Threats to Grid Infrastructure

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Dave Angelini
Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
It has been 10 years or so since we discussed the grid here, I think.... Not much has changed other than money that was suppose to go to hardening the Grid was used for other purposes. My guess is the Green deal. It is amusing to me that there is not any thought of hardening the Grid in Washington.

Last nights Coast to Coast AM had a great guest on who is actually doing something. More later but here are the show notes.

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Producer David Tice recently completed a documentary about the vulnerability of our power grid, entitled "Grid Down, Power Up" (view excerpt). In the first half, he discussed how government and industry have grown complacent about how the critical civilian infrastructure is vulnerable to attack from various forces. These threats include physical attacks (like the recent gunfire at two substations in North Carolina), cyber warfare, EMP attacks, and geomagnetic disturbances from a solar storm. Major solar storms, like 1859's Carrington Event, are predicted to happen every 100-150 years, he noted. The late Peter Pry of the EMP Taskforce warned of 'Blackout Wars' where adversaries might combine multiple forms of attack, he added.

While countries such as Iran and Israel have protected their infrastructure grids, why hasn't the United States? Tice blamed it on various factors including disorganization, ineptitude, fear of reimbursement on the money side, concern about putting in new technology that might disrupt the system, and a belief that nothing bad will happen or wanting to keep the status quo. He estimated that it would cost the US between $50-100 billion for protection of varying degrees. Lloyd's of London has concluded that a Carrington-type event is inevitable in our future, and the big problem will be replacing burned-out transformers. Tice also talked about water issues, and the devastation that might occur if municipal water systems were knocked offline.

"we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
   htps://offgridsolar1.com/
E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

Comments

  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 301 ✭✭✭
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    A big priority for me is where do I get fuel when the grid is down?  :o
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,004 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    In the end the reasoning is pretty simple. We have seen very little conflict within our country.

    Places like Iran and Israel seen conflict in everyday life. It's a blessing and a curse.
    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.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Most people do not care, also along with the ones we elect to protect us.

    A blessing and a curse also when the cost is small to get this protection, or to at least plan for it. Especially the millions who would die.

    Cheery thoughts !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8GdHPlDNIo
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    JRHill said:
    A big priority for me is where do I get fuel when the grid is down?  :o


    NV Energy Files Plan to Advance Nevada's Energy Independence




    Dear Valued Customer,

    The past several summers have shown that extreme, western region heatwaves are becoming the new normal. While NV Energy is prepared to deliver energy to our customers when temperatures are in the triple digits, this can’t always be said for other western states. California’s energy demand and regulatory changes they have implemented consistently put our summer reliability at risk by reducing the amount of energy available to other states across the west, including Nevada.

    Yesterday, we filed a plan with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada requesting their approval to advance Nevada’s energy independence by reducing our reliance on the open energy market by having more energy generation located in Nevada and increasing renewable energy development by using the great geothermal resources we have in our state.

    This plan will help ensure we have enough energy to meet high demand on hot summer days by adding Nevada-based energy generation and storage capacity to serve our customers and by making upgrades to our transmission system to accommodate more renewable energy. We are seeking approval for 140 megawatts of around-the-clock geothermal energy, which is enough energy to serve nearly 30,000 homes; a 200-megawatt battery energy storage system in northern Nevada; and 440 megawatts of highly efficient natural gas peaking units at the Silverhawk Generating Station outside of Las Vegas. These peaking units, which can generate enough energy to power nearly 85,000 customers at once, will only be used to maintain system reliability during times of intense energy demand. They will also provide the flexibility necessary to maximize the use of renewable energy and have the capability of running on hydrogen, a non-carbon fuel.

    Reliable power is essential to the lives of our customers and the economy, especially when temperatures reach triple digits. The plan we filed outlines the next steps to achieving our vision for Nevada’s energy independence - ensuring you have affordable power when you need it while meeting our state’s renewable and clean energy goals.

    Thank you for the opportunity to serve your energy needs.

    Sincerely,

    Doug Cannon
    NV Energy President and CEO

    This email was auto generated. Please do not reply.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Marc Kurth
    Marc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 1,146 ✭✭✭✭
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    We all know about "Murphy's Law" but on this particular subject, I feel that Murphy was an optimist. Some areas will get far uglier, far faster than most people realize.
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 301 ✭✭✭
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    Maybe yawl saw it on the news Switzerland is considering a prohibition of (more?) electric cars until their infrastructure can support them.

    Some sanity... if the news was for real.
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    I heard that also along with the Billions being doled out to Nevada for building batteries and recycling Lithium and the different metals in NMC types. 

    This is all good news to me as long as somebody in our government looks into hardening the grid as well as expanding it intelligently!

    My sister gets mad at me because I think that a hardened grid is more important (far more important) than her latest politics.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Marc Kurth
    Marc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 1,146 ✭✭✭✭
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    Between the six recent grid attacks in the Pacific Northwest and the North Carolina substations, it begins to sound like dry runs and probes to test responses. A coordinated group of people with basic deer rifles from Walmart and some cans of gasoline could turn us upside down.

