To the editor:

There are two significant lessons that should be learned from the recent Texas freez 'um energy debacle.

First, Texas must winterize its power production. Prior to the freeze, wind power was providing about 25% of Texas' power. When the freeze hit, most of that production went offline because the turbines had no winter weather upgrades.

Their supply was replaced by gas and coal, which came online. But as the freeze got worse, some of the gas plants (mechanical issues) and one nuclear plant (coolant freezing) went offline due to freezing temperatures.

Clearly Texas needs to winterize their production as northern states do.

The second lesson is a wake-up call regarding intermittent energy sources: wind and solar. They require backup generation for when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine.

Decommissioning "always on" nuclear plants or gas and coal plants creates the possibility of "people will die" disasters in which the grid fails at times of peak load on the coldest days of winter or the hottest days of summer.

We are nowhere near being able to deploy the utility-scale electricity storage required to use wind and solar for more than about 15% of electricity generating capacity.

Therefore we need to improve and maintain our natural gas infrastructure for several decades as we develop four new technologies -- carbon capture for fossil fuel plants; utility-scale electricity storage for intermittent wind and solar sources; and safe, modular (and less expensive) generation for nuclear plants and ultimately fusion power.

Daniel Murphy

North Andover

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