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Ongoing PG&E power outages

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  • benjsbenjs Toronto, ONPosts: 8,331
    brianlux said:
    Has the state hired a 3rd party to audit the infrastructure?  If not.  Why have they not?  It seems to me that a comprehensive report needs to be done to identify the infrastructure that urgently needs to be done...most importantly in the high-risk areas.  Maybe this has been done?


    In America we do not pay for new infrastructure. Even if they completely rebuilt the grid in California, there is still some  danger having live wires in a dry and windy climate.
    What's frustrating to me is that when the opportunity arrives, power is not always placed underground.   Calif. Hwy 49, for example, is being re-routed slightly in Diamond Springs but they are going on the cheap and just putting in new wooden power poles and moving the lines instead of going underground.  It's always about what's cheap today.  In the long run, that means actually more expensive. 
    With all due respect, the cost to put high voltage transmission lines underground is extremely high. The lines must be encased in concrete with vaults at intermittent locations.  When one of the conductors of a three phase 138kV (or any other voltage) fails underground it is also more expensive to repair.
    Anything is possible but those costs are passed to the ratepayer. Proper intermittent patrolling (by land or helicopter for deficiencies) of wood pole structures and the conductors, insulators, dampeners and other hardware can ensure those lines are safe and can last decades. Nothing is perfect of course. But it’s unlikely all new construction would go underground.  There is too much shit buried for people to hit as it is. 
    They said a similar thing when, for years, people in Toronto started to realize they were one a dwindling number of metropolitan cities left in Canada with above-ground power lines to avoid the risk of extended outages caused by bad weather conditions. No one listened, saying it would be too expensive. Then we had a period hovering around zero, where it rained for several hours, then radically dropped overnight well below freezing, and everything (power lines included) were encapsulated in ice. Sure, it looked magical, but the damage to the grid was extensive, and some people went without power for days - this happening in a major metropolitan city that supports 6-7 million people. Costs add up over time, and doing things the wrong way often costs the same or more over a long enough time period. Cheaper solutions ask you to pay more later and sometimes suffer now (and onwards) - so are they really cheaper?
    '05 - TO, '06 - TO 1, '08 - NYC 1 & 2, '09 - TO, Chi 1 & 2, '10 - Buffalo, NYC 1 & 2, '11 - TO 1 & 2, Hamilton, '13 - Buffalo, Brooklyn 1 & 2, '15 - Global Citizen, '16 - TO 1 & 2, Chi 2

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,601
    well you do get what you pay for...
    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • 1ThoughtKnown1ThoughtKnown Calgary ABPosts: 3,141
    brianlux said:
    brianlux said:
    Has the state hired a 3rd party to audit the infrastructure?  If not.  Why have they not?  It seems to me that a comprehensive report needs to be done to identify the infrastructure that urgently needs to be done...most importantly in the high-risk areas.  Maybe this has been done?


    In America we do not pay for new infrastructure. Even if they completely rebuilt the grid in California, there is still some  danger having live wires in a dry and windy climate.
    What's frustrating to me is that when the opportunity arrives, power is not always placed underground.   Calif. Hwy 49, for example, is being re-routed slightly in Diamond Springs but they are going on the cheap and just putting in new wooden power poles and moving the lines instead of going underground.  It's always about what's cheap today.  In the long run, that means actually more expensive. 
    With all due respect, the cost to put high voltage transmission lines underground is extremely high. The lines must be encased in concrete with vaults at intermittent locations.  When one of the conductors of a three phase 138kV (or any other voltage) fails underground it is also more expensive to repair.
    Anything is possible but those costs are passed to the ratepayer. Proper intermittent patrolling (by land or helicopter for deficiencies) of wood pole structures and the conductors, insulators, dampeners and other hardware can ensure those lines are safe and can last decades. Nothing is perfect of course. But it’s unlikely all new construction would go underground.  There is too much shit buried for people to hit as it is. 
    First of all, there are plenty of places where power is run underground.  This is nothing new or unusual.

    Secondly, I don't really care about the cost up front.  I'm talking about long-term costs.  Above ground costs are cheaper up front but in the long run?  I don't think so.   What about the cost of repairing downed lines, poles hit by drunk drivers, lightning strikes, erosion and corrosion, etc.?   What about the cost of all the loss of life and property by the Camp Fire in Paradise California in 2018? 

    Cheap is never better.  Cheap is one of the biggest things that will bring down civilization.  I know, this sounds exaggerated, histrionic even.  But not to me.  To me it sounds logical.
    First of all, I never said it was “new”, just far more cost-prohibitive.  This usually requires political-will and the realization that the rate payer will see electric bills rise. It’s that simple. 

