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  1. #1

    Default The Vulnerable Grid

    Have I just started noticing it or have the powers that be started getting more serious about our power grid? Recently, I've seen several articles/televised discussions about how vulnerable grid is to solar flares, terrorism, EMP, cyberwarfare, etc. I like fantasy literature (oh stop, people) and was looking for a new book to read. Amazon recommended one that dealt with the grid going down and it about freaked me out. I'd have to give up OKCtalk, for crying out loud. And food.

    Recently saw where there was an attack at a California power plant (mixed opinions as to whether it was mere vandalism or a terrorist t attack - someone shot up a bunch of transformers). Apparently, it took 27 days to repair it.

    Anyone out there with some insight to how vulnerable we are? Is this no big deal or is it a real problem?

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    I had posted several comments about it, get ready for the tin foil comments. The sheeple don't want to hear the truth.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by PennyQuilts View Post
    Have I just started noticing it or have the powers that be started getting more serious about our power grid? Recently, I've seen several articles/televised discussions about how vulnerable grid is to solar flares, terrorism, EMP, cyberwarfare, etc. I like fantasy literature (oh stop, people) and was looking for a new book to read. Amazon recommended one that dealt with the grid going down and it about freaked me out. I'd have to give up OKCtalk, for crying out loud. And food.

    Recently saw where there was an attack at a California power plant (mixed opinions as to whether it was mere vandalism or a terrorist t attack - someone shot up a bunch of transformers). Apparently, it took 27 days to repair it.

    Anyone out there with some insight to how vulnerable we are? Is this no big deal or is it a real problem?
    U.S. Power Grid Vulnerable to Enemy Attack, Lawmakers Say - Bloomberg

    Panel: Electrical grid vulnerable to terrorist attack - ABC News

    No tinfoil here - just Bloomberg and ABC reporting concern among lawmakers.

    From one of the articles....just a few paragraphs...

    It sounds like a science-fiction disaster: A nuclear weapon is detonated miles above the Earth's atmosphere and knocks out power from New York City to Chicago for weeks, maybe months.

    Experts and lawmakers are increasingly warning that terrorists or enemy states could wage that exact type of attack, idling electricity grids and disrupting everything from communications networks to military defenses.

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is pushing Congress for authority to require power companies to take protective steps, which could include building metal shields around sensitive computer equipment.

    An expert panel that Congress created to study such an attack says it would halt banking, transportation, food, water and emergency services and "might result in defeat of our military forces."

    "The consequences would be catastrophic," said Joseph McClelland, director of the energy commission's Office of Electric Reliability.

    "It would bring down the whole grid and cost between $1 trillion and $2 trillion" to repair, said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md. Full recovery could take up to 10 years, he said.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    That freaks me out. Have I mentioned that?

  5. #5

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    The report Above details the attack , it was defiantly not vandalism it was an attack

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    I know these utility lines that are above ground do not help at all. Surely they would be less susceptible to CME's if they were underground, wouldn't be impacted by wind, ice, and other natural disasters, and wouldn't be at risk for human mistakes such as someone running into to one with a car or something. They are ugly and we live in the 21st century and they need to be buried.

    As for the national power grid, I believe it needs to be updated and have a new smart grid implemented. I believe it will cost trillions though and take place over a couple decades. The new air traffic control system the FAA is upgrading is the same way, but I'm not even sure if they have started that yet.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    This is the exact reason I want an in home generator. The one I have now only does half the house. This is definitely something that should be of concern for people.

    Penny, not sure about you, I know you live close to me, but last year the May 31st storms knocked my power out for 5 days. That was one of the hardest things I've dealt with and can't imagine having that happen for months while the grid got back online.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Zuplar View Post
    This is the exact reason I want an in home generator. The one I have now only does half the house. This is definitely something that should be of concern for people.

    Penny, not sure about you, I know you live close to me, but last year the May 31st storms knocked my power out for 5 days. That was one of the hardest things I've dealt with and can't imagine having that happen for months while the grid got back online.
    8500 will get you a nice whole house generator. My neighbor had one installed two years ago and he's had to use it quite a few times already.

  10. #10
    Prunepicker Guest

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    It said "rounds from high powered assault weapons." In other words it could
    have been a Winchester or Remington deer rifle.

    At any rate, the attack showed us how vulnerable some power grids are. It
    may be that California is too concerned with catering to illegals than with
    securing the power grid.

