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Old 12-22-2010, 08:07 AM
shamgar57 shamgar57 is offline
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Default Collapse of the Grid



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What are some of your thoughts of how economic collapse would lead to the grid going down. As I have looked at possible scenarios of how things could get dicey it seems that the grid is always the factor that exponentially intensifies each situation [Natural disaster, terrorist attack, etc].

So do you think it happens in your lifetime and what are some of the possible ways it would go down?
Old 12-22-2010, 08:33 AM
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I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine the other day. He is the plant manager of a power plant.

I asked him, "if the grid goes down, can the power plant be localized to just feed our town?"

He said yes. They just pull the circuits that send the power farther down the line and keep the power local.

I wonder if the SHTF and there is a statewide or nation wide power loss, will there be localized power spots near the power plants.
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:48 AM
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Since power is needed to maintain communications and security I believe the gubberment will take total control and send all power the the locations they want it to go. Just because you may live near a power plant doesn't mean you will have power.

The power they produce maybe sent hundreds of miles or more to the places the gubberment want it.
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:50 AM
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I believe......as do many other more experienced members of this forum........that focusing on any one scenario (to the exclusion of all others) doesn't accomplish much except to set the stage to be blindsided by something you never anticipated which is devastating.

The first rule of battle (which survival definitely is) is that the first casualty will always be your own carefully crafted battle plan. So, the best course of action is to prepare in a general way for the most likely EFFECTS from the loss of your "normal" societal structure. The ability to solve unexpected problems and to adjust to a changed life structure is your single most important prep. Those two skills will determine who will survive......and who will not.

The short version of this is that none of us are able to predict the future. The grid is so fragile in so many ways (especially the electrical grid) that it is a waste of time to try to predict what will make the dominoes fall. Much more productive to spend your valuable time learning how to live without electricity. The electronic grid is just as vulnerable, if not more so. And the failure of electronic transaction processing would also paralyze our current society. The chain of supply for the food system is also highly vulnerable.

There are additional factors, of course. But those are the biggies. And, in answer to your question.......yes, I do think this will happen in my lifetime. The only thing that surprises me about this situation is "how" we have managed to stumble along this far in time, connected to a system that most of us are entirely dependent on in our daily life.
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:50 AM
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I have a hard time making the connection between economic collapse and the grid going down. The two just aren't that related. If the economy collapses, more like stumbles, and things cost more folks will still want electricity. They may not be able to afford as much as they had previously used but they'll still use some. Much like the drastic change in gas prices we saw a couple of years ago when it spike at $4. Folks still drove, but stopped going for a Sunday cruise and joy riding.

With the grid I think that just natural decay is a bigger problem. Much of it is old and in need of repair. Around here they were even allowed to collect money for these repairs but it didn't happen and they were ordered to give the money back. It's not so much the wires, but the substations that aren't up to the challenge. Step up and step down transformers that have been in service for 60 years or more. Many are also close to being overloaded, since people just use more now then in past years. When much of this was being installed homes would have a 25 amp service. Now most houses have 150-200 amp service.

Th grid isn't much more then a bunch of automatic switching stations. In theory a plant on one side of the country could provide electricity to homes on the other side of the country. The cascade effect we've seen in the past is these switching stations doing there job, but having a problem where something was causing a huge draw and it not tripping off line. As the switches flipped it started causing more and more stations to trip out and we had the rolling blackouts.

Now it is possible to manually stop these from working and restore power locally.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:46 AM
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Living with a nuclear power plant that I can see from my house and a hydro-electric dam about 3-miles from my house in the other direction, I would be very sad!
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnWStiner View Post
I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine the other day. He is the plant manager of a power plant.

I asked him, "if the grid goes down, can the power plant be localized to just feed our town?"

He said yes. They just pull the circuits that send the power farther down the line and keep the power local.

I wonder if the SHTF and there is a statewide or nation wide power loss, will there be localized power spots near the power plants.
Since you live in Texas as do I, you will have it better than most. We have our own grid. All Texas would have to do is shutoff the power that we send out of the state. We generate way more than we use. Here's the problem....about 90% of all the Power Generation Plants are Coal Generated. Meaning, they burn coal to generate the power. If they cannot get the raw material to the plant, it will shutdown. So you ask, why can't they get the coal to the plant? Well, it has to be mined, refined, shipped to the plant and processed. It all takes manpower, fossil fuels for the trucks that bring it to the plant, and infrastructure that will be gone in a short time after a major economic collapse. The prices of electricity will skyrocket as it will probably cost 100 times more to make electricty because of the afore mentioned reasons. Will you be able to afford a $1500 electric bill? The only way the service will survive is if the government supplies the raw materials and gives incentive for the plant operators to stay and work. If a major economic collapse occurs I expect the power to go within a couple days, warter will go soon after that, and then natural gas.
Old 12-22-2010, 10:13 AM
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>In theory a plant on one side of the country could provide electricity to homes on the other side of the country.