    I am not anti-underground powerlines and in most cities it is done, but I should have been more clear on the difference between burying a high voltage transmission line and a lower voltage distribution lines. The cost of a termination pole to bring the power back above ground would probably astound you. 

    As far as cheaper in the long run... well as I said, if you have a conductor blow apart underground (it happens) it is far more difficult to repair (affecting reliability) and expensive to repair.  A good lines crew can get a downed wooden structure power line back up and operational within hours (a couple structures) to days (several downed structures).  Buried line? Takes weeks (I’ve been a part of such projects).

    im just saying it’s a delicate balance. Distribution lines underground makes sense in urban areas, but underground high voltage transmission lines do not.  

  • 1ThoughtKnown1ThoughtKnown Calgary ABPosts: 3,141
    benjs said:
    brianlux said:
    Has the state hired a 3rd party to audit the infrastructure?  If not.  Why have they not?  It seems to me that a comprehensive report needs to be done to identify the infrastructure that urgently needs to be done...most importantly in the high-risk areas.  Maybe this has been done?


    In America we do not pay for new infrastructure. Even if they completely rebuilt the grid in California, there is still some  danger having live wires in a dry and windy climate.
    What's frustrating to me is that when the opportunity arrives, power is not always placed underground.   Calif. Hwy 49, for example, is being re-routed slightly in Diamond Springs but they are going on the cheap and just putting in new wooden power poles and moving the lines instead of going underground.  It's always about what's cheap today.  In the long run, that means actually more expensive. 
    With all due respect, the cost to put high voltage transmission lines underground is extremely high. The lines must be encased in concrete with vaults at intermittent locations.  When one of the conductors of a three phase 138kV (or any other voltage) fails underground it is also more expensive to repair.
    Anything is possible but those costs are passed to the ratepayer. Proper intermittent patrolling (by land or helicopter for deficiencies) of wood pole structures and the conductors, insulators, dampeners and other hardware can ensure those lines are safe and can last decades. Nothing is perfect of course. But it’s unlikely all new construction would go underground.  There is too much shit buried for people to hit as it is. 
    They said a similar thing when, for years, people in Toronto started to realize they were one a dwindling number of metropolitan cities left in Canada with above-ground power lines to avoid the risk of extended outages caused by bad weather conditions. No one listened, saying it would be too expensive. Then we had a period hovering around zero, where it rained for several hours, then radically dropped overnight well below freezing, and everything (power lines included) were encapsulated in ice. Sure, it looked magical, but the damage to the grid was extensive, and some people went without power for days - this happening in a major metropolitan city that supports 6-7 million people. Costs add up over time, and doing things the wrong way often costs the same or more over a long enough time period. Cheaper solutions ask you to pay more later and sometimes suffer now (and onwards) - so are they really cheaper?
    Didn’t Kathryn “Wind” suffer politically for her electrical decisions? All my relatives in Ontario complained non-stop about the rise in electrical bills.  Once again, political-will combined with ratepayer acceptance that bills will rise and anything is possible. 
    Overhead powerlines are not necessarily the “wrong” decision. 

    Now, if Ontario Hydro was to overhaul their distribution system in Toronto and to underground you must be willing to deal with traffic delays, cost overruns, higher electric bills, scheduled outages, etc. Etc.
    Im sure they would love to do it, but is there political will? Not sure Ford is interested. 
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    brianlux said:
    brianlux said:
    Has the state hired a 3rd party to audit the infrastructure?  If not.  Why have they not?  It seems to me that a comprehensive report needs to be done to identify the infrastructure that urgently needs to be done...most importantly in the high-risk areas.  Maybe this has been done?


    In America we do not pay for new infrastructure. Even if they completely rebuilt the grid in California, there is still some  danger having live wires in a dry and windy climate.
    What's frustrating to me is that when the opportunity arrives, power is not always placed underground.   Calif. Hwy 49, for example, is being re-routed slightly in Diamond Springs but they are going on the cheap and just putting in new wooden power poles and moving the lines instead of going underground.  It's always about what's cheap today.  In the long run, that means actually more expensive. 
    With all due respect, the cost to put high voltage transmission lines underground is extremely high. The lines must be encased in concrete with vaults at intermittent locations.  When one of the conductors of a three phase 138kV (or any other voltage) fails underground it is also more expensive to repair.
    Anything is possible but those costs are passed to the ratepayer. Proper intermittent patrolling (by land or helicopter for deficiencies) of wood pole structures and the conductors, insulators, dampeners and other hardware can ensure those lines are safe and can last decades. Nothing is perfect of course. But it’s unlikely all new construction would go underground.  There is too much shit buried for people to hit as it is. 
    First of all, there are plenty of places where power is run underground.  This is nothing new or unusual.