  11. Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    I know these utility lines that are above ground do not help at all. Surely they would be less susceptible to CME's if they were underground, wouldn't be impacted by wind, ice, and other natural disasters, and wouldn't be at risk for human mistakes such as someone running into to one with a car or something. They are ugly and we live in the 21st century and they need to be buried.
    Are you farmiliar with the nasty details of just how easily high-voltage electricity can jump through air? To bury one of those huge three-wire lines such as the one that crosses NW Hiway near Council Road would require creating a tunnel almost big enough to drive a Harley through, for each of the three wires. I doubt that our current national debt would be enough to do that for the 50 miles or more that the line covers, much less for all the others all over the country.

    The only practical way to get rid of those really massive power lines is to decentralize the generating capability, but then you run into the NIMBY population and lose the current economy of scale. Home generators are the ultimate decentralization, but face massive resistance -- not to mention environmental damage by running the (fossil-fueled) motors 24/7.

    Yes, the grid is vulnerable. Coronal Mass Ejections have already caused a few regional failures, and a sufficently powerful EMP from a high-altitude nuclear burst could indeed fry almost all our devices -- but these are the prices we pay for technological advancement. At least we no longer have locomotive boiler explosions, or buffalo stampedes, to threaten us...

  12. #12
    Prunepicker Guest

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    Jim Kyle is very, very smart.

  13. #13

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Zuplar View Post
    This is the exact reason I want an in home generator. The one I have now only does half the house. This is definitely something that should be of concern for people.

    Penny, not sure about you, I know you live close to me, but last year the May 31st storms knocked my power out for 5 days. That was one of the hardest things I've dealt with and can't imagine having that happen for months while the grid got back online.
    We bought a a portable generator and had the house wired to accept it. The first full day of power loss on May 31 a part failed on our brand new generator and it took a couple of days to track down a replacement. Ugh. We only lost power for three days. Several hours after we were back up and running the power came on. You get almost used to no power but when using a generator, you sure start realizing how much power you're using/sometimes wasting.

  14. #14
    Prunepicker Guest

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    I've thought about getting a generator that's connected to the natural gas line.

    I don't know. It sounds good but I believe I'd rather use my "camping" or
    "Boy Scout" skills to get me through a few inconvenient days, maybe a
    week or so.

  15. #15

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kyle View Post
    Are you farmiliar with the nasty details of just how easily high-voltage electricity can jump through air? To bury one of those huge three-wire lines such as the one that crosses NW Hiway near Council Road would require creating a tunnel almost big enough to drive a Harley through, for each of the three wires. I doubt that our current national debt would be enough to do that for the 50 miles or more that the line covers, much less for all the others all over the country.

    The only practical way to get rid of those really massive power lines is to decentralize the generating capability, but then you run into the NIMBY population and lose the current economy of scale. Home generators are the ultimate decentralization, but face massive resistance -- not to mention environmental damage by running the (fossil-fueled) motors 24/7.

    Yes, the grid is vulnerable. Coronal Mass Ejections have already caused a few regional failures, and a sufficently powerful EMP from a high-altitude nuclear burst could indeed fry almost all our devices -- but these are the prices we pay for technological advancement. At least we no longer have locomotive boiler explosions, or buffalo stampedes, to threaten us...
    To be clear, I am talking ab out these




    not these




    I am very aware of how much electricity can leak into the air, but these smaller city utility lines can be buried with not astronomical cost. It is being done all over Dallas... when I was in Orlando and Port Charlotte in Florida, they had them buried. It can be done and should be.

    Also, I understand that a powerful enough CME would overload them regardless due to the power substations being above ground and exposed, but I was more thinking along the lines of other natural disasters.

  16. Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    I am very aware of how much electricity can leak into the air, but these smaller city utility lines can be buried with not astronomical cost. It is being done all over Dallas... when I was in Orlando and Port Charlotte in Florida, they had them buried. It can be done and should be.
    And they are, here, in at least a few areas. My own service comes through a line that's buried for a few hundred feet, after traveling most of its route in the air. There's a pole pig up on NW 122 that feeds the underground line with a couple of kilovolts, and additional above-ground transformers every few hundred feet south of there to step it down to the 230/115 that feeds the homes.

    A few years ago something went wrong in that system (possibly a hungry gopher -- they used to black out part of the 240 loop quite regularly) and blew out not one but two of the ground-level transformers. All service on my side of the street vanished, but OG&E got on it immediately and had us back up and running in less than 12 hours total -- which was quite okay considering that they had to bring in one of the replacement transformers from Tulsa or thereabouts!

    And in that massive ice storm a dozen years ago, having part of the system buried didn't help a bit when entire square miles got blacked out by loss of upstream lines...

