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What would happen if:

Edward Campbell

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Some real engineers should weigh-in, but, as I understand it, from some limited reading in the past few days, the Texas power grid/system is poorly designed and has an unacceptably low RAMD (Reliability, Availablity, Maintainability, Durability) profile. Most, likely not all, North American and European power systems, including Canada's, are better designed ... or so I've read and so I hope.

There is nothing inherently wrong with 'renewables' as parts of a system IF one understands that they, by their very nature, are unreliable and, therefore, the system must be able to operate, reliably and at peak capacity, without them.

There are, I think, some real engineering challenges to "going green" and still powering a modern society, including:

1. Developing a reasonably compact, cheap, long-lasting battery to store renewable power;
2. Developing recyclable solar panels and windmill blades; and
3. Safely disposing of spent nuclear fuel.

But we built the pyramids and the Great Wall of China and went to the moon with less engineering skill and knowledge than we have now, so none of those challenges, is, in my opinion, beyond the wit of modern men and women.

Coal, oil and gas are finite, non-renewable (not quickly renewable) resources. So is uranium, for that matter, but its "energy density" is so high that we have thousands if not millions of years' worth of proven reserves here in Canada, alone. We should not want to dam up too many more rivers, should we, just to power our big-screen TVs? That indicates that 'renewables' should be part of our 21st-century power grids/systems, but they will be, for the foreseeable future (into the 22nd century?) an adjunct component, not the backbone.
 

daftandbarmy

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Some real engineers should weigh-in, but, as I understand it, from some limited reading in the past few days, the Texas power grid/system is poorly designed and has an unacceptably low RAMD (Reliability, Availablity, Maintainability, Durability) profile. Most, likely not all, North American and European power systems, including Canada's, are better designed ... or so I've read and so I hope.

There is nothing inherently wrong with 'renewables' as parts of a system IF one understands that they, by their very nature, are unreliable and, therefore, the system must be able to operate, reliably and at peak capacity, without them.

There are, I think, some real engineering challenges to "going green" and still powering a modern society, including:

1. Developing a reasonably compact, cheap, long-lasting battery to store renewable power;
2. Developing recyclable solar panels and windmill blades; and
3. Safely disposing of spent nuclear fuel.

But we built the pyramids and the Great Wall of China and went to the moon with less engineering skill and knowledge than we have now, so none of those challenges, is, in my opinion, beyond the wit of modern men and women.

Coal, oil and gas are finite, non-renewable (not quickly renewable) resources. So is uranium, for that matter, but its "energy density" is so high that we have thousands if not millions of years' worth of proven reserves here in Canada, alone. We should not want to dam up too many more rivers, should we, just to power our big-screen TVs? That indicates that 'renewables' should be part of our 21st-century power grids/systems, but they will be, for the foreseeable future (into the 22nd century?) an adjunct component, not the backbone.

Smart Coal: it's a thing:

Coal Plants of the Future​

At the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), cost-effectiveness of new technologies is a major priority—but so are efforts to bring existing coal plant technologies to market in the near-term (between the next three to five years) under its newly launched Transformative Power Generation Program. Echoing other coal technology advocates—such as the International Energy Agency’s IEA Clean Coal Center (CCC)—it envisions that coal power will need several critical attributes to compete in future markets:

High overall plant efficiency. Plants will need to achieve a heating value of 40% or higher at full load over most of the generation range. They must also minimize water consumption.

Smallness or modularity and be fast to build. Plants must be compact, modular, resilient, and flexible, and be no larger than 50 MW to 350 MW to minimize design, construction, and commissioning schedules.

Near-zero emissions. Future designs and retrofits should emit less carbon than natural gas power generation technology.

Highly flexible. Ramp rates and minimum loads must be compatible with 2050 estimates of renewable energy integration. They must also be able to integrate with thermal or other energy storage to mitigate inefficiencies and equipment damage, or be capable of firing other fuels, including natural gas and hydrogen. Additionally, they must be able to integrate with coal upgrading or other plant value streams, such as co-production.

Enhanced operations and maintenance. They must incorporate advanced monitoring and diagnostics to reduce downtime.

