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Thread: 2 Million Without Power in the Southwest

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    Re: 2 Million Without Power in the Southwest

    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    Our electrical grid needs to be expanded significantly and immediately.
    So you're willing to see the current $0.16/KwH average rate in America go to $0.80/KwH (or more)? You're also willing to see a new Nuclear Plant built in your home town? You're willing to have a SmartMeter installed in your home and the SmartGrid system activated on all distribution feeders?

    Wow, you're a lot more willing to give in than I am (and I work for a utility company)
    Last edited by Tigger; 09-09-11 at 12:51 PM.

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    Re: 2 Million Without Power in the Southwest

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigger View Post
    So you're willing to see the current $0.16/KwH average rate in America go to $0.80/KwH (or more)? You're also willing to see a new Nuclear Plant built in your home town? You're willing to have a SmartMeter installed in your home and the SmartGrid system activated on all distribution feeders?

    Wow, you're a lot more willing to give in than I am (and I work for a utility company)
    Considering San Diego almost always has at least 2 nuclear plants (sometimes up to 6) sitting within a mile of downtown every day, I don't see why people complain so much. Seattle also has a dozen or more nuclear plants within about 30 miles or so of it.

    Nuclear power is not some monster. It can be run quite safely.

    But the real answer is to start building homes and businesses that are much more energy efficient and energy producing. Buildings should be built to be as energy efficient as possible, including ensuring that they are well suited for the environment they are in. And we should be considering adding both solar panels and small wind turbines (where practical) to all buildings to try to create as much environmentally driven power for individual buildings as possible. This would greatly cut back on how much power is used from power plants and even help people when these things happen. People would be able to power their own houses, at least partly, without relying completely on the power plants.
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    Re: 2 Million Without Power in the Southwest

    Quote Originally Posted by roguenuke View Post
    That was a interesting but sorta boring night. I did realize I need to get a battery powered radio, remember to always charge my phone, and have more easy-to-make-without-power food stocked in the house.

    Hubby worked last night. The power went out and we didn't really know what happened until my brother got the wind-up radio working about an hour later (lasted about 5 min and we weren't going to continuously wind it all night). Then we read books til dark. It is interesting trying to explain to a 3 year old that the power isn't coming back on and he can't "beat up the bad guys" who attacked it. We ended up having pb&j's last night for dinner.

    It was pretty uneventful for us, but I'm pretty sure it was a stressful night for all emergency workers. We heard them for a good part of the night. I think it was mainly due to people having complications without power (a person living near us was apparently on O2 and had to get taken to the hospital) and traffic accidents due to no lights. And they had the military guys out helping direct traffic. My husband had a stressful night on base.
    The water company property we live on also houses cell phone and some kind of data swithching stations. The guys were in and out all night. Weird and dark in Solana Beach. Let the neighbors with the new baby know we had power and refridgeration if they needed it. Watched some downloaded tv on my phone, cooked by flashlight. LOTS of activity from the fire department down the street.
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    Re: 2 Million Without Power in the Southwest

    Quote Originally Posted by roguenuke View Post
    Considering San Diego almost always has at least 2 nuclear plants (sometimes up to 6) sitting within a mile of downtown every day, I don't see why people complain so much. Seattle also has a dozen or more nuclear plants within about 30 miles or so of it.

    Nuclear power is not some monster. It can be run quite safely.

    But the real answer is to start building homes and businesses that are much more energy efficient and energy producing. Buildings should be built to be as energy efficient as possible, including ensuring that they are well suited for the environment they are in. And we should be considering adding both solar panels and small wind turbines (where practical) to all buildings to try to create as much environmentally driven power for individual buildings as possible. This would greatly cut back on how much power is used from power plants and even help people when these things happen. People would be able to power their own houses, at least partly, without relying completely on the power plants.
    Distributed generation is definitely the answer. I'm pretty sure something I read once was from the military that stated that our power systems are too concentrated and therefore pose a national security risk. Wind solar and micro-hydro should all be being used wherever possible. I have a couple friends that are either off grid or working towards it. One is my "bolt hole" in the case of some REAL disaster/crisis. So far out in the high desert no hordes of starving Angelenos would ever think to look there for food and water.

    We were kind of amazed at the peace of mind we had from our "emergency backup house" last night. Felt all prepared and stuff!
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    Re: 2 Million Without Power in the Southwest

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    Riiiiiiight! Watching Obama's speech uses more electricity than watching anything else.
    I blame the NFL, all that juice used to watch the game......who watched Obama anyway? Actually I watched him, and it was a horribly delivered speech. Obama was definitely off his game, for a speaker like him. Not presidential at all.
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    Re: 2 Million Without Power in the Southwest

    Quote Originally Posted by roguenuke View Post
    Nuclear power is not some monster. It can be run quite safely.
    Very true.

