Scientists Had Warned of Weak Power Grid

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the AnandTech community: where nearly half-a-million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.

BaliBabyDoc

Lifer
Jan 20, 2001
10,737
0
0
Upgrading the grid would decrease waste in transmission. I wont disagree that compact flouresent bulbs and programable thermostats is the short term solution.
The short term solutions that you grudgingly endorse pay dividends NOW and in the future. Upgrading the grid works just like adding a new lane (plus repaving) a highway that's already congested. By the time you finish . . . you've invested billions of dollars and several years (if not decades) in order to tread water.

Active solar construction (with local batteries for storage) for home electricity, heating homes through conductive flooring (plus passive solar), conservation through select appliances, intelligent construction, etc.

Every sanitary landfill should produce biomass energy. Every industrial farm should be capable of biomass energy. Both of these facilities are a blight on the land (in my state we have a lot of hog/poultry farms) . . . so why not plop a few windmills at these sites as well?

Research into more effective/efficient transmission is money well spent . . . stringing more transmission lines with current technology is a no win situation . . . unless of course you've got a government contract which guarantees a profit to build them.


Is it better to spend $10k to partially take a house of the grid, or to upgrade 5 old wasteful residential HVAC systems? I can tell you which will save more energy.
Odds are the person paying 10K to be partially off the grid is NOT the same one footing the bill to upgrade 5 wasteful residential HVACs . . . unless of course they happen to be slum lords. I hate to say it but maybe we should make it cost prohibitive to operate homes that waste loads of energy while "encouraging" energy efficient construction. I think people should be allowed to recoup capital costs over a reasonable interval (10 yrs) through energy efficiency and tax incentives . . . adjusted with a progressive tax bracket of course.
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
69,422
4,804
126
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: sandorski
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: BaliBabyDoc
Some would say a better solution is to invest in decentralized power production, conservation, energy efficiency, etc. The net effect is reduced consumption, regional/local/household energy redundancy, and a sustainable energy economy.
I would be interesting in how it would be possible to decentralize a city like new york with a very high population density....
Solar and wind. Wouldn't always provide all energy needed, but it would decrease dependence on power plants.
The roof space of a house in the burbs might make it off the grid. The roof of an apartment building solar would barely do anything.

Solar cells with 20% efficiency would require 17^2 meters to create 3kw. Solar is still in the future, wind is getting closer to today(would still require a grid).

Conservation and buildings producing their own power dont do anything to solve the real problem that exists. The grid needs to be modernized.
If you limit yourself to rooftops, yes high rise buildings would not work well, but if you used the sides of the building lots of electricity could be produced.
 

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
1
81
Originally posted by: BaliBabyDoc
Upgrading the grid would decrease waste in transmission. I wont disagree that compact flouresent bulbs and programable thermostats is the short term solution.
The short term solutions that you grudgingly endorse pay dividends NOW and in the future. Upgrading the grid works just like adding a new lane (plus repaving) a highway that's already congested. By the time you finish . . . you've invested billions of dollars and several years (if not decades) in order to tread water.

I openly accept these things, not drudgingly. I know they pay dividends now.
But from a practical point, the grid must have the capacity to power the entire population as solar and wind are not guaranteed in their energy production. The grid has to be there as most people want reliable power, even if they have made all practical efforts to be off the grid.




Active solar construction (with local batteries for storage) for home electricity, heating homes through conductive flooring (plus passive solar), conservation through select appliances, intelligent construction, etc.


This is where we differ. I put far more emphasis on energy savings that solar construction(at least till it gets cheaper).





Every sanitary landfill should produce biomass energy. Every industrial farm should be capable of biomass energy. Both of these facilities are a blight on the land (in my state we have a lot of hog/poultry farms) . . . so why not plop a few windmills at these sites as well?

I have no problems with biomass for energy. It seems like a resonable solution, but it just a matter of where you want your pollution.

Those windmills will be needing a grid;)





Research into more effective/efficient transmission is money well spent . . . stringing more transmission lines with current technology is a no win situation . . . unless of course you've got a government contract which guarantees a profit to build them.




There are already better ways to sending power today, it is just a matter of implementation.
Yes make it wide enough so it can carry todays and future loads. Someone has to build and someone is going to profit from it.




