PowerSwitch Main Page
PowerSwitch
The UK's Peak Oil Discussion Forum & Community
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

The Electrical Grid May Well Be The Next War's Battlefield
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    PowerSwitch Forum Index -> Electrical, Theory and Practice
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Lord Beria3



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 4104
Location: Moscow Russia

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:09 pm    Post subject: The Electrical Grid May Well Be The Next War's Battlefield Reply with quote

http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/86200/electrical-grid-may-well-next-wars-battlefield
Quote:

We talk a lot about Peak Cheap Oil as the Achilles' heel of the exponential monetary model, but the real threat to the quality of our daily lives would be a sustained loss of electrical power. Anything over a week without power for any modern nation would be a serious problem.

When the power goes out, everything just stops. For residential users, even a few hours begins to intrude heavily as melting freezers, dying cell phones, and the awkward realization that we don't remember how to play board games nudge us out of our comfort zone.

However, those are just small inconveniences.

For industrial and other heavy users, the impact of even a relatively short outage can be expensive or even ghastly. Hospitals and people on life-assisting machinery are especially vulnerable. Without power, aluminum smelters face the prospect of the molten ore solidifying in the channels from which it must be laboriously removed before operations can be restarted.

Many types of nuclear power plants have to switch to back-up diesel generators to keep the cooling pumps running. And if those stop for any reason (like they run out of fuel), well, Fukushima gave us a sense of how bad things can get.

And of course banking stops, ATMs are useless, and gas stations cannot pump gas. Just ask the people of New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

A blackout of a few hours results in an inconvenience for everyone and something to talk about.

But one more than a day or two long? Things begin to get a bit tense; especially in cities, and doubly so if it happens in the hot mid-summer months.

Anything over a week and we start facing real, life-threatening issues. National Geographic ran a special presentation, American Blackout, in October 2013 -- it presented a very good progression covering exactly what a timeline of serious grid disruption would look and feel like. I recommend the program for those interested


A very interesting article on the risks of a electrical grid collapse. Here is a link to the reference to the American Blackout programme...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYoXxVnTePA

It is certainly something to consider 'prepping' for. Beyond the usual candles, food/water stockpiles... is it worth installing a backup generator system for such an unlikely event?

What do you think?
_________________
Peace always has been and always will be an intermittent flash of light in a dark history of warfare, violence, and destruction
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
adam2
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 6219
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A generator is a prudent prep for a business or institution, together with ample fuel.

For a home, it might be worth considering, but remember that a small petrol generator uses an alarming amount of expensive and dangerous fuel, that may only be lawfully stored in small volumes.
The generator is a tempting target for thieves and looters and cant really be concealed on account of the noise that it makes.

A larger permanently installed diesel generator is a better bet, but do not expect change from 10,000 for a good quality one, permanently installed with fuel storage, cooling, and exhaust arrangements, and proper changeover switchgear.
Diesel fuel is much safer to store, and a well silenced permanent installation is less likely to attract attention, and can not be easily stolen.

For most people it would be better to become less reliant on electricity, and for essential uses to generate a little of your own from PV.
Electricity is a great convenience, but a lot of the benefits can be obtained with much less than most people consume at present.

Here are a few suggestions for both short term or rota cuts, and for a long term failure.

LIGHTING install a 12 volt light in every room, two in important rooms, supply from a battery. For short term or rota cuts the battery may be charged from the grid when available. PV charging is better for any long term failure.

HEATING for short term or rota cuts, consider powering existing central heating from a battery and inverter. In the longer term, the load may be too great, and gas or oil might not be available, therefore a wood stove and a large supply* of fuel is advisable.

COOKING for short term or rota cuts, either manage without cooking until it comes back on, or make do with a camping stove. In the longer term use a wood stove, and PERHAPS an outdoor* fire or solar cooker in the summer.

PORTABLE ELECTRONICS if kept charged normally, with modest use they should be fine in the short term. For a longer term failure charge or use them from a PV charged 12 volt battery.

REFRIGERATION should be fine in the short term except in very hot weather. To prepare for the long term failure, either purchase ultra high efficiency DC refrigeration, that can be worked from a modest sized PV and battery system, or accept life without it.

WATER SUPPLY should work as normal during short term or rota cuts. In case it goes off long term, you need your own well, or rainwater catchment with substantial storage* or other independent water supply.

*WARNING outdoor log piles, cooking arrangements, water tanks, and other preps might attract most unwelcome attention.
_________________
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
kenneal - lagger
Site Admin


Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Posts: 9822
Location: Newbury, Berkshire

PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the first things that the Americans did in Iraq was to bomb the power system flat taking out power stations and transformers and doing it quite successfully. I think that was one of the things that we tried to do to Germany in WW2 but we didn't possess the precision weaponry to accomplish the feat to the same extent an in Iraq. The Iraqi telephone and command and control system was very nearly bought to a halt through lack of electrical power.
_________________
"When the last tree is cut down, and the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find out that you cannot eat money". --The Cree Indians
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
adam2
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 6219
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A prolonged power cut affecting substantial numbers of people for more than 24 hours is most unlikely whilst times are more or less normal.
The worst reasonable foreseeable industrial dispute or fuel shortage should result in rota power cuts, perhaps severe ones, but still some hours a day with power.