    Secondly, I don't really care about the cost up front.  I'm talking about long-term costs.  Above ground costs are cheaper up front but in the long run?  I don't think so.   What about the cost of repairing downed lines, poles hit by drunk drivers, lightning strikes, erosion and corrosion, etc.?   What about the cost of all the loss of life and property by the Camp Fire in Paradise California in 2018? 

    Cheap is never better.  Cheap is one of the biggest things that will bring down civilization.  I know, this sounds exaggerated, histrionic even.  But not to me.  To me it sounds logical.
    First of all, I never said it was “new”, just far more cost-prohibitive.  This usually requires political-will and the realization that the rate payer will see electric bills rise. It’s that simple. 

    I am not anti-underground powerlines and in most cities it is done, but I should have been more clear on the difference between burying a high voltage transmission line and a lower voltage distribution lines. The cost of a termination pole to bring the power back above ground would probably astound you. 

    As far as cheaper in the long run... well as I said, if you have a conductor blow apart underground (it happens) it is far more difficult to repair (affecting reliability) and expensive to repair.  A good lines crew can get a downed wooden structure power line back up and operational within hours (a couple structures) to days (several downed structures).  Buried line? Takes weeks (I’ve been a part of such projects).

    im just saying it’s a delicate balance. Distribution lines underground makes sense in urban areas, but underground high voltage transmission lines do not.  

    "m just saying it’s a delicate balance. Distribution lines underground makes sense in urban areas, but underground high voltage transmission lines do not. "

    That makes sense.

    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • Lerxst1992Lerxst1992 Posts: 4,008
    brianlux said:
    Has the state hired a 3rd party to audit the infrastructure?  If not.  Why have they not?  It seems to me that a comprehensive report needs to be done to identify the infrastructure that urgently needs to be done...most importantly in the high-risk areas.  Maybe this has been done?


    In America we do not pay for new infrastructure. Even if they completely rebuilt the grid in California, there is still some  danger having live wires in a dry and windy climate.
    What's frustrating to me is that when the opportunity arrives, power is not always placed underground.   Calif. Hwy 49, for example, is being re-routed slightly in Diamond Springs but they are going on the cheap and just putting in new wooden power poles and moving the lines instead of going underground.  It's always about what's cheap today.  In the long run, that means actually more expensive. 

    In the NY area, like California, there is plenty of money.Yet the roads and bridges are overcrowded and in disrepair. Same for mass transit.

    I have no reason to think utilities are not handled in similar fashion .

    In America its about maximizing wealth for the wealthy. Not what's best for the masses, let alone the poor.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    brianlux said:
    Has the state hired a 3rd party to audit the infrastructure?  If not.  Why have they not?  It seems to me that a comprehensive report needs to be done to identify the infrastructure that urgently needs to be done...most importantly in the high-risk areas.  Maybe this has been done?


    In America we do not pay for new infrastructure. Even if they completely rebuilt the grid in California, there is still some  danger having live wires in a dry and windy climate.
    What's frustrating to me is that when the opportunity arrives, power is not always placed underground.   Calif. Hwy 49, for example, is being re-routed slightly in Diamond Springs but they are going on the cheap and just putting in new wooden power poles and moving the lines instead of going underground.  It's always about what's cheap today.  In the long run, that means actually more expensive. 

    In the NY area, like California, there is plenty of money.Yet the roads and bridges are overcrowded and in disrepair. Same for mass transit.

    I have no reason to think utilities are not handled in similar fashion .

    In America its about maximizing wealth for the wealthy. Not what's best for the masses, let alone the poor.
    Sadly, this rings true.
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • 1ThoughtKnown1ThoughtKnown Calgary ABPosts: 3,141
    brianlux said:
    brianlux said:
    brianlux said:
    Has the state hired a 3rd party to audit the infrastructure?  If not.  Why have they not?  It seems to me that a comprehensive report needs to be done to identify the infrastructure that urgently needs to be done...most importantly in the high-risk areas.  Maybe this has been done?


