China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

waynefromnscanada
waynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
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  • peakbagger
    peakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    Contrary to popular belief the grid is not one seamless system. Its a series of regional grids that are further composed of smaller circuits and these circuits are fed by numerous power plants. Every step of the chain has isolation breakers with local logic that will knock break the grid connection if the power conditions on either side of the isolation breakers are not to spec. There are digital control systems that are supervisory and have some remote control of the overall grid and its connections but this doesn't override the local protection which is generally either a hard wired relay system of a locally programmed device that may or may not be remotely accessible. Basically the grid is set up to fail if someone screws with it.

    Worse case is a big blackout and then the smaller subgrids are isolated and started up. Some generation may be lost or damaged and some transmission lines may be tripped but its a pretty robust system which unfortunately is being asked to do things it wasn't designed for. A lot of the hype you see in the news is funded by a very large industry that is going to make a lot of money upgrading the grid and a news industry that is desperate for eyeballs 24/7. Yes this does need to happen and yes there is potentially a vulnerability from outside hackers that need to be addressed but the likelihood of societal collapse is low.
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    We have had some very large grid failures in the past, mostly due to end uses overloading it.

    The world hasn't come to an end yet, because they get the power back on in a hurry.

    Too many people make too much money from the electric grid to let it fail catastrophically, regardless of the cause.

    I shall ask Dr. Stott about this and see what he says. He needs a good laugh.
  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    I am somewhere in between , I still remember that cascading outage that started in a small part of the system and took out a large part of the NE states and into Canada, and once they identified the issue it got fixed. Problem I see is that there was nothing said about the root cause (ala Coots comment) and what they did about it... Not much I suppose as each of those 'old' systems are not centrally managed/controlled... I think it's a crap shoot.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
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  • techntrek
    techntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    The bigger problem to worry about when it comes to grid stability, is a massive solar storm. Earth narrowly missed an event larger than the Carrington Event from the 1800's, just two years ago in July, 2012. A "perfect storm" of events (pun intended) over several days laid the groundwork for a massive flare that would have hit Earth if it had happened a week earlier.

    A physicist has calculated the odds of a massive solar storm hitting Earth at 12% over any 10 year period.

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/23jul_superstorm/
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • zoneblue
    zoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    According to CHris Martenson the US power grid is an old school overly centralised design, and vulnerable to attack.

    "The FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) released a report that suggested the US power grid could be knocked out for "weeks if not months" by taking out only 9 substations using a coordinated kinetic attack."

    "The alternative to this mass of interconnected wires would be a decentralized, smart grid involving a very large number of small generating 'stations' where thousands of failures would be required to cause a sustained loss of power for millions."

    http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/86200/electrical-grid-may-well-next-wars-battlefield
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    And yet this grid which has been largely unchanged in over 50 years has only fallen victim to its own lack of upgrades and repeated over-loading by end users.

    So far solar events and terrorist attacks have utterly failed to play a role in outages. Nor have any of them been long-term or particularly devastating to society.

    I can't imagine the Chinese would want to bring down the power for their #1 customers; who'd buy all their junk then? Or maybe it's a secret marketing plan to con people into purchasing back-up power systems made in China?
  • KenZ71
    KenZ71 Solar Expert Posts: 58 ✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?
    And yet this grid which has been largely unchanged in over 50 years has only fallen victim to its own lack of upgrades and repeated over-loading by end users.

    So far solar events and terrorist attacks have utterly failed to play a role in outages. Nor have any of them been long-term or particularly devastating to society.

    I can't imagine the Chinese would want to bring down the power for their #1 customers; who'd buy all their junk then? Or maybe it's a secret marketing plan to con people into purchasing back-up power systems made in China?

    Bingo! We buy more of their junk, get dependant on it then when needed most it fails leaving us helpless.
  • solarix
    solarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    I would say that the volume of calls we get to put in off-grid solar is up ten-fold in the last year. And this is mostly from people that are on-grid now. I don't get nosy into their belief systems, but can only surmise that there are a lot of fears out there. I'm an independant cuss myself (I can put myself together a battery backed system within a few hours should the need arise), and can relate to these people - but really, I can't see the grid staying down for any length of time. What they should worry about is the gas stations going dry. That could happen and has happened before. If the world economic system breaks down, so does the transportation system. Then what you gonna do? Got electric car?
    Yes, we live on top of a house of cards. The train wreck is baked into the cake. Solar electricity is one bright spot in the gloom, but how much longer the four winds of the apocalyse will be held back is not for us to know. Who knows what the trigger will be? China? Middle East, Saudi Arabia? Loss of dollar hedgemony? Natural disaster?, Climatic disaster? Pandemic? False flag attack? Deflation? Depression? Inflation? War? Cyber war? ...
    Get ready, Get ready...... the Lord will come as a thief in the night, when you are not ready.
  • zoneblue
    zoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,220 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?
    And yet this grid which has been largely unchanged in over 50 years has only fallen victim to its own lack of upgrades and repeated over-loading by end users.