Extreme weather can black out large areas, a good example being the great storm of 1987. Urban areas generally had supply restored within 12 hours.

Major breakdowns can blackout large areas, I recall one that affected large parts of London and the southeast. Supply was restored in about an hour.

Remote rural areas are far more vulnerable to weather induced failures, and are a lower priority for repairs due to the smaller numbers of customers affected.
A generator is arguably sensible if living in a rural area and is less liable to theft than in a town.

A large scale blackout affecting substantial areas for days or longer is a distinct possibility in case of war, terrorist attack, or truly extreme natural events far beyond any experienced so far.
Not very likely IMHO, but it could happen and should arguably be prepared for.
If such a serious failure DID occur, then I expect large scale disorder within at most 36 hours and probably sooner.
Remember that no electricity for some days over a large area means almost no food or other goods in the shops, almost no public transport, no payment of wages or benefits, and very limited medical care.
_________________
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 4281
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
A prolonged power cut affecting substantial numbers of people for more than 24 hours is most unlikely whilst times are more or less normal.
The worst reasonable foreseeable industrial dispute or fuel shortage should result in rota power cuts, perhaps severe ones, but still some hours a day with power.

Extreme weather can black out large areas, a good example being the great storm of 1987. Urban areas generally had supply restored within 12 hours.

Major breakdowns can blackout large areas, I recall one that affected large parts of London and the southeast. Supply was restored in about an hour.

Remote rural areas are far more vulnerable to weather induced failures, and are a lower priority for repairs due to the smaller numbers of customers affected.
A generator is arguably sensible if living in a rural area and is less liable to theft than in a town.

A large scale blackout affecting substantial areas for days or longer is a distinct possibility in case of war, terrorist attack, or truly extreme natural events far beyond any experienced so far.
Not very likely IMHO, but it could happen and should arguably be prepared for.
If such a serious failure DID occur, then I expect large scale disorder within at most 36 hours and probably sooner.
Remember that no electricity for some days over a large area means almost no food or other goods in the shops, almost no public transport, no payment of wages or benefits, and very limited medical care.
Modern retail is totally dependent on electricity to run the computerized cash registers. Most of the merchandise does not even have a visible price marked on it and the staff has no idea how to accept cash and make change even if they thought they had the authority to settle on a price and make the sale. I have seen this acted out during a couple of short term power outages. Let it go a day or two and looting will happen for essential goods for as long as they last.
I'm very glad my house is not electric dependent for any major function and that I have a considerable stock of food in dry storage. Not a Doomer amount mind you but enough to last weeks if needed. Be a shame to lose what is in the freezers but my fuel supply for the emergency generator is limited.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BritDownUnder



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
Posts: 242
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
One of the first things that the Americans did in Iraq was to bomb the power system flat taking out power stations and transformers and doing it quite successfully. I think that was one of the things that we tried to do to Germany in WW2 but we didn't possess the precision weaponry to accomplish the feat to the same extent an in Iraq. The Iraqi telephone and command and control system was very nearly bought to a halt through lack of electrical power.


My understanding is that they used 'warheads' which had carbon filaments to short out the conductors in substations and were very hard to clean out.

The British also used balloons in WW2 to short out German HV transmission lines. Something to do with the type of protection devices the Germans used made things much worse. I read all about it in an electrical trade magazine. Apparently due to the prevailing west to east winds the Germans could not retaliate with similar means and that made them hopping mad. A balloon had a trailing cable about the thickness of a piano wire and 300 metres long. The balloon would soar for about a day until it got roughly over Germany and then a timer would make it fall to around 300 metres and said wire would drag along the ground. Neutral Sweden was also affected by these measures and protested diplomatically.

It is also nice to see discussions about the grid and preparations as well as political discussions about Gaza and Ukraine even though they have implications on energy supply.

Also the Russian 'Energetic Bear' hacking collective has reportedly been targeting power systems in US, Spain and other countries. I went to an engineering talk on GOOSE software which is used to control substations. With everything computerised these days a hacker could simply do what they wanted with a power grid if they had the access rights.

In about 1990 there was a snow and ice storm in the midlands and many power lines were taken out by the ice and poles were pulled over by the weight of the ice. We were without power for 10 days but as we had wood stoves and water heating which was not reliant on electrical pumping we did OK. Refridgeration was not an issue due to the cold but I remember having beans every day as we had about 20 pounds of beans in the freezer. Back then I suppose you could pay cash for things in the shops much easier.

Another interesting electrical case is the loss of electricity to Auckland City in New Zealand in 1998.