    In America we do not pay for new infrastructure. Even if they completely rebuilt the grid in California, there is still some  danger having live wires in a dry and windy climate.
    What's frustrating to me is that when the opportunity arrives, power is not always placed underground.   Calif. Hwy 49, for example, is being re-routed slightly in Diamond Springs but they are going on the cheap and just putting in new wooden power poles and moving the lines instead of going underground.  It's always about what's cheap today.  In the long run, that means actually more expensive. 
    With all due respect, the cost to put high voltage transmission lines underground is extremely high. The lines must be encased in concrete with vaults at intermittent locations.  When one of the conductors of a three phase 138kV (or any other voltage) fails underground it is also more expensive to repair.
    Anything is possible but those costs are passed to the ratepayer. Proper intermittent patrolling (by land or helicopter for deficiencies) of wood pole structures and the conductors, insulators, dampeners and other hardware can ensure those lines are safe and can last decades. Nothing is perfect of course. But it’s unlikely all new construction would go underground.  There is too much shit buried for people to hit as it is. 
    First of all, there are plenty of places where power is run underground.  This is nothing new or unusual.

    Secondly, I don't really care about the cost up front.  I'm talking about long-term costs.  Above ground costs are cheaper up front but in the long run?  I don't think so.   What about the cost of repairing downed lines, poles hit by drunk drivers, lightning strikes, erosion and corrosion, etc.?   What about the cost of all the loss of life and property by the Camp Fire in Paradise California in 2018? 

    Cheap is never better.  Cheap is one of the biggest things that will bring down civilization.  I know, this sounds exaggerated, histrionic even.  But not to me.  To me it sounds logical.
    First of all, I never said it was “new”, just far more cost-prohibitive.  This usually requires political-will and the realization that the rate payer will see electric bills rise. It’s that simple. 

    I am not anti-underground powerlines and in most cities it is done, but I should have been more clear on the difference between burying a high voltage transmission line and a lower voltage distribution lines. The cost of a termination pole to bring the power back above ground would probably astound you. 

    As far as cheaper in the long run... well as I said, if you have a conductor blow apart underground (it happens) it is far more difficult to repair (affecting reliability) and expensive to repair.  A good lines crew can get a downed wooden structure power line back up and operational within hours (a couple structures) to days (several downed structures).  Buried line? Takes weeks (I’ve been a part of such projects).

    im just saying it’s a delicate balance. Distribution lines underground makes sense in urban areas, but underground high voltage transmission lines do not.  

    "m just saying it’s a delicate balance. Distribution lines underground makes sense in urban areas, but underground high voltage transmission lines do not. "

    That makes sense.

    To be quite honest, I thought my comments about the connectivity of the North American grid made the most sense lol.
    the model is already being used elsewhere and would be very advantageous to California.  We have plenty of hydro-electric power capability along with a boom in wind and solar generation.  There just as to be more double-circuit high voltage lines constructed to sell the power across the 49th. 
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,601
    from the article, 3 investor owned utilities for California?

    Good on the tribe for innovating.


    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    mickeyrat said:
    from the article, 3 investor owned utilities for California?

    Good on the tribe for innovating.



    I would love to read this but the article is blocked by a "need to subscribe" notice.
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,601
    January 1, 2020
    Add to list

    BLUE LAKE, Calif. — After months of wildfires, an essential question in a warming, windy California is this: How does the state keep the lights on? A tiny Native American tribe, settled here in the Mad River Valley, has an answer.

    Build your own utility.

    The Blue Lake Rancheria tribe has constructed a microgrid on its 100-acre reservation, a complex of solar panels, storage batteries and distribution lines that operates as part of the broader utility network or completely independent of it. It is a state-of-the-art system — and an indicator of what might be in California’s future.

    In early October, Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to more than 2 million people across Northern California, including all those who live here in rural Humboldt County, where redwood forests fringe the wild edge of the continent. The shut-off aimed to reduce the risk of wildfire, and as the region sat in darkness, the tribe’s multimillion-dollar investment in its power system glowed.

    Responding to public needs, the tribe transformed a hotel conference room into a newsroom so the local paper could publish. It used hotel guest rooms to take in eight critically ill patients from the county’s Health and Human Services Department. The reservation’s gas station and mini mart were among the only ones open, drawing a nearly mile-long line of cars.

    The Blue Lake Rancheria served more than 10,000 people during the day-long outage, by some estimates, roughly 8 percent of Humboldt’s population. And for a government that had largely ignored the tribe for more than a century, the tribe suddenly became a vital part of its emergency response.

     

    “The irony was not lost on us,” said Jason Ramos, a member of the tribal council who ran emergency operations during the blackout. “When these power cuts started, we looked like geniuses for what we had done. But in truth, we didn’t really see them coming when we made our decision.”

    California, a hive of rapid private-sector innovation, is adjusting slowly to the accelerating changes in its climate. The sharp transition between heavy rains and hot, windy weather has primed the landscape for wildfires, which have burned larger and deadlier in recent years than at any time in history.