    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 301 ✭✭✭
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    DW said she read of a preliminary investigation leans toward vandalism for the Kansas pipeline 'failure." To me, when I lived in the city, pushing snow out into the street was bad enough.
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    The first attack I remember was this one on April 16, 2013, an attack was carried out on Pacific Gas and Electric Company's Metcalf transmission substation in Coyote, California, near the border of San Jose.

    PG&E Offers $250K Reward for Info on Substation Attack


    PG + E still has a reward out on this unsolved high power rifle attack. You don't even nee cans of gasoline.....

    https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/pge-offers-250k-reward-for-info-on-substation-attack

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 301 ✭✭✭
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    There is a lot that can be done to build out and harden the grid but not much can be done to guard against a $2 bullet.

    Frankly, a stray round or ricochet during hunting season has always been a concern of mine. There are some absolute idiots out there who have no idea what's in the direction they are shooting. But when it comes to damage to infrastructure that's no accident.
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    More cheery thoughts on the grid and how vulnerable we are....


    Coast to Coast AM - Coast Insider
    Strengthening Infrastructure / Intention Experiments
    Play Show

    Hosted byGeorge Noory

    April 13, 2023

    About the show

    Historian, speaker, and author William R. Forstchen, Ph.D., shared updates on the ongoing campaign to bolster energy and communications infrastructure against EMP attack, asteroid strikes, and other disasters. The Biden-Harris administration announced a $13 billion energy initiative, with financing to modernize and expand America's power grid (funded by the passage of the Infrastructure bill). But Forstchen was critical of the announcement as many of the funds go to alternative and clean energy efforts. Only $11 million is designated for infrastructure improvements, and those are for cyber attacks and extreme weather events, rather than strengthening the grid for an EMP attack, he lamented.

    Forstchen estimates it will cost around $30-50 billion to harden about 10% of the US grid as a start so that it could resist a major attack. Then, that energy could be used as a "lifeline" to rebuild the system in the event of a disaster bringing down the rest of the grid. The biggest threat of an EMP attack on the US is probably from North Korea, he said, though Iran and third-world terrorist groups are also of concern. Because action by Congress seems stalled on grid hardening, he believes that individual states should pursue their own programs. South Carolina, in particular, has made progress in that regard, he reported. Forstchen also talked about his new novel, Five Years After, coming out this summer. It's a thriller set in the near-future in which the protagonist John Matherson must contend with new threats to the fragile civilization he helped rebuild.

    ---------------

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Marc Kurth
    Marc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 1,146 ✭✭✭✭
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    He is reinforcing what we have known for many years. Our vulnerability is nothing short of shameful.
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    One of the things Forstchen talked about on the show was how our "leadership across both parties" still thinks in the cold war mentality that there is a mutual assured destruction deterrent.

    That just is not the case anymore with crazy people like the ones in N Korea, Iran, and similar despots. Kim Jong Un in N Korea could wake up with brain cancer and decide to Let Fly 3 of his new solid fuel rockets and EMP the US. I doubt Dennis Rodman could help this time😉

    Hopefully we have some top secret way to stop this. It does not give alot of hope with 21 year old Air Force national guard guys having access to defense secrets.



    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 301 ✭✭✭
    edited April 2023 #17
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    For some years after beginning this off grid project I considered spares of the inverter and charge controller in a suitable protective containment. Worries of an EMP were minimal and lightning was about triple that worry which brought them to the Maybe, we'll see level. My real concern was just a plain 'ol failure due to fate. I never did act on spares and its probably a good thing:

    - I went with lithium a few years ago and upgraded my inverter so I had the built in LVCO needed for the SimpliPhis (without cobbling something for the purpose). If I had a spare of the original inverter, well, that's a problem.
    - Now, with the Phis that have their internal BMS, if an EMP or a lightning strike were to happen? That's a problem too. Would've been best to stay with lead if I was worried about an EMP. Unfilled FLA batteries but I've not seen a supplier that sells empty L16s.
    - Panels. I've not been convinced that the panels would survive. Or what % of them.
    - The Grundfos AC/DC well pump with all the power magic that it does. Its safe except for the power lines leading to it. That's a problem.

    So the time we spend watching Naked and Afraid has probably been useful  B) But we'll have clothes.
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • Marc Kurth
    Marc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 1,146 ✭✭✭✭
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    If things go the way that I fear they will, the survival of city/suburb people is doubtful. A deep and wide network of people with the required mindset is only a start.
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    When I was being raised in the early 1960's my Dad had his place for us to go. At the time duck and cover was still being taught in some schools. Living on the the ocean for a decade and 2 decades + offgrid, 30 minutes from a small town, we are past having the survival instinct to live during a major reset. If possible there is a lake and a hot spring east out into N. Nevada desert where we might go for a last sunset.

