• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

What would happen if:

mariomike

Army.ca Legend
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
115
Points
780
I suspect that the ramifications of a more widespread power event would be catastrophic, even here in Canada (goodbye Toronto and Montreal).
Probably something like this,

I remember during the Toronto blackout of 2003 climbing over 20 flights of stairs to carry people down to the street from high-rises.

The only real sure thing in this town is that the firemen come when you pull down the handle on that red box.
 

Weinie

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
406
Points
980
Probably something like this,

I remember during the Toronto blackout of 2003 climbing over 20 flights of stairs to carry people down to the street from high-rises.

The only real sure thing in this town is that the firemen come when you pull down the handle on that red box.
I am referring here to a much more catastrophic event, where Baba Wawa or her contemporary is not able to go on the news in a few days and report on a localized event. Think global.

Firemen are useless when you don't have heat, food , and water. I suspect that within 30 days, anarchy would ensue. The basic survival skills of many Canadians are negligible; as well, the vast majority of people do not have a basic stockpile of food/wood/water to get them through an event like this, even in the summer months.

Many northern Canadian communities would survive, there is an abundance of natural resources that they could rely on. But they would have to adopt a "Walking Dead" approach to outsiders.
 

mariomike

Army.ca Legend
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
115
Points
780
, the vast majority of people do not have a basic stockpile of food/wood/water to get them through an event like this, even in the summer months.
People who "do not have a basic stockpile of food/wood/water", better have a basic stockpile of guns and ammo to acquire it. ;)

I'd probably head for my kid sister's ranch in Northern Alberta.

Think global.

The Doomsday scenario you describe sounds futuristic. I don't care as I likely will have kicked the bucket by then.
 

Weinie

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
406
Points
980
The Doomsday scenario you describe sounds futuristic. I don't care as I likely will have kicked the bucket by then.
As I type this, events are futuristic.

Did you even read the article?

These events have already happened, albeit not in the current context or scale (yet), where they pose a calamitous threat.

My supposition is: What would happen if:
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
350
Points
880
Nothing will happen to reduce the impacts, because it's unlikely to happen in the current government term, therefore "Not my problem" and "What spend money on something I can't win votes for?"
 

Weinie

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
406
Points
980
Nothing will happen to reduce the impacts, because it's unlikely to happen in the current government term, therefore "Not my problem" and "What spend money on something I can't win votes for?"
I was actually trying to spark some discussion about the current capacity of Canadians to deal with a real national (potentially global) crisis, notwithstanding the politics of any government in situ, because that won't really matter.
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
350
Points
880
BC has quite a few Independent Power Producers. (small hydro) So it's likley power will be restored to local areas and slowly expand. By protecting vital points, they can reduce the down time
 

Weinie

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
406
Points
980
BC has quite a few Independent Power Producers. (small hydro) So it's likley power will be restored to local areas and slowly expand. By protecting vital points, they can reduce the down time
That is cool. Almonte, Ontario, which I drive though regularly, has some capacity as well. But the scenario posited supposes that catastrophic damage has been done to the transmission infrastructure itself, not the generating capacity.
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
350
Points
880
The IPP's will require shorter runs to local communities. Also I not sure exactly how it will damage modern transmission lines, it could be that the lines remain capable, but the switching gear, transformers are zapped. The devil is in the details.
 

Blackadder1916

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
129
Points
680
We have all seen what has been happening in Texas. I suspect that the ramifications of a more widespread power event would be catastrophic, even here in Canada (goodbye Toronto and Montreal).

The link below is dated, and perhaps a bit biased, but is a good start for discussion.

https://www.powermag.com/expect-death-if-pulse-event-hits-power-grid/

Texas, it's like a whole other country! Borrowing the state's tourism slogan partially explains why their power system crapped out. The Texas power grid is mostly separate from the rest of North America, though they are able to tie-in and purchase power from other systems but it is not an automatic system. The reason for that is mainly political not technical; by not crossing state lines they are not generally subject to federal regulation. and there is a certain mindset down there about not having to listen to the Federal government. So when the weather "temporarily" reaches record lows, in-state power generation is unable to meet demand. The other southern states being hit by winter don't seem to have the same electrical problems.

I spent some time in Texas (Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio) a few decades ago and arrived there in December after driving down from Ottawa. While I left behind lots of snow and cold (and lots, lots more in upstate New York), I was amused during my drive listening to some of the weather warnings south of the Mason-Dixon that seemed to proclaim shut-downs of roads, schools and other services. I particularly remember driving through Nashville amid radio reports of snow and dangerous road conditions; I'm still wondering where that snow was. When I got to Fort Sam, a common complaint I heard was about the number of engine blocks that had cracked due to freezing. I'm not saying that they are overstating the seriousness of their current predicament, however my experience is that Texans don't know real winter and of course haven't prepared for it. Yes, they are being hit by extreme weather that they are unprepared for, but it's not the end of the world. It'll warm up and the power will (slowly) come back on line.

So too would a similar situation in Canada resolve. We probably have a better electrical system in most of Canada. On the few occasions that major parts of the country had extended power interruptions (ice storms, hurricanes, blackouts, etc) we always recovered and civil society didn't break down. The scenario proposed by the dated link supposes all electrical grids and all other forms of energy generation are simultaneously stopped; a bit far-fetched.
 

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Myth
Reaction score
851
Points
910
FWIW...