    After an autumn of power cuts and economic losses, the reliability of California’s electricity grid and of its three largest investor-owned utilities is among the most pressing public policy issues facing Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). The state lags behind some on the East Coast, where Tropical Storm Irene swamped towns in 2011, causing blackouts and a rethinking of how to strengthen a vulnerable electrical grid.

    The ideas under consideration here are complicated by the bankruptcy of PG&E, the state’s largest investor-owned utility. All would require a measure of public money — such as a state takeover of the grid or breaking up utilities into municipal agencies — and changes to a regulatory system yet to adapt to California’s new climate-driven threats.

     
     

    “It’s like we have a high schooler stuck in the sixth grade,” said state Sen. Henry I. Stern (D-Canoga Park), who represents a district that has experienced several fires and intentional blackouts this fall.

    Stern, who lost his Malibu home in the 2018 Woolsey Fire, pushed through legislation that year that directs state regulators to revise the rules around microgrid use to make it easier for private-utility customers to use them. Then-Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who installed a microgrid on his Colusa County ranch, signed the bill, which sets a December 2020 deadline for the new regulations to be in place.

    “We’ve got a mature technology stuck in a far less mature regulatory system,” Stern said. “It’s as much a culture shift as an engineering challenge that we face now.”

    [PG&E helped fund the careers of Calif. governor and his wife. Now he accuses the utility of ‘corporate greed.’]

    No one keeps count of how many microgrids operate in the state. But many large university campuses, medical centers and public-safety operations have them.

    The idea is simple. Microgrids are connected to the larger utility system when the electricity is on, contributing power in some cases. When there is a power cut, microgrids can become “islands” — disconnect from the system and use solar-generated energy stored in batteries to operate independently.

    The chief obstacle to their wider use here is cost and regulations that make them prohibitively expensive for most private customers.

    The Blue Lake Rancheria operates a 102-room hotel and casino, and the revenue helped pay for its $6.3 million microgrid, which keeps the businesses and the tribal government building open during blackouts. A state grant secured with help from the Schatz Energy Research Center, a clean-energy institute affiliated with Humboldt State University, also funded the project.

    A major issue for microgrids is a rule that prohibits private-utility customers from selling electricity “over the fence” — on the public market — because they are not regulated by the state.

    The ability to do so would make the economics far more feasible for neighborhoods, community groups and private customers interested in building microgrids, especially in rural areas, as a backup to the increasingly unreliable utility-provided electricity. One compromise would be to allow some private microgrid electricity sales only during blackouts, a step other states have taken.

    “As you think about doing these systems, you have to ask how much they will cost and how do you continue to fund the rest of the grid,” said a senior official in the Newsom administration who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe ongoing government discussions to improve electricity reliability. “Microgrids are a tool, they have a role, and they must be one of many things we have to look at. But they are not a panacea.”

    The public policy considerations are similar to those that define the debate around school vouchers: If too many children take public money to pay private-school tuition, what then becomes of the public school system? State regulators say the three utilities need almost $30 billion a year to operate.

    Even those who favor more relaxed regulations worry that, down the road, too many microgrid users could create an electricity system of haves and have-nots in a state where that divide is already canyon-deep in housing, incomes and other aspects of daily life.

    “Utilities have had the same business model for 100 years, and boy, is it hard for them to change,” said Tom Williard, principal of Sage Energy Consulting, which advises businesses on the use of microgrids. “But this is an issue that must be addressed quickly.”



    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 20,601

    A rude realization

    Humboldt County has always considered itself an off-the-grid kind of place, the remote destination of a post-Summer of Love hippie migration that brought thousands here to live off the land.

    A renowned marijuana industry emerged in the hard-to-reach canyons and valleys, and solar panels and generators helped keep the “grows” hidden from the law. That outlaw culture and black-market economy is now struggling to adapt, like the power system itself, to the regulations that come with a now-legal cannabis market.

    But the October power shut-off, followed three weeks later by an even longer outage, revealed just how reliant Humboldt is on a vast, regionwide electricity grid.

    While low humidity and high winds made Shasta County to the east a high-fire risk in October, cool, damp Humboldt faced no fire threat at all. Yet to protect Shasta, PG&E had to cut off transmission lines that also serve Humboldt.

    “We always get the ‘What is going on there?’ question from businesses we talk to,” said Gregg Foster, executive director of the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission in Humboldt. “But we didn’t know we were tied to a grid hundreds of miles away, and now we’re looking at why their issues have become our problems.”

    Those with generators when the lights went out flipped them on, creating fire risks of their own.

    On the city of Arcata’s central square, where the bead shops, cannabis oil vendors and vintage clothing stores attract a steady flow of tourists, owners of the Big Blue Cafe turned on their generator in the minutes after the power went out for the second time in October.

