When you think of Texas, what comes to mind? A Lone Star? Bluebonnets? The Alamo? George Strait?
You probably also think about energy.
Texas is America’s energy state. It sits on top of one of the world’s greatest deposits of energy resources and is increasingly known for its leadership in wind power and other renewables. The plentiful supply of this diverse set of natural resources has made Texas home to leading multinational companies that help power our world.
And yet, when ice storms and frigid weather hit earlier this year, much of Texas lost power. The state experienced over 30,000 megawatts of outages at the same time, leaving millions of residents without electricity and heat for days. This was a challenging time for all Texans and for those who watched the crisis unfold from around the globe. Texas needs a plan to ensure reliable and resilient sources of power so its citizens will never have to go through this again.
Right now, lawmakers in Austin have taken some steps to help prevent a similar crisis in the future. In addition to looking at winterization and updating existing grid infrastructure, they should also consider an emergency reserve option that works like blackout insurance. These additional steps would clearly demonstrate that lawmakers want to ensure that no Texan should worry about going through an experience like the one they had in February — that cost over 100 Texans their lives and hit the Texas economy for more than $100 billion.
I work for Siemens Energy, and I have called on both the Texas House and Senate to take immediate and decisive action. My company and others in the industry can quickly deliver the equipment needed to improve the resiliency of the Texas grid in the face of Mother Nature. My more than 10,000 Siemens Energy colleagues across the United States manufacture and service the products that keep the lights on in communities across the country — and we have been doing this in the U.S. for more than 100 years. More than 1,600 of those colleagues live in Texas, and work at our eight major facilities in the state. Siemens Energy’s equipment accounts for 29 percent of the total power generation capacity in Texas, leveraging fossil energy, wind, and nuclear power. Texas is extremely important to Siemens Energy, and we have the solutions available to support it as it moves forward, both now and in the future.
Siemens Energy cares about the well-being of the people of Texas, and about our most valuable assets in the state — our employees. Their security depends on a reliable and resilient power grid. Right now, leaders in Austin can take action that will allow companies like mine — and our Texas employees Texas — to keep the state ready at a moment’s notice to power up the electric grid in the event of an emergency. We would strongly encourage them to address this issue before the close of the legislative session. Texas needs to be prepared when the weather emergency hits, and we stand ready to do our part to help provide a solution that is as resilient as the state’s people.