Thursday, September 22, 2016

When Power Grids Fail

We lost electricity for an hour this morning after a night of relatively heavy rain.

I heated water from the gravity filter on the gas stove, grateful for a cuppa, and sat ruminating what-if's... 

Businesses not able to use their credit/debit card or barcode systems, gas/petrol stations and all-electric kitchens inoperable, ATM's down, well pumps dead in the water, government and financial markets offline, etc.

I had just read about 3.5 million people in tropical Puerto Rico suddenly without "power" when our small outage event happened locally:

A friend in the Deep South sends report about (voluntarily) curtailing errands and appointments. A pipeline mishap is affecting a large swath of the happy-motoring US. Many gasoline/petrol stations sport long lines, and then nothing to offer.
Are we ready for malfunction? No. Though many folks in brilliant Rocky Mountain light are living offgrid. The local electric co. is constructing photovoltaic arrays.

Am not competent to write about small-scale solar power, having never managed a system, but it's on my mind, our utter dependence on powergrid infrastructure, and hence our vulnerability.

If we have entered a period of increased volcanism and occluding dust in the astmosphere, as in the "Year without Summer", what then? 

Do we enter the radical societal change of oopsie population-reduction? The wish list of the Georgia Guidestones may sound noble till you ponder item #1:

Can we count on the government which botched Hurricane Katrina relief?

Or a so-called charitable foundation which stole billions, Billions of dollars of contributions from quake-ravaged Haiti? A foundation protected from indictment by apparently many complicit power-mongers?

Down-home, what to do? 

Will we look back on systems-malfunction as an opportunity?... 

A growing-up from this interlude of Great Depression2 unemployment, homeless encampments, food banks, un-funded entitlements, and gated communities against the hordes? 

We may, and many of us all over the world are traversing angst toward solution-thinking. A rosier picture certainly than doom-porn

But as a current events' reality-check, do we instead riot and steal flat screen TV's and i-pods?

Good luck on eating or keeping warm with show-off gadgets if the grid goes down.

Leaders will emerge from these decades of greedster wrong-turns, our debacle-in-the-making, and some will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Millennials.

The school-dropouts and diploma-no-jobs generation will be forced to ingenuity as entrepreneurs. Any transition to common sense may get "fugly," however.

Something beyond drug-dealing, living with aging parents, or working three minimum-wage jobs and camping in a van.

Will greedsters try to barricade their life at the trough, and lash out?

Those of us currently alive are entering monstrous change, and of necessity, a return to local self-sufficiency.

Wealth will be re-imagined, after seismic shocks... Inner cities with near zero self-sufficiency are especially concerning. 

Urban community gardens stand as harbinger of actual hope and change, but as of now, it ain't enough.

Here's to good neighbors, good books, local food production, firewood, strong legs and bicycles...

And repercussions coming to those who've milked dying systems, like cobra fangs into their own bottomless pits.

Michael Krieger

1 comment:

  1. Am fortunate in my friends, inc. the following input from a high level engineer and altnews webmaster.

    In the trader world "follow the money" often yields info. Note his last paragraph:

    "What they would like us to think in Puerto-Rico is that the overload went all the way back, cascading higher in amperage back to the main generating equipment until everything was shorted out. In a major system like P-R there are obviously many possibilities for failure, and also for intentional damage.

    Recall in California some terrorists shut down a major part of the US grid by taking shots at transformers. When you have two different voltages in a transformer with a ratio of probably 10:1 if you can link the two voltages you are able to overload some system and cause a break. Quite a few possibilities exist for total failure right up to wires burning out leading to the sort of warning that says, “stay in your car until fixed or rescued”

    "Obviously an on site investigation could give a cause and I find the photographs of the fire available on the web interesting as the fire covers a few hundred square feet at ground level with some flames running up vertical structures. If maintenance has been compromised, and they admit it was could that fire have been burning transformer oil? It should NOT have been there but who knows? Was it PCB oil that particularly should not have been there?

    "Just to consider another possibility for the fire, P-R owes about $70 Billion to the (US) bond market and this month defaulted on $2 Billion that was due, a piddling part of the $70 Billion but which sets a marker."


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