    A few hours later, the popular diner was in flames, the generator later found to have vibrated across the floor to a wall, where the hot exhaust sparked the fire. The restaurant and its two neighbors are still closed.

    The makeup of Humboldt’s population also is a barrier to the large-scale adoption of microgrids. It is more transient than most, with a homeownership rate below the national average. Landlords and renters are far less likely to invest in a new, expensive electricity system. The median household income of $42,000 also is well below the national average.

    But use of microgrids is growing with the help of state money.

    At the California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport, designed during World War II to train pilots how to fly in fog, an $11 million microgrid project is in the works. It is nearly twice as expensive as Blue Lake’s microgrid but five times more powerful, a sign the costs for the systems are coming down.

    When finished next year the microgrid will provide electricity to the airport, a U.S. Coast Guard Air Station, a nearby animal shelter and a few other nearby businesses during blackouts.

     

    A place for retreat

    Rancheria is the name the federal government gave to a series of small Native American reservations around the state’s far-northern coast, and Blue Lake’s reservation is indeed small. So is the tribe — 50 members, now, after more than a century of federal recognition.

    The Mad River Valley flooded frequently until the 1950s, when the government built a levee to contain the unruly river. Now the tribe’s land sits between county sewage ponds and a city dump, although the steep-valley landscape on a clear winter day remains breathtaking.

    “For a long time, we have had to rely on ourselves. You couldn’t count on help from the federal or the state government,” said Ramos, the tribal council member. “The sense of tribal sovereignty is strong.”

    Of California’s many natural plagues, it was not fire but tsunami that focused the tribe’s interest on creating an independent power supply.

    In early March 2011, an earthquake shook Japan, triggering the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The force created a tsunami that moved across the Pacific and flooded California’s northern coast, including parts of Humboldt.

    Now, tsunami warning signs line Humboldt’s coastal roads. But the tribe noticed that, when residents sought higher ground at the time, many of them congregated in and around Blue Lake above the flood’s high-water mark.

    “The tsunami was really a wake-up call about how people experience a disaster here,” said Jana Ganion, the tribe’s energy director. “We realized that people are going to come here for resources.”

    When the lights went out in October, Heather Muller, emergency manager for the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, said the agency began contacting its nearly 150 patients who use medical devices that rely on power.

    Some were admitted to the hospital, which had its own emergency power. Muller said the staff identified eight patients “who were not sick enough to be hospitalized but could possibly die overnight without power for their devices.” They were checked into the reservation’s hotel.

    Journalists at the daily newspaper, the Times-Standard, needed power to put out the paper. Five journalists worked through the night in a reservation conference room, publishing updates online and even getting designs for the printed edition to Chico, a city 200 miles to the southeast.

    “On a normal night, they send those pages back to us and we print them here,” said Marc Valles, the Times-Standard’s managing editor. “This was not a normal night.”

    The paper’s delivery trucks in Humboldt met trucks from Chico halfway, picking up the morning edition and delivering it on time. With PG&E “telling public officials one thing, and the public another,” Valles said, it was especially important to have the paper’s reporting as a guide.

    “People are skeptical enough of distant officials already, and these mixed messages really didn’t help,” he said. “That’s true anywhere in America, but more so here.”

     

    The greening grid

    Solar panels cover two fenced-in acres behind the tribe’s hotel and casino, and stacks of Tesla batteries sit in the shade of the building. Across from the hotel, the tribe is growing its own food in greenhouses. It turns cooking oil from the hotel kitchen into biofuel.

    Ganion estimates that the microgrid decreases the tribe’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 200 tons a year, pushing toward the tribe’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral over the next decade. In addition, by selling energy to the broader grid during peak-use hours, the tribe saves roughly $200,000 a year in PG&E costs.

    And it is expanding its self-run utility.

    The roof of the Play Station 777 gas and mini mart is covered in solar panels, the power source for a second microgrid set to come online soon. The storage batteries are tucked behind the store, on the edge of the parking lot, a paved dot in a river valley changing like the state around it.

    “The main culprit here is climate change,” Ganion said. “When we look for the solutions to the wildfires and the power shut-offs, examples of our changing climate, we must make these decisions through the lens of clean energy.”


    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

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  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    Ah, thank you for posting the article.  I'll read the who thing later when I get a chance, but just skimming a bit, I like the idea of smaller, independent power grids.  A few folks around here have talked about it.  Might we worth pursuing!
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    I am totally stressed out today.  We're heading into a major heat wave and PG&E just sent us a message saying power will be shut down Tuesday and Wednesday.  High heat, no power, extreme fire danger.  If there weren't things we have to keep an eye on here (i.e. the cat, grabbing essentials if we have to leave in an emergency, I would just head up to the north coast.  No can do.  Gonna be a hell of a week.
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • Meltdown99Meltdown99 None Of Your Business...Posts: 8,204
    edited September 2020
    brianlux said:
    I am totally stressed out today.  We're heading into a major heat wave and PG&E just sent us a message saying power will be shut down Tuesday and Wednesday.  High heat, no power, extreme fire danger.  If there weren't things we have to keep an eye on here (i.e. the cat, grabbing essentials if we have to leave in an emergency, I would just head up to the north coast.  No can do.  Gonna be a hell of a week.
    Give Ontario a call.  Apparently we produce so much hydro we give it  away...I wish we could hook you up...
  • Meltdown99Meltdown99 None Of Your Business...Posts: 8,204
    May be time to look into solar?  A generator?
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    May be time to look into solar?  A generator?
    Would love solar but too much money.
    We have a small generator which will save the food in the fridge.  The irony is, it can get ungodly hot in here without AC and it's too smokey to be outdoors so if the power goes out, the food will be saved but we will be cooked!
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • Lerxst1992Lerxst1992 Posts: 4,008
    May be time to look into solar?  A generator?
    you’ll need batteries as well as you can’t power your house directly from solar panels without being connected to the grid. A generator without a nat gas hookup can be tricky and potential for danger.

    in early August we had a strong tropical storm with gusts up to 80mph that knocked out about 40% of power and it took 8 days to get it back on. People were furious but I am not sure what any utility could do about storms like that or 120 degrees out west. In my area we have millions of residents with tens of millions of trees everywhere. Mix that with 80mph winds and you get lots of outages and a time consuming recovery.

    Maybe the answer is to have states buy utilities and see if they could do any better. I am convinced the current setup (states have complete authority and control over utilities but utilities get all of the blame for outages) exists for the sole reason of giving politicians someone to blame for nature doing what nature does with a climate crisis 42% of the country pretends doesn’t exist.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    May be time to look into solar?  A generator?
    you’ll need batteries as well as you can’t power your house directly from solar panels without being connected to the grid. A generator without a nat gas hookup can be tricky and potential for danger.

    in early August we had a strong tropical storm with gusts up to 80mph that knocked out about 40% of power and it took 8 days to get it back on. People were furious but I am not sure what any utility could do about storms like that or 120 degrees out west. In my area we have millions of residents with tens of millions of trees everywhere. Mix that with 80mph winds and you get lots of outages and a time consuming recovery.

    Maybe the answer is to have states buy utilities and see if they could do any better. I am convinced the current setup (states have complete authority and control over utilities but utilities get all of the blame for outages) exists for the sole reason of giving politicians someone to blame for nature doing what nature does with a climate crisis 42% of the country pretends doesn’t exist.

    Good points all around, Lerxst.

    Yeah, solar power here is only good when PG&E is up and running or one has the costly backup batteries.  Cost of solar power plus batteries isn't in the cards for this household.

    As far as generators go, I thought about whole house generator but they are too costly plus the added need for a lot more combustible fuel one one sort or another- with the fire danger here- not a good idea.

    I do hold our power company accountable for some (not all, for sure, but some) of the fires and outages.  It's pretty well documented that the company has not kept up with fixable infrastructure.  After Paradise burned, they amped up repairs that should have and could have been done all along.  I have no doubt that politicians are partly to blame, but so who are those who are in cahoots with them- and almost  all large institutions and corporations are.

    Nature, I blame for nothing.  Mother Nature is kicking our collective asses out here in the west and we are the culprit.  This shit did not happen to indigenous peoples.  It will very likely get worse until it gets better.  It's unnerving as hell to live on this edge.

    Shit, 42% still not convinced about climate change, huh?  Well, there's some deep and heavy denial for you.  How far do the fingers of their minds bend before they finally cry, "Uncle!"?
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • Lerxst1992Lerxst1992 Posts: 4,008
    Hope it’s getting safer out west Bri. 
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    Hope it’s getting safer out west Bri. 

    Thanks, L.  I will be SO glad when the first rain comes!

    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    Just got word that PG&E is going to shut off our power this afternoon for a couple days (thus shutting down my business again and leaving us in the dark) due to a little wind coming out this way.  Of course, had they maintained their equipment properly all along instead of lining pockets, none of this would be a problem.
    Pardon me while I rant for a moment...