 

Colin Parkinson

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i worked with a group that wanted to build a modern coal plant near Murry River in BC, the coal would be dug out of the hillside and carried to the hopper, where it would be crushed and ground to a fine powder and then injected under pressure creating a very high heat and burn ration, with modern exhausts meeting the high standards of today. It would feed into the existing powerline 5 km away. It was cancelled due to a change in government policy.
To be fair most of BC coal is to high of quality to warrant burning for power, better for coking or making the charcoal filters the progressives love so much.
 

daftandbarmy

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i worked with a group that wanted to build a modern coal plant near Murry River in BC, the coal would be dug out of the hillside and carried to the hopper, where it would be crushed and ground to a fine powder and then injected under pressure creating a very high heat and burn ration, with modern exhausts meeting the high standards of today. It would feed into the existing powerline 5 km away. It was cancelled due to a change in government policy.
To be fair most of BC coal is to high of quality to warrant burning for power, better for coking or making the charcoal filters the progressives love so much.

China loves BC coal.... I wonder if we can claim some kind of payback from the world for everything they've made for the planet using our 'black diamonds'? ;)
 

HiTechComms

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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.
There is a good book series by Steven Konkoly: Alex Fletcher.. Really like the 5 books.

What would happen to Toronto and Montreal in a huge power outage.. Well I think a lot of people not in Ontario or Quebec would care and some may I say would be happy if it happened.

Maybe the paranoia in me but I have a bug out bag for my spouse and myself, have at least enough dried food and rations to last at least 2 months.
 

HiTechComms

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i worked with a group that wanted to build a modern coal plant near Murry River in BC, the coal would be dug out of the hillside and carried to the hopper, where it would be crushed and ground to a fine powder and then injected under pressure creating a very high heat and burn ration, with modern exhausts meeting the high standards of today. It would feed into the existing powerline 5 km away. It was cancelled due to a change in government policy.
To be fair most of BC coal is to high of quality to warrant burning for power, better for coking or making the charcoal filters the progressives love so much.
Well if we could just harvest the crap that comes out of progressives and have bio generators like they have in Europe we will be set!
 

mariomike

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Think global.
My bad. I was thinking local.

Survivalists and preppers, may find this five-page discussion of interest,

Survival and Prepping
I want to propose an idea for a new forum to the staff (and members) to see if it's a worth while effort.
5 pages.

( Not sure how to link it from the old site. But, the thread "Survival and Prepping" comes up in a search on this new site. )
 

Journeyman

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I read "goodbye Toronto and Montreal." That cheered me up enough that I didn't read further.
 

Colin Parkinson

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What we need is a group of politicians, senior Public Service management and Utilities Management that have a long term outlook to look at our infrastructure and identify what is the weaknesses that exist for each Province. Then catalogue them into easy, medium and hard fixes. Create a series of Standards that each Utility and strive for and be rewarded for reaching it. then for the short term thinkers, there is achievable and more immediate goal to fixate upon.
Old saying in the Infrastructure business; "If we do our job right, nobody notices".
 

LittleBlackDevil

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There is a good book series by Steven Konkoly: Alex Fletcher.. Really like the 5 books.

Looks like an interesting series, I may try at least the first one out.

On the topic of good book series on a "SHTF" sort of theme, both myself and my children all greatly enjoyed the series by William R. Forstchen about an EMP attack on the United States ... One Second After, One Year After, and The Final Day.

What would happen to Toronto and Montreal in a huge power outage.. Well I think a lot of people not in Ontario or Quebec would care and some may I say would be happy if it happened.

Couldn't happen to nicer people ...

That said, I think a lengthy power out could get ugly in places like that. To the average Canadian, "prepping" of any kind is tinfoil hat stuff. To even mention you do any prepping, you have to preface it with "I may be paranoid" or "I just like to be ready for anything" for people to not think you're completely nuts. I suspect that in big liberal cities like Toronto and Montreal, people have even less by way of preparation than others and unlike me here in my rural home, don't have wood burning stoves or other alternate forms of heat. They probably don't even have many extra blankets or candles.

It probably wouldn't become complete chaos though. I remember during the big blackout of 2003 and was pleasantly surprised that there wasn't an explosion of crime and civil unrest. Granted, it only lasted a day for most people and four days at worst. I think if it stretched on for weeks things would start getting pretty flaky as people get desperate and criminals see opportunity.

Maybe the paranoia in me but I have a bug out bag for my spouse and myself, have at least enough dried food and rations to last at least 2 months.

I don't think that's paranoia; just good sense IMO. I have a "get home bag" in case anything hits the fan while I'm at work, it will help ensure I am able to get home (about 40 km). Trying to build my way up to several months of storable food, but with a family of seven that's a lot of food. Add a little bit every month and it is (slowly) adding up.
 

LittleBlackDevil

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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/

You had me at "goodbye Toronto and Montreal" :sneaky:

Seriously, though, the article you posted matched with research I've done. My family are big fans of William R. Forstchen's books about an EMP attack on the US and he posited over 90% of the population of the USA dying in such circumstances, and that's in a scenario where it wasn't global and there were still other countries that could send some aid. It's also EMP where everything electronic is fried, not just the power grid going down.