Is it better to spend $10k to partially take a house of the grid, or to upgrade 5 old wasteful residential HVAC systems? I can tell you which will save more energy.
Odds are the person paying 10K to be partially off the grid is NOT the same one footing the bill to upgrade 5 wasteful residential HVACs . . . unless of course they happen to be slum lords. I hate to say it but maybe we should make it cost prohibitive to operate homes that waste loads of energy while "encouraging" energy efficient construction. I think people should be allowed to recoup capital costs over a reasonable interval (10 yrs) through energy efficiency and tax incentives . . . adjusted with a progressive tax bracket of course.

This was an example of how money is better spent. A $2500 tax credit to replace a seer 6 hvac with a seer 12( or higher) does alot more to reduce power consumption than $2500 worth of solar cells. Typical payback on such an upgrade via energy saving is usually 8-10 years. With such a long payback time, many people just opt to run these units until they die before they get replaced.

Energy effecient construction is taking off quite nicely, quite a few builders are building very effecient houses in this area.




 

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
1
81
Originally posted by: sandorski
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: sandorski
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: BaliBabyDoc
Some would say a better solution is to invest in decentralized power production, conservation, energy efficiency, etc. The net effect is reduced consumption, regional/local/household energy redundancy, and a sustainable energy economy.
I would be interesting in how it would be possible to decentralize a city like new york with a very high population density....
Solar and wind. Wouldn't always provide all energy needed, but it would decrease dependence on power plants.
The roof space of a house in the burbs might make it off the grid. The roof of an apartment building solar would barely do anything.

Solar cells with 20% efficiency would require 17^2 meters to create 3kw. Solar is still in the future, wind is getting closer to today(would still require a grid).

Conservation and buildings producing their own power dont do anything to solve the real problem that exists. The grid needs to be modernized.
If you limit yourself to rooftops, yes high rise buildings would not work well, but if you used the sides of the building lots of electricity could be produced.
This sounds like it would an extremely expensive retrofit. Solar cells are even less effective when they do not get direct sunlight. The ones on rooftops at least have a chance of tracking the sun.
 

Crimson

Banned
Oct 11, 1999
3,809
0
0
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.. conserve, blah blah blah..

The power outage had nothing to do with conservation, and everything to do with an aging power grid. We need to upgrade our grid to support the energy requirements we have.. we shouldn't change our lives to fit out power grids capacity.

You lefties just hate technology don't you?

CONSERVE! You shout... from your SUV.
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
69,422
4,804
126
Originally posted by: Crimson
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.. conserve, blah blah blah..

The power outage had nothing to do with conservation, and everything to do with an aging power grid. We need to upgrade our grid to support the energy requirements we have.. we shouldn't change our lives to fit out power grids capacity.

You lefties just hate technology don't you?

CONSERVE! You shout... from your SUV.
You caught us. We hate technology so much, we recommend it.
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
69,422
4,804
126
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: sandorski
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: sandorski
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: BaliBabyDoc
Some would say a better solution is to invest in decentralized power production, conservation, energy efficiency, etc. The net effect is reduced consumption, regional/local/household energy redundancy, and a sustainable energy economy.
I would be interesting in how it would be possible to decentralize a city like new york with a very high population density....
Solar and wind. Wouldn't always provide all energy needed, but it would decrease dependence on power plants.
The roof space of a house in the burbs might make it off the grid. The roof of an apartment building solar would barely do anything.

Solar cells with 20% efficiency would require 17^2 meters to create 3kw. Solar is still in the future, wind is getting closer to today(would still require a grid).

Conservation and buildings producing their own power dont do anything to solve the real problem that exists. The grid needs to be modernized.
If you limit yourself to rooftops, yes high rise buildings would not work well, but if you used the sides of the building lots of electricity could be produced.
This sounds like it would an extremely expensive retrofit. Solar cells are even less effective when they do not get direct sunlight. The ones on rooftops at least have a chance of tracking the sun.
Effectiveness would vary from building to building, so plastering the sides wouldn't make sense, but most high rises have certain sides or areas which will get direct sunlight. Certainly, it wouldn't make a lot of sense to regulate a requirement into high rises(like you could do for homes), but the opportunity does exist.
 