    The point about my Dad is that this subject is not new. As he hit his 70's he cared alot less about it and just enjoyed his time and grandkids. It just bugs me how much money is being wasted and how little it would take for our government to do something.

    When I did care alot about it offgrid, I had a couple spare inverters and one in a metal cage that might make it thru a pulse. The supply chain is still messed up and if you are offgrid you need spares. This winter I had a client wait 3 weeks for and Outback VFXR repair PCB.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Marc Kurth
    Marc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 1,146 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2023 #20
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    I designed my business to be portable so my decisions about where and how to live for the last 15 years have been heavily based on this issue. 
    Building a strong network with shared resources/skillsets with cohesive mindsets was the goal. Much, much more than food and water are needed to get through rough spots. It all depends on how deep and wide a crisis is, but additional longevity can most certainly be achieved with group structure and planning.

    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Ah come on Marc and admit it that you miss California ;)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Marc Kurth
    Marc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 1,146 ✭✭✭✭
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    Actually, I really do. But I miss the California of 40-60 years ago. Growing up there as an outdoorsman/hunter/backpacker and offroader, I have been to more far-flung parts of the state than most people will ever see. I lived in Northern Coastal, Central Coast, and Southern areas at different times of my life. The diverse natural beauty is beyond incredible. There is simply no other place that can match that.
    Things are different now and many people do not realize just how much deeper the cultural differences between coastal city and rural have become. I really like living around people "who have my back."  Terms like "no sir", "yes ma'am" and "I appreciate you" are standard salutations from anyone and everyone from teens to elders. Around here, when someone acts rudely, they may get asked if they are from California.
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 301 ✭✭✭
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    At a meeting in the Bay area I addressed my boss' boss as Mam. She growled at me and said to never say that again to her. That was 15 years ago. Darned if I didn't do it again purely by habit and respect before the meeting was over. I had a target on my back after that. Too bad. She was a pretty lady and smart. It's hard to unlearn a lifetime of curtsies. But my gosh did she have a chip on her shoulder. She would probably punch out her significant other for opening a door for her.
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    I miss the people! They are all dead now or have left. Just Bill is left😉  Clients mostly have left also.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 301 ✭✭✭
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    There is an active thread going on here related to CA:
    https://forum.outbackpower.com/viewtopic.php?t=18009&e=1&view=unread#unread
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.
  • Dave Angelini
    Dave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,805 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    JRHill said:
    There is an active thread going on here related to CA:
    https://forum.outbackpower.com/viewtopic.php?t=18009&e=1&view=unread#unread
    Things are getting weird and getting weird fast. Might be time for a Planet of the Apes. Ya think?
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
       htps://offgridsolar1.com/
    E-mail offgridsolar@sti.net

  • Marc Kurth
    Marc Kurth Solar Expert Posts: 1,146 ✭✭✭✭
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    Folks around here are learning how to live primitively. It's not something you can just suddenly be successful with. Heck, a reasonably good producing garden takes 4-5 years to develop, even here with a decently long growing season. Lots of lakes and streams and 44"-48" of annual average rainfall is valuable. I like being surrounded by ranchers and farmers.
    I always have more questions than answers. That's the nature of life.
  • JRHill
    JRHill Registered Users Posts: 301 ✭✭✭
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    Folks around here are learning how to live primitively. It's not something you can just suddenly be successful with. Heck, a reasonably good producing garden takes 4-5 years to develop, even here with a decently long growing season. Lots of lakes and streams and 44"-48" of annual average rainfall is valuable. I like being surrounded by ranchers and farmers.
    And what year was it that one didn't learn anything new about their place, the power system or +++?

    "I like being surrounded by ranchers and farmers." Yup. Because they most likely live there or close by and are totally invested. The problems seem to come from non-resident owners of a parcel who only come around a few times each year.

    We recently had a blow up about a common gate on a private road - the only access at certain parts of the year. The non resident owners, who previously had a problem with break ins and 
    thievery demanded the gate be disabled. Huh?. The gate was wanted by them originally. But so many spread the combination code that it was worthless. Then their extended family and visitors didn't even bother closing the gate and left the lock un-cinched with the combination showing. Well, stupid is as stupid does. The gate is history. We are OK. But there are others now exposed. It's selfishness deluxe according to the convenience of a few at the time they might visit.

    This thread is about threats to the grid infrastructure. Those are many and won't be solved anytime soon. Then there are those rural who are independent but trying to manage other threats. These can be crazy.
    Off Grid. Two systems: 1) 2925w panels, OB VFXR3648, FM80, FNDC, Victron BMV-712, Mate3s, 240 xformer, four SimpliPHI 3.8; 2) 780w, Morningstar 30a, Grundfos switch, controller and AC/DC pump, 8 T105. Honda EU7000is w/AGS. Champion 3100. HF 4550, Miller Bobcat.