    So far solar events and terrorist attacks have utterly failed to play a role in outages. Nor have any of them been long-term or particularly devastating to society.

    Baby boomers tend not to get that we live in changing times, having lived through a long stable oil derived prosperity. With oil peaking and many other important mineral resources peaking, who can really say what will happen next. So for me, im with Chris on that, the next 20 years will be quite unlike the last 20.
    I can't imagine the Chinese would want to bring down the power for their #1 customers; who'd buy all their junk then? Or maybe it's a secret marketing plan to con people into purchasing back-up power systems made in China?

    Quite!
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,001 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    I see it much as Zoneblue, we've prospered on the cheap energy source, we'll likely turn to dirtier sources to maintain the economy. Fracking and coal will become the norm. Food is largely measured in the cost of oil/energy to produce, process and move to market. I do think we'll have another 20 years of much the same as fracking becomes more efficient, oil will lull and stay near the same until we use more and more...

    I do think solar can help a bit, hope other energy production comes on line. fusion reactors could be a great source with minimal byproducts. I suspect if we can see a bright future it will be in that manner rather than other sources of 'clean' energy. 20 years will be about my last sight of where we're at... I can hope, but I'll try to prepare for the worse.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.
  • oil pan 4
    oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 767 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    I guarantee we will switch to dirtier energy with no added nuclear power capacity coming online.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    There was a recent post about Japan starting up their Nuc power plants as they could not afford to use oil for the majority of their power. change of Gov. = change of priorities for them.... Anyone read up on thorium reactors http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium-based_nuclear_power
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,402 admin
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    Yes, dirtier energy in support of clean energy. Germany going green in 2000, and shutting down traditional nuclear power plants starting in 2011-2012 or so, you get:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/03/14/germanys-green-energy-disaster-a-cautionary-tale-for-world-leaders/
    Because renewable power sources have been so unreliable, Germany has been forced to construct numerous new coal plants in an effort to replace the nuclear energy it has taken offline. In fact the country will build more coal-fired facilities this year than at any time in the past two decades – bringing an estimated 5,300 megawatts of new capacity online. Most of these facilities will burn lignite, too, which is strip-mined and emits nearly 30 percent more carbon dioxide than hard coal.
    In other words Germany is dirtying the planet in the name of clean energy – and sticking its citizens with an ever-escalating tab so it can subsidize an energy source which will never generate sufficient power.
    This is the cautionary tale of command energy economics – one other nations would be wise to heed.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • oil pan 4
    oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 767 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    The alternative to nuclear is coal...
    Now that's going green.
    Just goes to show they are a lot more afraid of nuclear then they are worried about man made up global warming.

    Thorium is pretty cool nuclear technology but on one cares. The general public believes all nuclear fission is pure evil.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • nsaspook
    nsaspook Solar Expert Posts: 396 ✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    There is an alternative fuel ready today. :blush:
    Attachment not found.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,402 admin
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    Some information about the Geneco company in the UK and their natural gas/methane powered bus:

    http://www.geneco.uk.com/About-Us/News.aspx?ID=14

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • techntrek
    techntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?
    ...
    So far solar events and terrorist attacks have utterly failed to play a role in outages. Nor have any of them been long-term or particularly devastating to society...

    Yet NASA has proved a solar flare WILL take down the grid, very likely in our lifetime. The big flares happen, and our grid is full of 100-mile long antennas that will pick up the ground currents from those flares, blowing out the biggest transformers that are impossible to replace short-term. The info is right there in the link I posted.

    Terrorists have attacked the same substation in California (I think it was in CA) twice, as a test. If they took out multiples at one time, we would have a problem.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • oil pan 4
    oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 767 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    Biogas burns kind of dirty. Has any one here actually used it?
    Well I work with boilers that do. The biogas boiler has to be torn down and have the heat exchanger tubes every year. The pure natural gas boilers get cleaned every 4 or 5 years but not because they need it, its part of another inspection.
    Whats really bad is the biogas boiler doesn't burn straight bio gas. It runs a mixture of between 20% and 25% biogas and the rest is regular natural gas.
    They can run pure biogas because its too dirty and it might not even burn, depending on how much CO2 is in it.
    That cleaning schedule is more like that of a fuel oil boiler.
    techntrek wrote: »
    Terrorists have attacked the same substation in California (I think it was in CA) twice, as a test. If they took out multiples at one time, we would have a problem.

