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Obama Triggers Blackouts?

There is a new meme bubbling up in the conspiracy end of the blogosphere, claiming that President Obama is somehow to blame for the blackouts being experienced in the west/midwest. This is untrue. Obama is not to blame.

The Texas Tribune has more:

State Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, in a phone call with the Tribune today, stressed that conclusions are still tentative but said a chain reaction of problems involving the state's coal and gas plants appeared to be the cause — and wind plants were having trouble, too. So far no blackouts have been ordered today.

Electricity demand spiked in Texas yesterday as the cold weather struck, setting a wintertime record for usage. Summer usage is higher, but winter also can bring strong demand because about two-thirds of Texas homes are heated with electricity.

Initially, it appears, some coal plants went offline due to cold-weather problems, taking a large chunk of electricity out of the grid. Luminant, a major power-generation company, confirmed that its two coal units at the Oak Grove plant in Robertson County failed, as did two units at a coal plant in Milam County. "We are in various stages of start-up and operation for that group," Allan Koenig, a Luminant spokesman, said via e-mail. Three of these four units only began operating in the last few years; Fraser, who chairs the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, noted that they had new emissions-control technologies, and said one question was how those technologies had handled the cold.