FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show A Helicopter Spraying De-Icer Made From Fossil Fuels On A Texas Wind Turbine In 2021?
An image shared on Facebook over 1,100 times purportedly shows a helicopter spraying a wind turbine in Texas with de-icing chemicals made from fossil fuels on Feb. 15.
The photo, which was taken several years ago, shows a helicopter spraying hot water on a wind turbine in Sweden.
In the viral image, a helicopter can be seen hovering in the air near a wind turbine caked with ice. A device hanging from the helicopter appears to be spraying liquid on the turbine’s blades. (RELATED: Does This Footage Show Military Helicopters Flying Over DC In January?)
“In Texas today,” reads the Feb. 15 Facebook post. “A helicopter, using fossil fuels, spraying de-icer, made with fossil fuels, to de-ice a wind turbine, manufactured using fossil fuels, that is supposed to produce clean energy without using fossil fuels. #TheIrony #oilandgas.”
However, a reverse image search revealed the photo predates the winter weather currently impacting Texas by several years and wasn’t taken in the U.S. Check Your Fact found the photo published in a 2015 article published by the Swedish magazine NyTeknik. It also appears in a 2015 presentation deck from the Sweden-based company Alpine Helicopter that is titled “Airborne de-icing solution for wind turbines.”
The caption in the 2015 NyTeknik article states the photo, which is credited to Alpine Helicopter, was taken at a Swedish wind farm the previous winter. Alpine Helicopter developed and tested the process of spraying water that was heated with an oil burner from a helicopter to de-ice wind turbines, according to a rough translation of the article.
The inaccurate claim about the photo showing a helicopter spraying a Texas wind turbine with de-icing chemicals made from fossil fuels has circulated amid winter weather sweeping across much of the U.S., including Texas.
The winter storm has impacted Texas’ power grid, with millions of people across the state still not having power on Wednesday morning, the Wall Street Journal reported. Limited natural gas supply and frozen wind turbines have affected the ability of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which oversees the state’s grid, to create sufficient power, CNN reported.
Dan Woofin, a senior director for the ERCOT, said during a press conference Tuesday that a “lot of the generation that’s gone offline today, that either tripped or had to come offline, has been primarily due to issues on the natural gas system,” according to local affiliate CBS 11.