    Were these durka durka jihad type terrorists or west coast tree hugging eco terrorists with raging chlamydia?

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,402 admin
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    I don't believe that they caught the folks taking shots at the power substation (at least so far).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • oil pan 4
    oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 767 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?
    BB. wrote: »
    I don't believe that they caught the folks taking shots at the power substation (at least so far).

    -Bill
    Oh they didn't catch them. That type of thing falls into the category of "any idiot with a firearm". Likely just stupid kids then (late teens, early 20s).
    My line mans book goes over some steps to avoid vandalism by firearm. You can protect regular transmission and sub transmission lines from "firearm vandalism" by using stronger, harder more expensive insulators but you cant apply that to everything found in a substation, it doesn't protect the individual conducting wires and doesn't protect oil filled transformers and switches.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • techntrek
    techntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?
    oil pan 4 wrote: »
    Oh they didn't catch them. That type of thing falls into the category of "any idiot with a firearm". Likely just stupid kids then (late teens, early 20s).....

    Hundreds of rounds from AK-47s. Pierced the transformers, destroying the windings.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,402 admin
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    We probably don't want to go too far down this road. Hate to give anyone (on the internet) any ideas.

    But there is a reason that some folks can have nice things, and others cannot.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • oil pan 4
    oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 767 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?
    techntrek wrote: »
    Hundreds of rounds from AK-47s. Pierced the transformers, destroying the windings.

    That's actually a good thing.
    It shows virtually no understanding of how the power grid as a whole or even how basic elements work. Their method is as advanced as shopping with a brick. They used an obscene amount of ammo to accomplish little.
    They are clearly looking for idiots.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • techntrek
    techntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?
    BB. wrote: »
    We probably don't want to go too far down this road. Hate to give anyone (on the internet) any ideas.

    But there is a reason that some folks can have nice things, and others cannot.

    -Bill

    It is all out there on the net already, detailed in dozens of articles.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,402 admin
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    I know. Just don't want to be another site.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • techntrek
    techntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?
    oil pan 4 wrote: »
    That's actually a good thing.
    It shows virtually no understanding of how the power grid as a whole or even how basic elements work. Their method is as advanced as shopping with a brick. They used an obscene amount of ammo to accomplish little.
    They are clearly looking for idiots.

    Severely incorrect again, you really need to read the articles that detail what happened. Here is the wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metcalf_sniper_attack

    The attack was described as "sophisticated" by the federal gov't, with multiple fiber optic cables cut (to prevent it from being reported by phone or automated alarm), team coordination, no fingerprints on the shells, and destruction of 17 transformers - all without having to enter the facility, which reduced their exposure. The substation was offline for weeks, and the local area was lucky that the system topography allowed the power to be routed through other substations. Take a few down at the same time and the lights would have been off for weeks.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • techntrek
    techntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?
    BB. wrote: »
    I know. Just don't want to be another site.

    -Bill

    Can't put the genie back in the bottle, unfortunately.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,402 admin
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    Yea. This was a second attack after they increase security and monitoring.

    Still was not caught as the attack was in progress.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?

    To be succinct, there were only about 100 rounds, not hundreds, fired from sniper rifles not AK47's... probably scoped riles like hunting style...
    http://tdworld.com/bet-you-haven039t-seen/pge-metcalf-substation-sniper-attack
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metcalf_sniper_attack
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • techntrek
    techntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: China could take down the power grid ?? How do we handle that?
    westbranch wrote: »
    To be succinct, there were only about 100 rounds, not hundreds, fired from sniper rifles not AK47's... probably scoped riles like hunting style...
    http://tdworld.com/bet-you-haven039t-seen/pge-metcalf-substation-sniper-attack
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metcalf_sniper_attack

    There is no mention of the rifle type in your first link, at least not in the text. Your second link (the same one I posted) specifically mentions AK-47s. So do the articles in the Washington Post, WSJ and multiple other sources. Earlier reports near the time of the attack stated it was in the hundreds of shots, more recent articles say it was just over 100.

    Doesn't matter what or how many, bottom line it was a coordinated attack as a test of the system and the attack techniques (not a bunch of drunk rednecks). It is just a matter of time until it is done wholesale.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is