© Reuters

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – Ice storms knocked out almost half the wind-power producing capability of Texas on Sunday as a uncommon deep freeze throughout the state locked up turbine towers whereas driving electrical energy demand to document ranges, the state’s grid operator reported.

Responding to a request from Governor Greg Abbott, President Joe Biden granted a federal emergency declaration for all 254 counties within the state on Sunday, authorizing U.S. businesses to coordinate catastrophe aid from extreme climate in Texas.

The winter vitality woes in Texas got here as bone-chilling chilly, mixed with snow, sleet and freezing rain, gripped a lot of america from the Pacific Northwest by way of the Nice Plains and into the mid-Atlantic states over the weekend.

An Arctic air mass inflicting the nippiness prolonged southward effectively past areas accustomed to icy climate, with winter storm warnings posted for a lot of the Gulf Coast area, Oklahoma and Missouri, the Nationwide Climate Service mentioned.

The Electrical Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s grid operator, issued an alert asking shoppers and companies to preserve energy, citing record-breaking vitality calls for as a result of excessive chilly gripping the state.

“We’re coping with higher-than-normal era outages as a result of frozen wind generators and restricted provides accessible to producing items,” the company mentioned.

Wind farms in West Texas, laid low with weekend ice storms, have been notably onerous hit.

Of the 25,000-plus megawatts of wind-power capability usually accessible in Texas, some 12,000 megawatts was out of service as of Sunday morning “because of the winter climate occasion we’re experiencing in Texas,” ERCOT spokeswoman Leslie Sopko mentioned.

Wind era ranks because the second-largest supply of vitality in Texas, accounting for 23% of state energy provides final yr, behind pure gasoline, which represented 45%, in keeping with ERCOT figures.

Forecasts name for heavy snow and freezing rain to unfold throughout a bigger swath of central and jap sections of the nation by way of Monday, with a storm entrance within the West more likely to dump 1 to 2 toes of snow within the Cascades and northern Rockies by way of Tuesday, in keeping with the climate service.

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