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
1
81
Originally posted by: sandorski
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: sandorski
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: sandorski
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: BaliBabyDoc
Some would say a better solution is to invest in decentralized power production, conservation, energy efficiency, etc. The net effect is reduced consumption, regional/local/household energy redundancy, and a sustainable energy economy.
I would be interesting in how it would be possible to decentralize a city like new york with a very high population density....
Solar and wind. Wouldn't always provide all energy needed, but it would decrease dependence on power plants.
The roof space of a house in the burbs might make it off the grid. The roof of an apartment building solar would barely do anything.

Solar cells with 20% efficiency would require 17^2 meters to create 3kw. Solar is still in the future, wind is getting closer to today(would still require a grid).

Conservation and buildings producing their own power dont do anything to solve the real problem that exists. The grid needs to be modernized.
If you limit yourself to rooftops, yes high rise buildings would not work well, but if you used the sides of the building lots of electricity could be produced.
This sounds like it would an extremely expensive retrofit. Solar cells are even less effective when they do not get direct sunlight. The ones on rooftops at least have a chance of tracking the sun.
Effectiveness would vary from building to building, so plastering the sides wouldn't make sense, but most high rises have certain sides or areas which will get direct sunlight. Certainly, it wouldn't make a lot of sense to regulate a requirement into high rises(like you could do for homes), but the opportunity does exist.
But in the end, this does not seem like a financially resonable solution.
 

KenGr

Senior member
Aug 22, 2002
725
0
0
What will probably get lost in all the media frenzy over the latest story and the politicians rush to blame each other is the question of how much is it worth to upgrade the power grid and to what extent?

What some of the posts above don't seem to realize is that, in the US today, no one is responsible for having a reliable grid system. Several organizations attempt to improve the grid, but no entity, government or private, is legally responsible for the grid operation. So these outages are no ones "fault" in that the grid is not supposed to be 100% reliable. There will be analyses done and improvements will be made, but outages, large and small happen all the time. There is a certain economic cost associated with it but not enough to justify building a completely redundant, infinitely reliable system.

Why don't we already have a defined mission to create this new system? Why were there so few real disasters out of this event, just a lot of inconvenience? Because critical, life or death functions are backed up by local emergency power systems. Because outages will happen, no matter what.

jWe'll learn some things from this and probably fine tune the protective isolation systems within the grid, making this much less likely. But I hope we don't turn around and create some multi-billion dollar program for a problem that may not be that serious.

 

Macro2

Diamond Member
May 20, 2000
4,874
0
0
Kinda like 9/11, I guess we have to wait for catasrophic failure before we get off our fat asses and do anything about it.

No one to blame but the people. We like to suck cheap power. Had anyone said the people had to pay for a better grid, they would have turned it down.
 

mastertech01

Moderator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Nov 13, 1999
11,813
199
106
Ive lost power in my town for a week at a time from wind storms, and when I lived in Kansas City during ice storms etc. Poor people, lost their power for a day or two..

Scientists have been warning about earthquakes, Tornados, hurricanes for decades... Damned government hasnt stopped them from happening yet
 

Tripleshot

Elite Member
Jan 29, 2000
7,218
1
0
Nothing getsdoneuntil a crisis happens. Poor management gets swept under the rug, large demands for money insue, and then paltry repairs are made. Thisis an ongoing problem, managed in the same way most corporations manage. Corporations spend aslittleas pssible so as to maintain profits for their elite management staff, while politican dolts love the crisis to build in pork spending, OR ignore problems to show they are "conservative" tax savers.

Its all crap.;)
 

CaptnKirk

Lifer
Jul 25, 2002
10,053
0
71
Everything that we do is reactionary, there is no incentive to be proactive.

As Trips said "Nothing gets done until a crisis happens. Poor management gets swept under the rug,
large demands for money insue, and then paltry repairs are made. This is an ongoing problem,
managed in the same way most corporations manage.

Exactly why Government as 'Business" does not work.
You end up selling out to maximize the gain, financially or politically.
 

BarneyFife

Diamond Member
Aug 12, 2001
3,875
0
76
Originally posted by: mastertech01
Ive lost power in my town for a week at a time from wind storms, and when I lived in Kansas City during ice storms etc. Poor people, lost their power for a day or two..

Scientists have been warning about earthquakes, Tornados, hurricanes for decades... Damned government hasnt stopped them from happening yet
I hope you can see the difference between a storm and 50 mil people losing power on a sunny day.

