Oklahomans and residents in surrounding states dealing with life during a period of abnormally cold temperatures did what they do best: what they had to do to survive. 

It was unfortunate that some of those who serve in their representative governments chose the moment to pursue an ideological agenda rather than lead. Puppets for the fossil fuel industry seemed quick to blame frozen wind turbines for the rolling blackouts that extended for hours in some areas. 

Their attempts to mislead consumers whose misery was met by messaging that lacked context. Their misdirection was little more than a misguided attempt to bolster an industry that contributes to their campaigns in a fight for survival. 

Elected officials and regulators pointed to the purported failure of wind generators in sub-zero temperatures to make their points. They failed to point out the source performed a little better than models had forecast, and the weakest link in the regional electric grid turned out to be natural gas. 

An executive at Southwest Power Pool, a regional transmission company that manages the electric grid across 17 states that extend from North Dakota to Oklahoma, reported wind "produced a little bit more" electricity "than we had forecast." The energy source, according to SPP documents, makes up about 10% of the company's energy portfolio. 

Frozen wind turbines did contribute to a reduction in the amount of electricity that was needed during a period of increased demand. That was expected because the turbines erected across Oklahoma and Texas were built without additional protections included on those that dot the landscape of states with colder climates.

That was an economic decision based upon a risk-benefit analysis for an event that occurs, according to SPP, about every 85 years. The same is true for natural gas production and transmission: utilizing the fuel when temperatures are well below freezing for extended periods will require additional costs. 

Rather than playing politics, state officials could be trying to find ways to promote practical ways to limit similar disruptions in the future. Rather than propping up well-established industries like oil and gas -- even wind to a certain extent -- promote rooftop solar and battery storage options for residential and commercial customers. 

That seems like a reasonable alternative to rolling blackouts. Oklahomans deserve leaders, not demagogues. 

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