Another polar vortex is coming for Texas, but unlike the deadly failure of the electric grid in 2021, the state’s heat is expected to stay on this time. This is partly a story of conservative climate adaptation, says UCLA environmental law professor William Boyd.

Boyd shared his thoughts on electric grids and lessons learned since Uri, the 2021 cold front that killed hundreds:

  • “We can look at Texas as a red state that may have a lot of people in power who are climate deniers, but if you look at the state’s investments in clean energy, Texas dominates. In 2022, they installed nearly as much new energy capacity from wind alone as California did for wind, solar and battery storage combined.”
  • “I don’t expect a repeat of 2021. The Texas state government required and made a substantial investment in weatherizing their power sources, which was big problem across all types of power generation three years ago, from wind power to natural gas plants. The state has also seen a massive increase in storage capacity since Uri.”
  • “Texas’ laissez-faire approach to electricity market has allowed them to harness competition in ways that other states cannot, but then Uri came along, and maybe they had a great market, but it wasn’t prepared. It’s a cautionary tale about relying too much on markets. You need a hybrid approach, and Texas is now adding requirements and holding less rigidly to a market-only approach.”

Feel free to quote from Boyd’s comments. Boyd is a UCLA environmental law professor at the UCLA School of Law and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He is also faculty co-director of the law school’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, with expertise on topics including grid reliability, energy markets and rainforest preservation.

And for context what it means that 2023 was the warmest year yet recorded, catch UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain in his latest live YouTube Q&A today at 2 p.m. Pacific/5 p.m. EasternHe’ll also cover the latest in California’s weird winter, including what’s to come, what’s up with El Niño, and winter predictions. Join live to ask questions in the chat, or view the recording anytime.

Media are encouraged to reach out on these or other environmental topics to request commentary from UCLA’s many climate, energy, and sustainability experts.

Alison Hewitt
Senior Media Relations Officer

UCLA Strategic Communications | Office of Media Relations
 | @ashewitt | @ahewitt.bsky