Technical Report: Texas Cold Wave

Eberle, Caitlyn (2021). Technical Report: Texas Cold Wave. Interconnected Disaster Risks 2020/2021. United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS).

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  • Sub-type Research report
    Author Eberle, Caitlyn
    Title Technical Report: Texas Cold Wave
    Series Title Interconnected Disaster Risks 2020/2021
    Publication Date 2021-09-08
    Place of Publication Bonn
    Publisher United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)
    Pages 29
    Language eng
    Abstract The powerful cold wave that swept over much of North America in February 2021 was a rare but not unprecedented event. In fact, similar cold waves occurred in 1989 and 2011, and the United States’ state of Texas had encountered similar problems then. Still, when the cold wave hit in 2021, it found Texas poorly prepared. Texas is the only state of mainland United States that has its own electrical grid, which intentionally does not connect to the country’s other power grids, to avoid federal regulations. This has resulted in the Texas energy supply being both isolated and largely deregulated. During previous winter storms, many generators failed, but in the Texas deregulated, market-based system, energy producers had barely any incentive to invest in cold weather protection; after all, in the average year they are much more affected by heat than by cold. In a state that prides itself on being independent and having freedom of choice, the free market and deregulation were prioritized over more disaster-resilient infrastructure. This technical background report for the 2020/2021 edition of the Interconnected Disaster Risks report analyses the root causes, drivers, impacts and potential solutions for the Texas cold wave through a forensic analysis of academic literature, media articles and expert interviews.
    Copyright Holder United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)
    Copyright Year 2021
    Copyright type Creative commons
    DOI 10.53324/ZGGA4578
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    Created: Fri, 28 Jul 2023, 23:45:16 JST by Aarti Basnyat on behalf of UNU EHS