The widespread power outages in Texas after a massive ice storm froze the state's wind turbines point to the need for further scrutiny before the nation can switch over to 100% renewable energy, Bjorn Lomborg, the president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center think tank, says.
"Texas' current problems are not just caused because of the lack of wind," Lomborg told Fox News' "Fox and Friends" Tuesday. "Also, coal-fired power plants and gas and nuclear have dropped out. But it does tell us the very hard point that we're going to have to face if we want to switch over to 100% renewable, that's going to be wind and solar."
But when the "sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing, you're up the creek," said Lomborg. "You have to have backup power."
But that adds to higher costs, but when there are extreme conditions, such as in Texas at this point, "you have to have rolling blackouts," Lomborg said. "You basically have to have worse outcomes for higher costs. Most people don't want that."
In the short run, the backup system will be fossil fuels, but what the wind turbine failures have revealed is that "we need better ways forward," said Lomborg, including increased storage capacity for wind and solar power.
"Bill Gates is out with a new book, essentially making the same point," that much more research and development is needed in green energy, said Lomborg.
"Maybe rich countries like the U.S. are willing to say yes we will pay much more for our electricity and accept some rolling blackouts," Lomborg said. "Most countries can't afford to do that around the world."
Meanwhile, wind turbines, most of the time and in small proportions, can be "actually great," said Lomborg.
"They are just like solar panels because they can help you with the maximum load of your energy source," he said. "Remember, most people want to put more electricity on our grid. They want electric cars and space heating. That is going to create many more problems like the ones we are seeing in Texas."
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