As millions of Texans went without power for days during February's devastating storm, Texas oil and gas regulators were circulating talking points from a noted climate skeptic blaming system failures on the state's embrace of wind and solar energy, emails obtained by NBC News show.
The talking points from Alex Epstein, author of "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels," made their way to the Texas governor's office and to the state's oil and gas regulator, known as the Railroad Commission of Texas.
The narrative about frozen wind turbines quickly took hold, particularly in far-right media, as Texas regulators and other elected officials took to television and Twitter to blame renewable energy for the failures. Gov. Greg Abbott asserted on Fox News' "Hannity" that "our wind and our solar got shut down."
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In fact, it was the state's failure to weatherize, along with its disconnection from the national grid, that triggered a domino effect that forced the massive blackouts as power plants went offline. The biggest losses of generation came from natural gas, with failing wind power playing only a minimal role.