 

mastertech01

Moderator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Nov 13, 1999
11,813
199
106
Originally posted by: BarneyFife
Originally posted by: mastertech01
Ive lost power in my town for a week at a time from wind storms, and when I lived in Kansas City during ice storms etc. Poor people, lost their power for a day or two..

Scientists have been warning about earthquakes, Tornados, hurricanes for decades... Damned government hasnt stopped them from happening yet
I hope you can see the difference between a storm and 50 mil people losing power on a sunny day.
Yep, its called lack of maintenance and going on the cheap on everything you do. Last I checked I dont pay my power bills to the Federal Government.

 

BarneyFife

Diamond Member
Aug 12, 2001
3,875
0
76
Originally posted by: mastertech01
Originally posted by: BarneyFife
Originally posted by: mastertech01
Ive lost power in my town for a week at a time from wind storms, and when I lived in Kansas City during ice storms etc. Poor people, lost their power for a day or two..

Scientists have been warning about earthquakes, Tornados, hurricanes for decades... Damned government hasnt stopped them from happening yet
I hope you can see the difference between a storm and 50 mil people losing power on a sunny day.
Yep, its called lack of maintenance and going on the cheap on everything you do. Last I checked I dont pay my power bills to the Federal Government.
The government can force the power companies to upgrade the system so that is where the government comes in. If you expect the power company to upgrade voluntarily then you are in for a wakeup call.

 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
69,422
4,804
126
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: sandorski
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: sandorski
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: sandorski
Originally posted by: charrison
Originally posted by: BaliBabyDoc
Some would say a better solution is to invest in decentralized power production, conservation, energy efficiency, etc. The net effect is reduced consumption, regional/local/household energy redundancy, and a sustainable energy economy.
I would be interesting in how it would be possible to decentralize a city like new york with a very high population density....
Solar and wind. Wouldn't always provide all energy needed, but it would decrease dependence on power plants.
The roof space of a house in the burbs might make it off the grid. The roof of an apartment building solar would barely do anything.

Solar cells with 20% efficiency would require 17^2 meters to create 3kw. Solar is still in the future, wind is getting closer to today(would still require a grid).

Conservation and buildings producing their own power dont do anything to solve the real problem that exists. The grid needs to be modernized.
If you limit yourself to rooftops, yes high rise buildings would not work well, but if you used the sides of the building lots of electricity could be produced.
This sounds like it would an extremely expensive retrofit. Solar cells are even less effective when they do not get direct sunlight. The ones on rooftops at least have a chance of tracking the sun.
Effectiveness would vary from building to building, so plastering the sides wouldn't make sense, but most high rises have certain sides or areas which will get direct sunlight. Certainly, it wouldn't make a lot of sense to regulate a requirement into high rises(like you could do for homes), but the opportunity does exist.
But in the end, this does not seem like a financially resonable solution.
I dunno if it would or not, I suspect it would though, over a long period of time.

Edit: The cost of Solar Cells, we should add, would decrease as time went on(Increased supply to meet demand, increased R&D, and more production capacity added). Alternative energy could be the next major economic engine, similar to how the PC was during the 1980's.

If Solar power doesn't make much sense on high rise buildings, Wind power probably would, especially in some cities like Chicago. It is my understanding that many high rise buildings actually take into count the stress of wind when being designed, as their height often puts them into flows of air that are uncommon closer to the ground.
 

MovingTarget

Diamond Member
Jun 22, 2003
8,994
100
106
Yes, we need to upgrade/modernize the system. We need to build more plants, upgrade existing ones, and work on the delivery system. Investing in solar/wind is a good way to augment our power systems, but i doubt they will become the major source of power within any of our lifetimes. That being said, why not pour more effort into researching fusion technology? Its how the sun itself produces energy, and from what i've heard, its much safer than conventional nuclear plants(because of longevity of radioactive waste and teh ability to shut down such a reaction). Not only that, we also have an abundance of fuel depending on which fusion reaction you are trying for (dueterium, light hydrogen, helium-3?) We can already produce controlled fusion to an extent, but the problem exists on how to effectively contain/control the plasma inside the reactors. Also, do any of you know where to get some info on how current research has progressed? Its been a while since i've seen it, so i'm prob a little behind the curve. I"d appreciate it.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY