H/t reader kevin a.
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Earlier this month a massive power outage hit Central America, leaving millions of people without electricity for hours. The outage was caused by an overload in the Central American Transmission System in Panama.
Though it mostly affected people in Costa Rica and Panama, the outage also partially affected power in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. These countries all share the same electricity transmission line, which extends approximately 1,130 miles between Panama and Guatemala.
The New York Times tells us that Today’s Energy Jobs Are in Solar, Not Coal. But watch the pea – these jobs are “energy jobs”, not jobs that use energy.
Apparently it takes 79 people to create the same energy through solar as one person does through coal. (And that would be cheaper, how? )
Delta Airlines recently experienced what it called a power outage in its home base of Atlanta, Georgia, causing all the company’s computers to go offline—all of them. This seemingly minor hiccup managed to singlehandedly ground all Delta planes for six hours, stranding passengers for even longer, as Delta scrambled to reshuffle passengers after the Monday debacle.
Where Delta blamed its catastrophic systems-wide computer failure vaguely on a loss of power, Georgia Power, their power provider, placed the ball squarely in Delta’s court, saying that “other Georgia Power customers were not affected”, and that they had staff on site to assist Delta.
The entire Los Angeles metropolitan area and most of Southern California can expect blackouts this summer.
The power grid is under direct threat as a result of the unprecedented, but little reported, massive natural gas leaks at Alisco Canyon that was ongoing for four months as an intense summer heat wave sets in.
According to Reuters:
California will have its first test of plans to keep the lights on this summer…
With record-setting heat and air conditioning demand expected in Southern California, the state’s power grid operator issued a so-called “flex alert,” urging consumers to conserve energy to help prevent rotating power outages – which could occur regardless.
Chile’s main solar power plants are supplying so much electricity that they have to give it away for free or face prices going down. The glut has been driven by the country’s booming copper industry.
Chile’s growing energy demand has prompted the development of 29 solar farms to supply the central grid. Booming mining production and economic growth have been the main drivers. The country is expected to install almost 1.4 gigawatts of solar power this year, up from 371 megawatts in 2015, according to Bloomberg , which is enough to supply hundreds of thousands of homes.
Well, Venezuela is out of elecricity – again. The Guri Dam, which provides some two thirds of the country’s power, is at “critical levels.” Thankfully, Nicolas Maduro has prepared some “measures.”
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– Bolivia nationalises Iberdrola electricity companies (Reuters, Dec 29, 2012):
Bolivia nationalised two electricity distribution companies owned by Spanish utility Iberdrola on Saturday, the latest move by leftist President Evo Morales to assert control over the country’s resources.
Iberdrola will be compensated according to a valuation to be drawn up by an independent arbiter, Morales said, adding that the measure was aimed at enhancing rural energy services.
“We considered this measure necessary to ensure equitable energy tariffs … and to see to it that the quality of electricity service is uniform in rural as well as urban areas,” Morales said.
President Morales has nationalised oil, telecommunications, mining and electrical generation companies.
– Full power restored after India hit by second huge outage (CNN, Aug 1, 2012)
– India’s Power Network Breaks Down (Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2012):
Second Blackout This Week Affects Area Where 680 Million Live, Embarrassing Nation by Exposing Ramshackle Grid
NEW DELHI—India suffered the world’s biggest-ever power outage Tuesday as transmission networks serving areas inhabited by 680 million collapsed, putting the nation’s ramshackle infrastructure on stark display.
The grid failure, the second massive blackout in as many days, happened around 1 p.m. local time and affected 18 states and two union territories in north and eastern India, grinding trains across large swaths of the country to a halt, forcing thousands of hospitals and factories to operate on generators, temporarily stranding hundreds of coal miners underground and causing losses to businesses estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The government said power was about 80% restored in north India by late Tuesday evening.
– Worst India Outage Highlights 60 Years of Missed Targets: Energy (Businessweek, Aug 1, 2012):
India’s worst-ever power crisis is the legacy of 60 years of missed investment targets and on current projections fixing the nation’s electricity supply is still decades away.
The network in Asia’s third-largest economy loses 27 percent of the power it carries through dissipation from wires and theft, while peak supply falls short of demand by an average of 9 percent, according to India’s Central Electricity Authority. Some 300 million people, or one in every four, remain without links to the grid and the number will still be about 150 million by 2030, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency.
– Behind India’s Grid Breakdown, Deeper Energy Issues – and Opportunities (New York Times, July 31, 2012):
Here’s a look at the world’s biggest blackout and India’s underlying energy challenge by someone who works to bring electricity to the hundreds of millions of Indian citizens for whom the grid failures are an abstraction because they were never on the grid to begin with.
In June, at a summit in Manila on Asia’s energy future, I met Harish Hande, an award-winning Indian engineer and entrepreneur based in Bangalore who, since 1995, has built a company that provides energy assessments and solar panels or other sources of locally generated power to (mainly) rural Indian communities. We had several long conversations about how to affordably provide electricity in countries like India and the Philippines, with vast poor populations, both rural and urban.
With much of the electrified half of India suddenly thrown into the dark, I re-visited video I shot of parts of our conversation. Here’s a portion that’s highly relevant, in which Hande explains that urgent calls now to fix the grid or speed the building of more coal-burning power plants are unlikely to ameliorate the energy challenges confronting hundreds of millions of citizens there:
I also invited Hande this morning to reflect on the current debate over India’s various energy gaps, and opportunities. Here’s his “Your Dot” contribution
It’s interesting that the rich in the states without power are complaining the most, about how they are suffering because of no air conditioners, etcetera. Yet 400 million Indians today still have not seen a light bulb while 200 million more regularly suffer from regular brownouts (between 6 and 19 hours).
– This Is What 670 Million People Without Power Look Like: Pictures From A Blacked Out India (ZeroHedge, July 31, 2012)
– 600 million without power in India after 3 power grids fail (USA Today, July 31, 2012):
NEW DELHI (AP) – India’s energy crisis cascaded over half the country Tuesday when three of its regional grids collapsed, leaving 620 million people without government-supplied electricity in one of the world’s biggest-ever blackouts.
Hundreds of trains stalled across the country and traffic lights went out, causing widespread traffic jams in New Delhi. Electric crematoria stopped operating, some with bodies half burnt, power officials said. Emergency workers rushed generators to coal mines to rescue miners trapped underground.
For your information.
– Interview With Former US Army Intelligence Officer And Bestselling Author James Wesley Rawles: Global Economic Collapse – Gun Confiscation – How To Survive The End Of The World – If The Power Grid Goes Down We Are In A Massive Die Off Situation Where Literally More Than 50% Of The Population Of The Country Could Die In Just One Winter (Video)
– Super Storm = Breakdown Worldwide Grid System = Worldwide Nuclear Meltdown (Before It’s News, May 23, 2012):
Solar SuperStorms Coming…
As the sun boils up increased numbers of sunspots, we here on Earth need to be wary of the resultant solar flares and CME’s that are often hurled in our direction. An X-class solar flare can reach the Earth in just 8 minutes (CME’s, Coronal Mass Ejections, can take days). If an X-class flare… or Coronal Mass Ejection from the Sun… is of sufficient magnitude… it could bring down our electrical power grid and end life as we know it…
for a long period of time… or forever…
A solar Super Storm of the size and duration of the ‘Carrington Event’ of 1859 will down the world’s power grid infrastructure for years… Think about that for a minute… No food… water… gasoline… radio… internet…
In short: almost nothing will be left… Hundreds of millions in Europe and the US would surely die. But this is not all… All nuclear reactors will melt down… because the cooling of the reactors fails…. Thus, a Super Solarstorm has the potential to cause a Fukushima type accident at every nuclear power plant in the world!
And worse… The fuel assemblies in the spent fuel pool will melt… Catch fire, and radioactive fission products will be released into the atmosphere… Because there is at least 10 times more spent fuel then in the reactors… The world will be confronted with the equivalent of thousands nuclear reactors melting down…! Will this be the end of human life on earth…?