Not true. There is a limit to how far you can push them positive electrons. I worked with a dude who was all into power generation. He had toured like 6 different nuc power plants at the time. Anyway he told me the max distance you can be from a power plant was like 600 miles. This is why power generation needs to be pretty close to the population centers. You just can put all the nuc power plants in the middle of the country where no body lives.

McLOVIN
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyFenix View Post
I believe......as do many other more experienced members of this forum........that focusing on any one scenario (to the exclusion of all others) doesn't accomplish much except to set the stage to be blindsided by something you never anticipated which is devastating.

The first rule of battle (which survival definitely is) is that the first casualty will always be your own carefully crafted battle plan. So, the best course of action is to prepare in a general way for the most likely EFFECTS from the loss of your "normal" societal structure. The ability to solve unexpected problems and to adjust to a changed life structure is your single most important prep. Those two skills will determine who will survive......and who will not.

The short version of this is that none of us are able to predict the future. The grid is so fragile in so many ways (especially the electrical grid) that it is a waste of time to try to predict what will make the dominoes fall. Much more productive to spend your valuable time learning how to live without electricity. The electronic grid is just as vulnerable, if not more so. And the failure of electronic transaction processing would also paralyze our current society. The chain of supply for the food system is also highly vulnerable.

There are additional factors, of course. But those are the biggies. And, in answer to your question.......yes, I do think this will happen in my lifetime. The only thing that surprises me about this situation is "how" we have managed to stumble along this far in time, connected to a system that most of us are entirely dependent on in our daily life.
You left out another option for some us. W e can also learn to make our own electricity via wood gas, solar, wind etc. W e dont have to return to the 19th century . W e have the technology to do this. Kingfish
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:22 AM
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Don't forget the Solar Flare of May 2013.....that will take out the entire grid....everywhere.
Congress passed a 100 million bill to "harden" the US electrical grid in preparation of EMP/Solar flares.

dan
Old 12-22-2010, 10:40 AM
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Default I live off the grid.

My suggestion is to audit your needs,water heater,etc.Then in a **** hit the fan scenario,figure your bare bones needs.Solar panels are cheap ,compared to when I bought mine,you can buy wind turbines at Menards,etc.Then have a bare bones system ready.

Example: a 55 watt panel at 12 volt charging a couple trojan six volt, an inverter,and maybe use your vehichle for backup charging w/jumper cables.

This will keep a few lights,radio,and keep you out of the dark ages.

Some studies on EMP studied hydroelectric and wind turbines,and they are the least vulnerable part of the grid,great if you live on their grid tie.
Old 12-22-2010, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McLovin View Post
>In theory a plant on one side of the country could provide electricity to homes on the other side of the country.

Not true. There is a limit to how far you can push them positive electrons. I worked with a dude who was all into power generation. He had toured like 6 different nuc power plants at the time. Anyway he told me the max distance you can be from a power plant was like 600 miles. This is why power generation needs to be pretty close to the population centers. You just can put all the nuc power plants in the middle of the country where no body lives.

McLOVIN
And yet Tesla showed (over 100 years ago) how to transmit power long distances, without wires, and no losses, using ground waves.

But since he was being financed by JP Morgan, who happened to own a copper mine, we have the system that we use today. He saw no profit for him in selling antennas.

Up to 75% of electricity's cost is in getting it from the generating plant to the home or business. (costs of wire, Transformers, maintenance and I squared R losses.)
Old 12-22-2010, 10:54 AM
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as long as railroads can haul coal and opperate normally then, things should be ok as goods can get to where they need to be...ie.coal,fuel....with out the railroads the country would go into shut down....
Old 12-22-2010, 10:57 AM
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I looked into this some time back the grid is a problem but the real problem
green power mandates have doomed us to future power shortages.

solar power (and wind is a type of solar power) cannot meet existing demand, it hasn't even been able to meet year to year energy increases, state and the fed's have been squandering money in a knee jerk reaction poor return energy systems.


I suggest the book "the Solar Fraud" by Howard C. Hayden
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by hamdizle View Post
as long as railroads can haul coal and opperate normally then, things should be ok as goods can get to where they need to be...ie.coal,fuel....with out the railroads the country would go into shut down....
Much of the commercial rail industry depends on diesel fuel. And far more of what we use is actually moved by tractor trailer, which also runs on diesel.