    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    Here we go again.
    If you ever had any notion about moving here to "groovy" (it's not, it's lame), California, be sure you're OK with having your power shut off at least a few- if not several- times each years for at least a couple of days. We're being told our power will go off this afternoon and will not be back up until late Tuesday. I have to shut down by book business ever time this happens and my wife's store in town either closes or operates by flashlights and lanterns (not a great way to browse books). No power is better than more wildfires, but if PG&E had kept their equipment maintained and lines cleared (they didn't and that is why the town of Paradise burned to the ground), we wouldn't be doing this so often. It gets old!
    https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/10/23/map-where-the-pge-outages-will-be/

    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • Meltdown99Meltdown99 None Of Your Business...Posts: 8,204

    Make everyday life easy with a Honda generator, trusted since 1965


    https://powerequipment.honda.ca/generators
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838

    Make everyday life easy with a Honda generator, trusted since 1965


    https://powerequipment.honda.ca/generators

    We have a small Honda generator that keeps the fridge going and one light.  But we are on a well, so no water.  And no heat (it won't get hot enough for A/C, so that's good).  I have to shut down my book business for another 2 1/2 days.  No TV/ movies.

    And (almost) worst of all, no playing records!  :anguished:

    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • hedonisthedonist standing on the edge of foreverPosts: 23,049
    brianlux said:
    Here we go again.
    If you ever had any notion about moving here to "groovy" (it's not, it's lame), California, be sure you're OK with having your power shut off at least a few- if not several- times each years for at least a couple of days. We're being told our power will go off this afternoon and will not be back up until late Tuesday. I have to shut down by book business ever time this happens and my wife's store in town either closes or operates by flashlights and lanterns (not a great way to browse books). No power is better than more wildfires, but if PG&E had kept their equipment maintained and lines cleared (they didn't and that is why the town of Paradise burned to the ground), we wouldn't be doing this so often. It gets old!
    https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/10/23/map-where-the-pge-outages-will-be/

    You would think the council member(s) involves in this could do something. Maybe none are up for re-election?

    it happens somewhat fairly regularly in a nearby location. Notice given or not, it’s ridiculous. 
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    hedonist said:
    brianlux said:
    Here we go again.
    If you ever had any notion about moving here to "groovy" (it's not, it's lame), California, be sure you're OK with having your power shut off at least a few- if not several- times each years for at least a couple of days. We're being told our power will go off this afternoon and will not be back up until late Tuesday. I have to shut down by book business ever time this happens and my wife's store in town either closes or operates by flashlights and lanterns (not a great way to browse books). No power is better than more wildfires, but if PG&E had kept their equipment maintained and lines cleared (they didn't and that is why the town of Paradise burned to the ground), we wouldn't be doing this so often. It gets old!
    https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/10/23/map-where-the-pge-outages-will-be/

    You would think the council member(s) involves in this could do something. Maybe none are up for re-election?

    it happens somewhat fairly regularly in a nearby location. Notice given or not, it’s ridiculous. 

    Gosh, I really don't know how government and PG&E intertwine.  Good question.

    I will say, at least PG&E gives us some advance notice with these planned outages.  We also get unplanned outages here once in a while, but most are planned when any wind is predicted over the summits where the main power lines run.  I'm told that if we had a local power company, outages would occur much less frequently.  But I'm not holding my breath for that to happen any time.

    Time to go shut down my business.

    Have a good beginning of the week, Jammers!
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    We caught a break!  23 hours later, power restored!  Hallefuckinlujah! :smiley:
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










  • Meltdown99Meltdown99 None Of Your Business...Posts: 8,204
    brianlux said:
    We caught a break!  23 hours later, power restored!  Hallefuckinlujah! :smiley:
    Do not take offense.  But California is starting to resemble a banana republic...those places you expect hydro disruptions.  But California???  Not a good look.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 33,838
    brianlux said:
    We caught a break!  23 hours later, power restored!  Hallefuckinlujah! :smiley:
    Do not take offense.  But California is starting to resemble a banana republic...those places you expect hydro disruptions.  But California???  Not a good look.

    No offense taken.  There are a lot of great things to be said for California- beautiful coast line, great mountains, superb deserts.  But this state has been harmed by being over-populated (relative to the amount of rainfall), abused by encroachment on natural habitat, draining of aquifers, turning absolutely gorgeous places like Yosemite into crowded theme parks, and saturating with agricultural related chemicals, and mismanaged through greedy power companies putting profits before customer service.  Not to mention pollution from outside sources such as oil spills that have darkened the beach sands and global warming which has increased the devastating wildfires we have seen in recent years.

    Before the Gold Rush of 1849, California was a nearly pristine Garden of Eden.  A mere 170 years later it is (in many ways at least) a disaster. 
    “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”
    -James Allen










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