  17. #17

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kyle View Post
    And they are, here, in at least a few areas. My own service comes through a line that's buried for a few hundred feet, after traveling most of its route in the air. There's a pole pig up on NW 122 that feeds the underground line with a couple of kilovolts, and additional above-ground transformers every few hundred feet south of there to step it down to the 230/115 that feeds the homes.

    A few years ago something went wrong in that system (possibly a hungry gopher -- they used to black out part of the 240 loop quite regularly) and blew out not one but two of the ground-level transformers. All service on my side of the street vanished, but OG&E got on it immediately and had us back up and running in less than 12 hours total -- which was quite okay considering that they had to bring in one of the replacement transformers from Tulsa or thereabouts!

    And in that massive ice storm a dozen years ago, having part of the system buried didn't help a bit when entire square miles got blacked out by loss of upstream lines...
    Well, those are extremely good points. The other thing, and this is more of a personal opinion than anything else, is they are flat out ugly and take away from the natural beauty of an area.

    Edmond just recently widened a portion of Covell to four lanes with a future ROW for 6 lanes. You'd think if they wanted to really make it look nice, they would've buried the lines, imo.

  18. Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    PP,
    Do your "Boy Scout" skills tell you how to get water that is 142 feet below ground? I'm on a well and when I have had power outages in the past, I packed up and moved to the Holiday Inn. The last time I spent eigh days in hotels.
    C. T.
    Quote Originally Posted by Prunepicker View Post
    I've thought about getting a generator that's connected to the natural gas line.

    I don't know. It sounds good but I believe I'd rather use my "camping" or
    "Boy Scout" skills to get me through a few inconvenient days, maybe a
    week or so.

  19. Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    By the way, I started a thread in the "Ask Anything About OKC" forum when I was shopping for generators. The link is - http://www.okctalk.com/ask-anything-...enerators.html
    If you are interested in generators, there's some good information there.
    C. T.

  20. #20
    Prunepicker Guest

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by ctchandler View Post
    PP,
    Do your "Boy Scout" skills tell you how to get water that is 142 feet below
    ground? I'm on a well and when I have had power outages in the past, I
    packed up and moved to the Holiday Inn. The last time I spent eight days
    in hotels.
    C. T.
    No, they don't but they do tell me to have a source for water in emergencies.
    I've got water stored. I'd like to have a well.

  21. Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    PP,
    You can't flush the toilet or bathe on emergency water sources unless you have a few 55 gallon drums sitting around. Trust me, you don't want a well. Hard water, pump going out (I just spent $1,200 last month) and not sure how good the water supply is. I have emergency water but it's hard to plan for an extended outage, and I don't have enough to flush toilets or bathe.
    C. T.
    Quote Originally Posted by Prunepicker View Post
    No, they don't but they do tell me to have a source for water in emergencies.
    I've got water stored. I'd like to have a well.

  22. #22

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Prunepicker View Post
    No, they don't but they do tell me to have a source for water in emergencies.
    I've got water stored. I'd like to have a well.
    Buy a life straw also, it will allow you to drink from a pond or creek without boiling the water first.

  23. Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    As for the 'sniper attack' on the power grid story above...... My money is on nothing more organized than some nut(s) with their guns and too much time on their hands. Slight possibility of some local grown fringe group - but nothing more. It isn't Al Qaeda doing their best Jurassic Park Raptor rendition of "Yes, but they never attack the same place twice. They were testing the fences for weaknesses, systematically. And they remembered...."

  24. #24

    Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by BBatesokc View Post
    As for the 'sniper attack' on the power grid story above...... My money is on nothing more organized than some nut(s) with their guns and too much time on their hands. Slight possibility of some local grown fringe group - but nothing more. It isn't Al Qaeda doing their best Jurassic Park Raptor rendition of "Yes, but they never attack the same place twice. They were testing the fences for weaknesses, systematically. And they remembered...."
    You're probably right bb , and I'm sure only Mexicans sneak into our country. no one else with worse intentions other than working in the orchards.

  25. Default Re: The Vulnerable Grid

    Quote Originally Posted by Garin View Post
    You're probably right bb , and I'm sure only Mexicans sneak into our country. no one else with worse intentions other than working in the orchards.
    One has ZERo to do with the other - but nice total avoidance there.

    I'm not saying our power grid is not vulnerable. I'm just saying terrorists are not going to tip us off this way, IMO, and if they attack our grid it will most likely be either via hacking or with a big explosion - not spending 20-30 minutes firing off rounds.

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