Did a Helicopter Use Petroleum-Based Chemicals to De-Ice a Texas Wind Turbine?

A viral imagepurportedly shows a wind turbine in Texas frozen by recent winter storms being sprayed with a fossil-fuel-based chemical.

Millions in Texas have lost power as a result of the winter storms, leading some to try to place the blame on wind turbines shutting down. While some turbines aren’t currently operating because of the freezing conditions, only 13 percent of total outages are due to the loss of wind energy. 

This isn’t the first time this image has gone viral: It has popped up periodically on climate change skeptic websites in the past few years, with Watts Up With That sharing it as far back as January 2016. The image is actually from Sweden, not Texas. And despite claims that the helicopter is spraying chemicals derived from petroleum, it’s actually hot water. The company behind this process, Alpine Helicopter, created it as an environmentally friendly way to de-ice wind turbines, and the picture in question can be found in both a 2015 article about the process and a wind energy powerpoint presentation.

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