    Quote Originally Posted by roguenuke View Post
    But the real answer is to start building homes and businesses that are much more energy efficient and energy producing. Buildings should be built to be as energy efficient as possible, including ensuring that they are well suited for the environment they are in. And we should be considering adding both solar panels and small wind turbines (where practical) to all buildings to try to create as much environmentally driven power for individual buildings as possible. This would greatly cut back on how much power is used from power plants and even help people when these things happen. People would be able to power their own houses, at least partly, without relying completely on the power plants.
    It's not new construction that's the problem. It's the older homes and buildings. Especially in the Northeast where many of our buildings still date from the 18th and 19th centuries and are still in use today.

    Micro-generation comes with a couple of concerns for me. The first is a practicality issue.... how much are people going to spend compared to how much they get back out of it.

    The second is a safety issue.... The last thing an electric worker wants to hear when he/she drives into an area with an outage is a generator. At least those can be heard. These new micro-generation systems may not be audible from the street. "So What?" you say.... well an improperly installed generator (as probably 70% of them are), can backfeed into the electrical grid and cause a potential hazard to that worker as they try to restore power.

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    Re: 2 Million Without Power in the Southwest

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigger View Post
    So you're willing to see the current $0.16/KwH average rate in America go to $0.80/KwH (or more)? You're also willing to see a new Nuclear Plant built in your home town? You're willing to have a SmartMeter installed in your home and the SmartGrid system activated on all distribution feeders?

    Wow, you're a lot more willing to give in than I am (and I work for a utility company)
    You make a lot of assumptions.

    I would cut a lot of red tape and build the plants publicly and privately. My preference is nuclear; thorium if possible. And yes, I would very much like to have one in my home town. We need the jobs, and America needs the electricity.

    Where we differ, I suppose, is that I would support the government building and running it, if necessary.

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    Re: 2 Million Without Power in the Southwest

    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    I would cut a lot of red tape and build the plants publicly and privately. My preference is nuclear; thorium if possible. And yes, I would very much like to have one in my home town. We need the jobs, and America needs the electricity.
    You better have a might hefty set of shears if you're going to cut THAT MUCH red tape. I have no problem with nuclear power. I grew up around several such plants and my father worked security at one for several years. The problem is that you and I are the exceptions, not the rule. The general population has a NIMBY mentality and is not likely to change any time soon.


    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    Where we differ, I suppose, is that I would support the government building and running it, if necessary.
    As for the grid becoming government run.... We just had a hurricane here in New England that took a week to get everyone back online. If this was a government operation we'd STILL have people without power another week later. We may be inefficient and poorly run now, but a government takeover of the grid would be among the worst things that could happen to this industry.

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    Re: 2 Million Without Power in the Southwest

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigger View Post
    Very true.



    It's not new construction that's the problem. It's the older homes and buildings. Especially in the Northeast where many of our buildings still date from the 18th and 19th centuries and are still in use today.

    Micro-generation comes with a couple of concerns for me. The first is a practicality issue.... how much are people going to spend compared to how much they get back out of it.

    The second is a safety issue.... The last thing an electric worker wants to hear when he/she drives into an area with an outage is a generator. At least those can be heard. These new micro-generation systems may not be audible from the street. "So What?" you say.... well an improperly installed generator (as probably 70% of them are), can backfeed into the electrical grid and cause a potential hazard to that worker as they try to restore power.
    To your first question, solar is at about 7 years payoff for a grid tied system that has at least a 20 year effective life. Micro-hydro and small wind are much less. But require adequate wind or access to year round running water.

    As to safety, the grid tied system my friends are going to get later this year includes a mandated grid cutout in case of a blackout, to prevent backfeed. Electrical worker safety IS a major concern in regards to distributed generation, but its not a reason to fight it as electrical generation companies have.
    Anyone wondering what I'm talking about start here:
    The Psychology of Persuasion

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    Re: 2 Million Without Power in the Southwest

    Quote Originally Posted by What if...? View Post
    As to safety, the grid tied system my friends are going to get later this year includes a mandated grid cutout in case of a blackout, to prevent backfeed. Electrical worker safety IS a major concern in regards to distributed generation, but its not a reason to fight it as electrical generation companies have.
    Except that in way too many cases we (the electric company) find that people have installed these generators and things without providing the proper notifications to us and do not have the proper interconnections (the cutout you mentioned). Additionally, depending on the size of the generation, there may be items on our side of the interconnection that we require, and which the customer is required to pay for.

    Obviously we're talking a different scale, but when the wind turbine went up in Worcester, MA a couple years ago they paid over $1,000,000 of interconnection fees in order for us to do the upgrades necessary to interconnect with that turbine. I would guess that a small generator who wants to get the benefits of selling power back into the grid is going to be looking at somewhere between $20-50,000 of interconnection costs that THEY will have to eat.

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