blackout

David Walters dwalters at igc.org
Sat Aug 16 20:30:16 MDT 2003


Les, Interessting article from Power Engineering. It's sort of the
bible around the power plants when people want some reading material.

	The data provided, very honestly in fact, was prior to the crash in
the energy business, prior to the Enron debacle, and prior the
reletively better understanding of what deregulation means.

	I wrote a small piece on the technical aspect of the black out. I
wanted to make only a few small points about that.

	1. The power plants did everything correctly (including the nukes).
	2. The Grid did everything incorrectly.

	Power plants are supposed to trip off line when the voltage drops (the
lights dim). This protects the generators. Why? 'cuz the 'load' out in
the system is going to 'want' the power it needs to run and it will
'get' the power...but drawing more ampres at the expense of
voltage...which heats up the windings in the generator. Most equipment
in you house is protected forms of surge protecors for voltage spikes
upward...but not amps except for the little breaker switches in that
panel in your basement...hopefully they've been tested and will work :)

	The transmission grid trips off line too for the same reasons. But,
the computerized protection of the grid and generators are supposed to
isolate FIRST, sections of the grid that are reliable, creating
"islands of power" from which to restore the rest of the system. At our
plant we get classes from the Cal-ISO on how this is supposed to work.
Anyway, this didn't happen. And it didn't happen because as the article
in Power Engineering stated, the privateers AND the regulated private
utitlities have purposely not  invested in the new computer
technologies to deal with extreme power loses to the grid.

	On Thursday, the fact that ONE power plant may of been responsible for
the system crash is bullshit. There was a two hour time period between
the time that plant tripped and around 6 others in Ohio and Penn and
the crash itself.  There was plenty of time for either system
operator(s) or computer to initiate rolling blackouts and load shedding
to occur. So something is seriouisly wrong with both the technology and
the operator/system protocols in place...even without the needed
investment in new infrastructure. There was more than enough power and
more than enough transmission on this particular day to take care of
the problem that occured.

	This brings me to the Counter Punch articles from the link Louis
posted. Don't waste your time. If Mark Jones were around today even he
would send off invective toward these guys. One articles states that if
a 600 MWs "solar" power plant was built before California's energy
crisis in 2000, then the crisis would of been averted! What tripe! They
don't get that the "energy crisis" was completely man made...it's sort
of like the authors woke up after a 2 year coma...and didn't know about
Enron, et al...

	The other article talks about "Nuclear Unusual Occurances". I am as
anti-Nuke as anyone, but this guy writes on Counter Punch, actually he
posts on Counter Punch the publically available log of the region's
nuclear plant operations...only to prove that all the nukes that
tripped off line did exactly what they were supposed to. What IS the
point of posting "control rods inserted, all A-OK"? Is it supposed to
scare us? Geezzz!

	Hopefully the Left will get their energy act in gear and come up with
a good analysis of this black out.

	David




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