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THE Blackouts/Brownouts Thread (merged)

A forum for discussion of regional topics including oil depletion but also government, society, and the future.

Re: Intermittent or permanent loss of utilities

Unread postby whiteknight » Tue 13 Sep 2005, 15:22:55

skyemoor wrote:Which solar panel are you referring to? The ones I saw there only went up to 100 watts ($799), which is close to the maximum output of most commercially available panels.


Sorry, misread (and a bit of mistyped) the info that their circular screwed up. They recomend hooking up to a 300 either amp or watt inverter (they may be confused too...)

I have a 500 watt inverter in my van and am looking at useing this to keep the van battery charged up instead of running the 360 cubic inch monster of an engine she has. I figger $200 will pay for itself as the gas prices keep climbing higher and higher.

However if you apply the idea to a home and use the pannels to trickle chager a battery which powers the inverter which keeps the fridge cool and your ice cream frozen while the rest of th ecity is in brown out, what bliss.
Every morning a gazelle wakes up, knowing it must run faster than the lion or be killed. When a lion wakes up, it knows it must outrun the gazelle or starve. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or gazelle, when you wake up you'd better be running.
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Re: Intermittent or permanent loss of utilities

Unread postby skyemoor » Tue 13 Sep 2005, 18:44:13

strider3700 wrote:I assume he meant watts. 300 Amps is a lot for a house.


It's a little over 3 kW, which is a bit bigger than my 2 kW.

for scrounged solar systems putting though canadian tire last night I found 1750 watt (3000 peak) 12V invertors for $400 slap on a big battery bank and some way of charging the bank and you are well on your way. I question how long an invertor like that would last though, and if it will damage the batteries. "Good" invertors seem to be near $1 /watt but they also have a lot of extra features to scrounge as much as possible out of panels and batteries.


Good chargers will have a way of reducing sulfation, through through techniques such as pulse width modulation (charging in pulses, basically).

To determine what battery and charging approach is best for you, see the Deep Cycle Battery FAQ. I'm currently using AGMs because of frequent, unpredictable travel requirements.
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http://ecoplan.org/carshare/cs_index.htm
http://www.velomobile.de/GB/Advantages/advantages.html

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He that lives upon hope will die fasting. --Benjamin Franklin
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Black out? Sue them! And you'll win $...

Unread postby Barbara » Fri 30 Sep 2005, 06:01:10

http://redazione.romaone.it/4Daction/We ... 298&doc=si

This was on every italian TV evening news yesterday. Anybody remembering the 2003 italian blackout, with the whole nation in the dark for 12 hours? Well it was a Sunday. A man sued the electric company because "he couldn't properly enjoy his Sunday resting, watching TV and having friends visiting because of the blackout".
The court said he was right. The electric company (ENEL) was condemned to pay € 225 for the "existential damage".

Now I'm here thinking. So people here believe to have a RIGHT to get electricity 24/7. But the scary part, is that judges believe it too. And it was not a loss of money, a loss of work, but simply a loss of leisure... People can sue and get paid because they can't watch TV.

I think I'll write a letter to the judge and the man saying the two magic words...
**no english mothertongue**
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Re: Black out? Sue them! And you'll win $...

Unread postby BabyPeanut » Fri 30 Sep 2005, 06:05:09

Be careful how you present Peak Oil. You might want to have others read any letters you write first to check them.
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Re: Black out? Sue them! And you'll win $...

Unread postby something_awfull » Fri 30 Sep 2005, 06:06:52

"existential damage"? :lol:
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Re: Black out? Sue them! And you'll win $...

Unread postby ozkrenske » Fri 30 Sep 2005, 19:12:35

Suing utilities - Well it would depend on what was in their standard contract would it not. If the Electricity supply company said you wouldn't be cut off and you were, there in trouble. Even if they just didn't mention it, at all, it could be construed that delivery is guaranteed.

It would need specific indemnity clauses in the standard contract and would in many countries need signatures against each block of the contract to be binding.
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Re: Black out? Sue them! And you'll win $...

Unread postby rogerhb » Fri 30 Sep 2005, 19:19:56

The advertising industry should bu able to sue the power companies for blackouts that prevent people watching their propaganda. :-D
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby AirlinePilot » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 12:41:43

Ask him if he can find out from any of the locals how much this has happened in the recent past? Is it something abnormal or have they done this in the recent past? I'm curious. It's like our two days off from school here in GA last year due to a shortage of diesel fuel for the buses. Everyone thought it was no big deal, to me it was a warning sign. This kind of stuff likely just isn't normal.
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby Leanan » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 12:55:48

The inventories of oil and gas are high now, so it can't be shortages. Must be a capacity thing.

