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Home Front: WoT
Terrorism & the electric power distribution system
2012-11-15
A report issued today by the National Academy of Sciences warns of the vulnerability of the USA's electrical power grid to being blacked out for weeks or months due to terrorist attack. The risk has been known to the industry for years.
If years is defined as a period of several decades, then yes.
A prolonged widespread power outage could cause thousands of death from cold or heat,
Not to mention hunger, thirst, deprivation and disease, but do go on.
and hundreds of billions of dollars in damage to the economy.

Of particular concern are certain large high-voltage transformers [HVT] that increase the voltage of electricity to levels suited for bulk transmission and then reduce voltage for distribution to customers. These must be custom-built, most are made abroad, and replacing a single one can take many months.
Some of the recommendations:
  • develop & stockpile a family of easily transported HVTs

  • take steps to reduce system vulnerability & speed restoration

  • give incentives to utilities & transmission operator to do the above

  • invest in basic technology in power delivery

  • develop a national inventory of portable generating equipment for critical loads during extended outages
Of course, the risk to hospitals of putting their emergency generators and fuel supplies in flood-prone areas has also been known for years, and very little has been done about that.
Posted by:Anguper Hupomosing9418

#8  But then there's this: The Federal Housing Administration will need billions of dollars in aid from the U.S. Treasury before the end of the year to fill a financial hole caused by defaults on mortgages it insures, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus said today.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418   2012-11-15 21:41  

#7   Best solution for gas stations is to require them to have their own backup generators. It is not as if they don't make enough money to do this, or that they themselves are short on fuel. Allow them to charge double for fuel whenever the grid is down. People should expect to pay cash for gasoline when power is out. Plastic card approval depends on the grid, phone system & the internet, too unreliable to count on.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418   2012-11-15 21:36  

#6  Sale at 'Zon, but yeah there is another choice. Auto Invertor, sure there are more efficient choices but the invertor is portable; is your car. It is a very individual decision based upon environment and problem. I had to chuckle to keep from laughing to see those generators being used to charge NYC cell phones instead of other uses, when for pennies a person could get a solar charger for the phone, flashlights, batteries. Only on a sunny day, sure, but beats waiting around for FEMA or Barry to get dirt under his fingernails.

Local ranchers have gone 50/50 on solar/wind powered water pumps, they love it. Mechanical windmills that is; the olde tyme ones.

The question I have banging in my head is how computerized gas pumps are. Would not only the mechinism need power, but also the cash register/approval system? Of course I'm in the prosecution is the least of my problems category now.
Posted by: swksvolFF   2012-11-15 20:54  

#5  with a solar cell(Large) to power it whenever the sun shines
Good for you. I live in one of the cloudiest areas in North America.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418   2012-11-15 20:29  

#4  I have a 2kw inverter powered by line (At the moment) with a solar cell(Large) to power it whenever the sun shines, in the Plan is a wind generator and another few solar cells,
Its not much, but if we have an outage I'm set.
In the future I plan an entirely ingependent setup, No line power at all.
Posted by: Redneck Jim   2012-11-15 19:04  

#3  $100 bucks gets you a 1500W invertor Last I checked, a 1500w inverter cost $130 at Harbor Freight (for what that's worth). These require appropriate copper cables & attachment lugs at about $70. Appropriate deep-cycle batteries to mate with such a beast cost $400-900. Then you will still need something to recharge those batteries (e.g. a gas engine).
Better off paying $400+ for a 4000W gasoline generator (Harbor Freight's cheapest, of course you can pay much much more for the best stuff), modify it to run on propane and natural gas (about an extra $400). Hope you will be able to keep it fueled to run more than a month at a stretch in this scenario. Natural gas is the best bet for an energy source in this scenario, assuming the NG system itself will survive such an extreme outage of electrical power.
Then there are externalities, such as the long-standing and widespread lack of auxiliary power for gas stations, which will then affect EMS, law enforcement, sanitation, water supply and hospitals, among other things. Forget about your cell phone working after backup power fails at the antenna sites (they depend mostly on diesel, the source paper did recommend developing alternative energy sources for cell phone towers).
No easy or cheap answers for the risk here. Political cooperation is absolutely necessary to ameliorate risk, but there are vastly more important issues to deal with nowadays, like gay marriage, open borders, blaming the other side, and bailing out the Vampire Squid and deadbeat homeowners.
Keep going, nothing to see here, folks.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418   2012-11-15 18:24  

#2  $100 bucks gets you a 1500W invertor, $20 gets you something to recharge small items and batteries. Know how to power a gasoline pump, have the right invertor, and you are good to go. Much better than watching Libyans dip quick shop cups into storage tanks, or worse, a New Yorker.
Posted by: swksvolFF   2012-11-15 16:41  

#1  Some of the recommendations

Which might have been taken into consideration when the $1 trillion stimulus boondoggle was thought up. But there were campaign supporters to pay back...
Posted by: Pappy   2012-11-15 13:03  

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