Overall, I think his novels are convincing and well-researched and give a very realistic take on what could happen. Within a week they are having to shoot looters and a few months after that having pitched battles against roving barbarian mobs who are raping and murdering (eating) their way across the countryside.

We don't realize how intricate the systems are that deliver even our most basic supplies. A global power outage would get really ugly, really fast, IMO.

As I mentioned in a previous post the vast majority of people have no preparation at all, even for a minor disaster like an ice storm. Most people have only a few days worth of food in their house. Most people are wholly dependant on "Big Brother" and would not function well in a situation where the government essentially ceases to exist due to lack of communications.
 

mariomike

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What would happen to Toronto and Montreal in a huge power outage.
Only happened twice in Toronto during my lifetime. Don't remember much about the first, as I was only 11 years old. We lived in a rather secluded enclave of what was still officially a Village with our own Police Dept. So little traffic there were no sidewalks. Surrounded on three sides by a lake, a river and a pond. Hills and ravines. So, back then, same as now, what happened in the outside world was of little concern to us.

Sounds like some of you guys probably know Toronto better than I do, now.

But, I remember the second power outage very well.

Emergency power systems at Emergency Services Headquarters maintained communications and dispatch functions.

The Department of Emergency Services ( DES ) activated the Healthcare Divisional Operations Centre (H-DOC) and declared a divisional emergency once the scope of the blackout was known.

DES negotiated dangerous streets lacking lights and traffic signals, climbed multiple flights of stairs to access patients in apartment buildings, and carried patients down the stairs to the street.

Call Volumes were twice the normal levels in the first hours of the blackout and increased call levels for the next couple days.

We distributed portable generators and fuel to enable recharging of radio and defibrillator batteries in the service districts. We ensured adequate supplies of water were available for DES.

Our Community Medicine Paramedics issued two news releases during the blackout offering advice to residents on how to cope with the heat without air conditioning and asking the public to check on vulnerable citizens and help protect them from heat-related illnesses.

We activated Telecomm 1. Due to the high volume of calls, we did not respond to "stuck elevator" calls unless there was a confirmed patient.

DES was mandated to work 16 hours on, and 8 hours off for the duration. I slept at HQ.

The trunk portable radio and the paging system failed and the cellular phone system was intermittently interrupted.

Staff delivered portable generators and fuel to each Service District to assist in the charging of portable radios and defibrillator batteries within each District.

Our Emergency Power Unit (EPU) truck was deployed to Southlake Regional Hospital due to a failure of their back-up power system.

Our call volume increased by 100 per cent, compared to the week before.

Metro Police reported no spike in crime.

Whenever I read our prepper threads, I can't help remembering that John Goodman movie. :)
 

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HiTechComms

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Looks like an interesting series, I may try at least the first one out.

On the topic of good book series on a "SHTF" sort of theme, both myself and my children all greatly enjoyed the series by William R. Forstchen about an EMP attack on the United States ... One Second After, One Year After, and The Final Day.



Couldn't happen to nicer people ...

That said, I think a lengthy power out could get ugly in places like that. To the average Canadian, "prepping" of any kind is tinfoil hat stuff. To even mention you do any prepping, you have to preface it with "I may be paranoid" or "I just like to be ready for anything" for people to not think you're completely nuts. I suspect that in big liberal cities like Toronto and Montreal, people have even less by way of preparation than others and unlike me here in my rural home, don't have wood burning stoves or other alternate forms of heat. They probably don't even have many extra blankets or candles.

It probably wouldn't become complete chaos though. I remember during the big blackout of 2003 and was pleasantly surprised that there wasn't an explosion of crime and civil unrest. Granted, it only lasted a day for most people and four days at worst. I think if it stretched on for weeks things would start getting pretty flaky as people get desperate and criminals see opportunity.



I don't think that's paranoia; just good sense IMO. I have a "get home bag" in case anything hits the fan while I'm at work, it will help ensure I am able to get home (about 40 km). Trying to build my way up to several months of storable food, but with a family of seven that's a lot of food. Add a little bit every month and it is (slowly) adding up.
Oh if you like EMP attacks then you will enjoy the Alex Fletcher series. I read the first book and got the pack on audible for sale.

Well just because you are paranoid that doesn't mean they are not after you. But yes I agree that "excusing" paranoia for some common sense is very weird. Just like people say you have guns that must mean oh "I hope am not your enemy" Annoying.

I live in a small city but that doesn't mean I cannot take precautions.
 
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