The sudden cold snap in the U.S. combined with the sudden increase in violence in Nigeria is probably going to gladden the hearts of oil investors...
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby Leanan » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 13:16:38

I suspect they just don't have the capacity to produce that much electricity. It's a common problem in the northeast, both when temperatures are really high in the summer (due to use of airconditioners) and when they are really low in winter.

Our electricity infrastructure is old and creaky, and really not up to handling current demand. One reason I don't think electric cars are going to be the answer.
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby Novus » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 13:26:57

Leanan wrote:The inventories of oil and gas are high now, so it can't be shortages. Must be a capacity thing.


Natural Gas can't be stored in large quantities without liquefing it into LNG. Natural gas is piped off to be burned in homes and power plants almost as soon as it comes out of the ground. It is a pumping and drilling capacity thing. New gas wells are depleating just a year after they are drilled. New supply just can't keep up with depleation so as soon as it gets really cold the force major triggers go into effect and gas supplies to power plants are cut off. This is where these blackouts are comming from and it going to be a nationwide problem by this summer. Better pray for a mild summer.
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby Leanan » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 13:38:49

The way it works in the Northeast is natural gas stored during the summer (in tanks, underground caverns, etc.) and used during the winter. Since around 2000, there's been concern about supplies, because we're using so much in summer. (For air-conditioning.) It means we're not storing enough for winter. We've been really lucky, because the last few years have been mild, both summers and winters. There was some worry this summer, because it was so hot, but we lucked out again by having an extraordinarily warm winter.

But even when fuel supplies are ample, we can have load problems. Utilities are not going to build extra power plants just for a load that occurs only once every few years. They'd sit there doing nothing most of the time. It's just not worth it. So when there's unusual demand, they have to ask people to conserve, and impose rolling blackouts if that's not enough.
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby Sleepybag » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 13:42:17

What about the many families in the metro are that have infants, or elderly people that live in poorly insulated homes/apartments?


Could this event be turned into a wake-up call? People should start insulating their homes instead of burning massive amounts of gas. In the end it is cheaper to pay for insulating material once, instead of waiting for ever-increasing heating bills.
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby DantesPeak » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 13:48:24

Problem blamed on low natural gas supplies. Looks like the NG infrastructure (in addition to electrical generation) also does not do well in extreme weather.

2/18/06 AP Alert - CO. 18:24:41



AP Alert - Colorado
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


February 18, 2006


CO Cold Power


DENVER_With temperatures below zero, Xcel Energy was forced to conduct rolling blackouts in the Denver Metro Area on Saturday.

Tom Henley of Xcel said by midmorning power had been restored to the entire area, although that could change at any moment. He said the 30-minute outages affected about 100,000 customers at a time.

He said a shortage of natural gas coming into the state in pipelines was the problem, and it affected areas served by Xcel along the entire Front Range. The only blackouts were in the Denver area, however. The company was working to increase the flow of natural gas and hoped to control the problem by Saturday evening.

Henley said customers were being asked to conserve energy, including electricity. He noted that natural gas is used to generate electricity.

At 10 a.m., the temperature at Denver International Airport was -4 degrees.


Sorry, no link (direct from wire)
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby Leanan » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 13:50:05

From that thread, it sounds like they might have suffered some kind of equipment failure. Though it might be related to the heavy demand.

Or maybe it's equipment failure on top of the rolling blackouts?
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby Novus » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 13:51:25

Here is a solution. How about smaller homes that are heated with passive solar. Geothermal home heating heat systems could also save people a bundle.
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby Leanan » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 13:55:49

Here's a link

A pipe capacity problem, maybe? I would think if it was gas supplies, a lot more than Denver would be affected.
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby MacG » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 13:57:37

When listening to this interview, you can get the impression that those reported storage numbers might be somewhat less reliable and accurate. I dont know what to belive really, those guys are money managers trying to attract the money of the extremely contrarian crowd. George Blake have a very mean laugh though...
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby Novus » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 14:31:26

You can easily inflate storage numbers by ajusting the pressure the gas is stored at. For example gas stored a 5 psi takes up twice the volume that gas stored at 10 psi does. Storage numbers only give you the volume of the gas being stored but without telling us the pressure it is stored at the number is meaningless. It could be like comparing apples to oranges. They could be saying we have more apples this year than we had oranges last year. It is very easy to fool a public which has no knowledge of even basic science.
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Re: Rolling blackouts in Denver

Unread postby Leanan » Sat 18 Feb 2006, 14:35:31

MarketWatch reports that Xcel Energy would not give a reason for the natural gas shortage.

TheDenverChannel.com says power has been restored to all customers, but "that could change at any moment."
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