[LMB] Grids, was Solar Dreams Was Bees Was Barrayaran Insect Life

Paula Lieberman paal at filker.org
Sun May 18 14:15:58 BST 2014

On-topic content further below:

The US grid/grids are so interconnected, that "the Great Northeast Blackout" 
occurring in the 1960s was a cascade failure involving a power surge that 
spread, knocking power plants offline with the the load imbalance then 
knocking the plants further down/up the distribution system offline.  Only 
someone who disobeyed the protocols prevented the outage from extending even 
further.  And then the grid's local abilities to restart were essentially 
nonexistent, the assumption which was not one which ever got completely 
considered, was that there would not be a general outage--the assumptions 
further assumed that outages would be patchy and adjacent facilities which 
were still operating, could reboot the offline facilities.

The Great Northeast Blackout ended when MIT ran the dynamos it normally used 
for generating magnetic fields at the then-Frrancis Bitter National Magnet 
Laboratorry backwards, they came to a total stop in 17 seconds, but those 17 
seconds were enough to reboot generators in the city of Cambridges' grid, 
and start the reboot of the rest of the grid.  Those generators at MIT, 
though are long gone (MIT never lost power, it normally operated 
independently... MIT shut off the lights on the Great Dome because MIT was 
the essentially the only place in the northeast where th blackout hit which 
had power nd which power was "normal" and not emergency power.  MT shut off 
the dome lights to not look ostentacious/avoid ticking off the hundreds of 
thousand of people without power whose locations included a view of MIT.

Another widespread blackout occurred some years back somewhat further west 
in the USA, despite the lessons that were supposed to have been learned from 
the Great Northeast Blackout.  Apparently they'd been forgotten and only 
lipservice paid to them, and to things like maintenance, 
investment/investing in equipment maintenance, and spending money on 
equipment which suppresses surges/prevents-or-stops cascading failure modes.


The 4G/5G world is non-industrial age, as is the WGW, neither is a socieity 
with power--though one could/might argue that malices are a cascading 
failure  mode system!   The Nexus, the less densely populated plants the 
power systems would I expect not involve long distance transmission systems 
and  closely interconnected interdependent power gridding.   I would expect 
that Beta would have isolation equipment and provisions to prevent failures 
of any sort on one dome area, from propagating to collapse infrastructure 
operation in anaother dome.  Jackson's Whole, run as fiefdoms, I would 
expect the cultural attitudes prevalent, to include avoidance of 
interdependence, that having one's own f/a/m/i/y  a/t/o/m/i/c/s  power 
system isolated or isolatable from the competitons', lest they deliberately 
send a surge out in pursuit of sabotage as business-as-usual operation.

That is, i'd expect Jackson's Whole to have de factor "hardened" power 

--Paula Lieberman
-----Original Message----- 
From: Marc Wilson
Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2014 06:35 PM
Subject: Re: [LMB] Solar Dreams Was Bees Was Barrayaran Insect Life

On Sat, 17 May 2014 09:27:45 -0400, "Paula Lieberman" <paal at filker.org>

>Load is NOT consistent over time.  Most of the demand is during the day,
>particularly, during the work day, and there is some in the evening when
>people with day jobs are home watching TV, doing hobbies, etc. When they go
>to bed, the demand -tanks-.  Note the people being active and consuming
>power tends to have a high correlaation with daylight, even on places like
>Barrayar....  Even Aral did seem to be going out nightflying when drunk,
>reckless, and flying erratically....

That will probably vary geographically, mind you.  In the UK, demand
goes *down* in the summer, because almost no-one has domestic aircon -
it just doesn't get hot enough, often enough[1].  Air-con at home is
very much limited to the 1% here (well, perhaps the 5%).  Even many
shops still don't run aircon.

Industrial/business load is higher during the day, domestic load peaks
in the early evening.

There are certain peak spikes in the day that depend on what's on TV
(remember we're all on one time-zone, and mostly the same TV channels) -
there's a big spike when particular popular soap episodes finish, and 12
million kettles go on!

Of course, the grid here is a fraction of the geographical spread of the
USA, though there are about 1/5 of the people so there's more to it than
just scale would suggest.

[1] The people who rent out mobile units do very nicely in a heatwave,


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