For that matter, electrical generation is either fuel oil, coal,natural gas or nuclear. The closest power plant to me used 3 of the 4 (No nukes, but there is one across the river)

Fuel to function being a major weak point in the whole system.
Old 12-22-2010, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rugster View Post
I looked into this some time back the grid is the a problem but the real problem
green power mandates have doomed us to future power shortages.

solar power (and wind is a type of solar power) cannot meet existing demand, it hasn't even been able to meet year to year energy increases, state and the fed's have been squandering money in a knee jerk reaction poor return energy systems.


I suggest the book "the Solar Fraud" by Howard C. Hayden
I live otg because the nearest powerline is 4 miles away, a conservative,T. Boone Pickens is building wind farms,making millions, and writing books.Hayden is a joke!
Old 12-22-2010, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by bobzilla View Post
My suggestion is to audit your needs,water heater,etc.Then in a **** hit the fan scenario,figure your bare bones needs.Solar panels are cheap ,compared to when I bought mine,you can buy wind turbines at Menards,etc.Then have a bare bones system ready.

Example: a 55 watt panel at 12 volt charging a couple trojan six volt, an inverter,and maybe use your vehichle for backup charging w/jumper cables.

This will keep a few lights,radio,and keep you out of the dark ages.

Some studies on EMP studied hydroelectric and wind turbines,and they are the least vulnerable part of the grid,great if you live on their grid tie.
This is exactly how we are building our back up power plant. One 4000 watt 240/120 magnum inverter running off of a 24 volt battery bank which in turn can be charged by gas generator, wind or solar. W e plan on keeping the inverter and solar panels in our faraday cage until needed. The battery bank is they key and largest investment. We want 20 year batteries and they are expensive. Right now we have 6 large lead acid deepcycles and two 80 watt Sharp solar panels. Still need the inverter and a charge controller for 24 volt banks. This system will only produce 30 amp of 120 per leg which is plenty to run our pump and freezer provided they both dont start at the same time . The freezer will end up on a timer and the pump only run when needed. The more panels we get the more constant power we will have. That is pretty bare bones for us. Water, freezer and some low lights. Total cost about 8 grand. To go full all out solar the cost for a 10,000 watt service is near 30 grand . That is a lot of panels and a huge inverter/control module. Its bare bones for us. We will have to heat water with wood fire and cook with wood as well. Kingfish
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnWStiner View Post
I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine the other day. He is the plant manager of a power plant.

I asked him, "if the grid goes down, can the power plant be localized to just feed our town?"

He said yes. They just pull the circuits that send the power farther down the line and keep the power local.

I wonder if the SHTF and there is a statewide or nation wide power loss, will there be localized power spots near the power plants.
One of the big worries is an EMP. They might take out the transformers. If so we're in a world of hurt because, like everything else, we no longer make our own. We buy them from China. Even if we had the money to order a bunch of new ones, it would take years to fill a large order and get the grid back up.

Quote:
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You left out another option for some us. W e can also learn to make our own electricity via wood gas, solar, wind etc. W e dont have to return to the 19th century . W e have the technology to do this. Kingfish
That's a good way to power our individual homes, but home power is really the least of the worries. The big worries would be production, transportation and communication. When it comes to things like water treatment and distribution, these things are power hogs.
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:43 AM
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exactly my point. I cant depend on the government to supply my power in the event that our grid is knocked out. Each of us will have to be self reliant and power our own homes. In my case living in the country far from the nearest grid transfer station we will be last in line for repair. We decided long ago that we had to build something that would supply our basic needs, water and freezer. Without those two things we cant live here. The freezer is optional but would really makes things easier if it were working. And you are correct those things at the community level or city level are huge power hogs. I cant concern myself with the rest of the country as I dont have the means to fix it. I can only take care of one house ,Mine. Kingfish
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:52 AM
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This is a really good post. Who knows how will all go down if even if it will. To my mind oil is king. If we see sky rocketing prices that will effect power communications food everthing. Power bills will get really prices soon. Or atleast I think so? If a person has the room wouldnt it make sense to have several options for energy? Solar is great but from what I hear a storm can ruin your system. Falling branches hail can take out a system. Maybe a combination of solar, generator, wind is the best way to go. I just dont know. I did buy and Onan Generator. It is diesel and runs 4 hours on a gallon of fuel and produces 7000 watts. Without fuel though it is just a lawn ornament. I just dont know what the answer is.
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