audio player above.

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