I also like the doomer tone of this post rather than many of the other posts here being more of a political nature. I keep about a months to 3 months supply of food around but it is mostly pasta, rice and tinned stuff. I am not sure how I would fare on it. I also keep lots of seeds and have been planting just about every kind of fruit and nut tree imaginable in the garden. I also bought a solar parabolic cooker and have a wood burner with large wood pile. Perhaps I will do a post on my preps sometime in the future.
_________________
G'Day cobber!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
3rdRock
Guest





PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BritDownUnder wrote:
Perhaps I will do a post on my preps sometime in the future.

Please do and perhaps you could give your address at the same time. Wink Laughing
Back to top
madibe



Joined: 23 Jun 2009
Posts: 1597

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, if you have a generator I am sure you will make lots of friends Smile

Now... what's that film called.....
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PS_RalphW



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 5267
Location: Cambridge

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are two supermarkets near my office. We had a power glytch of about a second a few weeks ago. Two hours later one shop was trading normally, the second had a hand scribbled note to say their systems had failed to reboot and they were closed.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
adam2
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 6219
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, reliance on electricity in retail stores and elsewhere is increasing.
As posted above, most larger shops are unable to sell even for cash in a power cut.
30 years ago they would have remained open at least during daylight and possibly by improvised lighting during darkness.

Small owner operated shops still tend to stay open, but remember that many local shops are simply smaller branches of well known chains, and just as vulnerable as larger stores.
_________________
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lord Beria3



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 4104
Location: Moscow Russia

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting NG blackout documentary... and pretty realistic as well.

Does make you think how well prepared you are in the advent of such a attack. Still a nationwide shutdown of the grid over weeks/months is pretty unlikely... much more likely would be over a day or two at worst so even minimal preps would be fine.

OK, just got to the point that American asks for aid from the world as it is virtually run our of fuel/water/food supplies to sustain its society! Good luck there!

The way America behaves it may be waiting a while. Treat people well and they will (usually) treat you well. Same rule applies for nations (usually).
_________________
Peace always has been and always will be an intermittent flash of light in a dark history of warfare, violence, and destruction
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
Posts: 13974
Location: Houǝsʇlʎ' ᴉʇ,s ɹǝɐllʎ uoʇ ʍoɹʇɥ ʇɥǝ ǝɟɟoɹʇ' pou,ʇ ǝʌǝu qoʇɥǝɹ˙

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2 wrote:
Yes, reliance on electricity in retail stores and elsewhere is increasing.
As posted above, most larger shops are unable to sell even for cash in a power cut.
30 years ago they would have remained open at least during daylight and possibly by improvised lighting during darkness.

Small owner operated shops still tend to stay open, but remember that many local shops are simply smaller branches of well known chains, and just as vulnerable as larger stores.


It's not just the shops themselves - lots of people carry little if any cash these days. They use debit cards even for sandwiches etc, which is a pain in a queue, waiting for fecking electronic transactions to go through. In a power outage, they'd have no money even if someone was willing to sell them stuff.
_________________
"Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren’t lesser beings, they’re just like us. So I say fụck the Buddhists" - Bjork
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 4281
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool The funny one to watch was the local hardware lumber yard after a flood knocked out the power. Once it dawned on one of the young sales clerks that he had the means on his shelves. First a new flash light from isle 2 then an extension cord from isle 5 and a portable generator from isle 7 etc. He soon had the generator purring out on the sidewalk chained to a post connected to one cash register/bar code reader and a work light shinning down several isles so customers could find their own emergency supplies.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
adam2
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 6219
Location: North Somerset

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
adam2 wrote:
Yes, reliance on electricity in retail stores and elsewhere is increasing.
As posted above, most larger shops are unable to sell even for cash in a power cut.
30 years ago they would have remained open at least during daylight and possibly by improvised lighting during darkness.

Small owner operated shops still tend to stay open, but remember that many local shops are simply smaller branches of well known chains, and just as vulnerable as larger stores.


It's not just the shops themselves - lots of people carry little if any cash these days. They use debit cards even for sandwiches etc, which is a pain in a queue, waiting for fecking electronic transactions to go through. In a power outage, they'd have no money even if someone was willing to sell them stuff.


Agree, it is wise to keep cash to hand, not only for blackouts but in case of banking problems.
The amount of cash that could be prudently kept to hand would vary according to ones income and other circumstances, but at least a weeks income might be a good starting point. Keep perhaps 20% of this cash with you and hide the rest.
_________________
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
Posts: 13974
Location: Houǝsʇlʎ' ᴉʇ,s ɹǝɐllʎ uoʇ ʍoɹʇɥ ʇɥǝ ǝɟɟoɹʇ' pou,ʇ ǝʌǝu qoʇɥǝɹ˙

PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blackouts and banking problems.

If anyone lives assuming that neither will happen at some point, then they're in dreamland. Laughing
_________________
"Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren’t lesser beings, they’re just like us. So I say fụck the Buddhists" - Bjork
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    PowerSwitch Forum Index -> Electrical, Theory and Practice All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group