Forget winter, how about those Cyber Attacks? I thought this was a particularly well written document, if you haven't seen it yet. I assume some on this forum might have written parts of it!:

Threats to Canada’s Critical Infrastructure

Purpose

The purpose of this paper on Threats to Canada’s Critical Infrastructure is to provide a taxonomy of the natural, accidental and malicious threats that have been identified as those most likely to impact upon Canada’s national critical infrastructure. The paper will aim to provide informed forecasting for the relative probability of these threats and hazards.

Audience
This report is primarily intended to provide owners and operators of Canadian critical infrastructure (CI) with baseline information regarding potential threats to their networks and systems. Owners and operators are the acknowledged experts with regard to the vulnerabilities they confront, but many have indicated that there is a lack of credible information regarding threats. Emergency managers in the public and private sectors could also employ this report to enhance their understanding of the variety of threats and hazards which the Government of Canada is addressing. Finally, policy makers at all levels of government may use the paper as a jumping-off point to examine threats and vulnerabilities in CI sectors within their constituencies.

 

lenaitch

Full Member
Reaction score
93
Points
430
The problem posed by the OP's link are about either naturally or artificially created high-energy electromagnetic pulses. Under normal circumstances, generators and the grid can protect themselves and 'unhook' before they become destabilized in terms of generation vs. load (assuming they work as advertised - AKA the northeast blackout of '03). Generators such as hydro, fossil fuel, wind and solar can power down quite quickly; with nuclear it is a process. The switching, transforming and protection equipment is often costly and not usually available off the shelf. A small, nefarious, EMP would unlikely cause widespread difficultly; however, a large-scale one like a solar storm or nuclear device would likely cause widespread and long term disruption because, as the link says, they're not designed to shunt virtually instantaneous large induced current spikes to ground. A local operator could possibly power a local area independent of a function grid, but most of their switching equipment is designed to 'power up' to grid voltages. Large population centres would be well and truly screwed. How well we managed it would vary, be clearly the economy would be seriously disrupted.
 

Weinie

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
406
Points
980
The problem posed by the OP's link are about either naturally or artificially created high-energy electromagnetic pulses. Under normal circumstances, generators and the grid can protect themselves and 'unhook' before they become destabilized in terms of generation vs. load (assuming they work as advertised - AKA the northeast blackout of '03). Generators such as hydro, fossil fuel, wind and solar can power down quite quickly; with nuclear it is a process. The switching, transforming and protection equipment is often costly and not usually available off the shelf. A small, nefarious, EMP would unlikely cause widespread difficultly; however, a large-scale one like a solar storm or nuclear device would likely cause widespread and long term disruption because, as the link says, they're not designed to shunt virtually instantaneous large induced current spikes to ground. A local operator could possibly power a local area independent of a function grid, but most of their switching equipment is designed to 'power up' to grid voltages. Large population centres would be well and truly screwed. How well we managed it would vary, be clearly the economy would be seriously disrupted.
Thanks lenaitch, you see what I am getting at. Without electricity, and the myriad of things that it supports, chaos would likely ensue.
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
350
Points
880
The major threats to economy right now are:

large Solar Flare
cyberwarfare

The overarching threats to civilization are
Asteroid impact
unaccounted for rapid effects related to our poles flipping.

Preparing for each has it's challenges, but there are both over laps and unique components.
 

lenaitch

Full Member
Reaction score
93
Points
430
Thanks lenaitch, you see what I am getting at. Without electricity, and the myriad of things that it supports, chaos would likely ensue.

The n/e blackout, ice storm of '98 and the current situation were instructive relatively small scale examples. The blackout, while widespread, had the advantage of being in the summer and, for most people only lasted a day or two. The ice storm, beyond the infrastructure damage to the utilities themselves, proved particularly difficult, for example, large dairy operations. Even institutions that had installed backup power found that they weren't really set up for protracted use (fuel, overheating, etc.). The Texas situation is a lesson is grid robustness and oversight. They are their own grid with non-automatic inter-ties and a lot of corporate ownership. On another diy site I haunt, people are scrambling with freezing pipes and private water companies simply shutting down. Neighbouring states, that experienced the same weather, have had problems but not near to the same extent.

I'd likely be as screwed as the next guy. I have a generator but I don't believe it would run my new high-tech furnace. Even if it did, I have only a few days of fuel. Once the food runs out, the dogs would be in trouble.
 

TangoTwoBravo

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
36
Points
530
What would any modern society do with a 30 day blackout in winter? Why not ask what would we do with an asteroid strike? It would be catastrophic regardless of what preparations individuals made.
 

Fishbone Jones

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
74
Points
530
I got a wood stove in the garage and lots of wood. I have two generators and about to pick up a third. I have a ten foot fence around my yard and wire for the top, when the law doesn't matter anymore. Guns, ammo, reloading presses and supplies. IMPS in the attic. A still for making fuel. I think I'm good. Oh, and lots of squirrels around for protien.🙂
 

NavyShooter

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Reaction score
78
Points
530
There's a guy who wrote about about a theoretical EMP attack against North America.


Interesting....backups are good in the short term, but very inefficient. I have a 10Kw Genset for my house, but it burns 14 gallons of gas a day, running 24/7 at 50% load.

I have enough gas to run it for 3 days steady, but, if I spread it out and run 50% of the time could get 6 days.

Is the solution to have more gas, or more alternate power? (I have a small solar panel setup as well, but that's TINY compared to the needs of a house.)

If the grid goes down short term (highly realistic in my experience) because of storm/weather/etc, I can get by for about a week. If the grid goes down for a month....or more....I don't think anyone will be in a good place.
 
Top