Power Outages and Demand

It has been suggested, given the demands for electricity around the country, and the outages that are occuring for various reasons (St Louis and NYC being the two most obvious, although neither were due directly to demand apparently), that we get all the information together in a single thread. (It also might help those of us planning to go somewhere if we know that there won't be power when we get there). So, gentle folk, can we collect the stories here ?

UPDATE: 10:18 pm EST Courtesy of step back the California ISO is predicting a peak demand tomorrow of 52,336 megawatts, which is higher than Friday’s record 49,036 megawatts, as cyclelicious tells us. And as our Alpha Male just noted, Santa Rosa just had a power loss. (From comments brought forward).

Yowza! And I've got the first post!!

Just laying in bed (keeping cool) listening to my new radio (battery operated rechargeable) and picking up some of the talk here and there..... cops are busy, and at a large outdoor concert here, Music Matrix I think, they're talking about the heat quite a bit.

"Yowza! And I've got the first post!!"

Good for you man!!  Isn't it great being first??


"Given the right leadership and sufficient external threat, the primary product of such spirituality may be extraordinary social cohesion.

...Almost every leader of note has, either consciously or unconsciously, fished these murky waters at some time or other.

Their reward is a united people armed with humanity's shining Excalibur.  To unsheathe this magic blade, such visionary leaders must first win over the populace with the primal fairy tale, which invariably contains two ingredients;

1.) A Monster-preferably one who speaks an alien tongue, prays to heathen gods, wears peculiar clothing, and/or has different-colored skin.
2.) A Miracle-earned only by sacrifice, but culminating in triumph for the home team and a nasty end for the Monster.

This tired old routine has worked its magic with astonishing regularity since the dawn of history, and no one with fully functioning DNA seems wholly immune to the lure of it.  Its genetic nature shines through the grisly statistics that follow every major conflict, especially those that incorporate genocidal slaughter."
~Reg Morrison, 1999 "The Spirit in the Gene, Humanity's Proud Illusion and the Laws of Nature"

NW oregon- all clear except that it's damn hot!.  We hit 108 2 days ago.  record setting for us.  
Most natable news is alot of drownings :(.  Alot of people in the water.
Wife says traffic is horible. ? what do you do drive around with the A/C on.????? JC go to the store and pretend you are trying to decide what kind of ice cream you want.
Powerdown will kill alot of people, no doubt.
Traffic is awful here too, I've been hearing on the radio. Yes, ppl seem to be driving around with the AC on. Or something. Tons trying to get out to the beach areas so they're jamming up the roads to those areas, I've been in it once, and it involves an hour or two of sitting in sweltering traffic, inching along.

I don't have a bike right now, I need to look for a good one. If I had one I'd ride it to the library and "cool out" there, since I don't, I guess I'll putt over in the Prius.

More on the radio intel - people going out to buy fans and "none to be had", lots of large co's it seems trying their best to cut down energy usage by cutting back on lights, opening/closing doors, etc.

It's Sunday.
Here is the California ISO chart
Tomorrow businesses will be adding to demand
Every Office building needs A/C
Today was Easy Day for PG&E
Tomorrow, demand may exceed supply
Outdoor temp 58 degrees F this pleasant midwinter afternoon.  But we did set an electric consumption record (for heating) during a cold spell in June.  Home AC is rare in NZ so winter electric consumption is still greater than summer.  The June cold spell was not exceptional but the recent housing boom has put people into bigger houses with greater heating demand.  All things otherwise being equal, heating 2000 sqft uses more energy than heating 1000 sqft.
I just spent a few days in Portland, Oregon visiting my elderly mother who is recovering from a fall.  She lives in a three story, air conditioned retirement complex.  Coming from small town Northern California, I am always struck by the traffic, strip malls, McMansion developments etc.  But this time, given the high temps, it was even more jarring.  I mentioned peak oil to her and to other family members but of course no one knew what I was talking about and didn't seem very interested in learning more.

I kept thinking, the super heated temperatures, due to climate change caused by exorbitant fossil fuel use, were being addresses by the exorbitant use of fossil fuels to  cool things down.  Heading back home the temperature was 108 F in Grants Pass at 1 pm.  Its always wonderful to hit the coast where today the temperature dropped 40 degrees in less than 40 miles.

We used to live in Huntsville AL so I enjoy reading the TN valley updates. Thanks y'all.

I don't know how climate change will impact us here in Costa Rica. The seasons, such as they are, seem to have shifted some in the past couple of years. My landlord is worried about it.  The dependable rainy season seems to be starting later and ending earlier, with rainy periods during the historically dry times and dry periods during the historically rainy times, but they say we still get about nine feet of rain a year, although I haven't measured it. There are so many micro-climates in Costa Rica that you can travel 10 kms and be in a totally different environment. The Tapanti National Park, for example, is only about 10 kms down the road from us. It is the third wettest place in the world and gets nearly three times the rainfall we get.

But thank god we don't get the heat the US is having. We are in a valley but still at 1051m above sea level. Our temps rarely get to the mid 80s and only occasionally do they fall into the low 50s/high 40s. It's the perfect temp year-round, and surprisingly, it does not feel very humid either, no where near as humid as FL or NO or even Norhtern AL felt to me. Perfect sleeping weather. If we decide, however, that we miss being sticky and miserable, we are only four hours from either coast by bus.

No electrical problems in CR yet. There are three small diesel powered electric generator stations in country but most of our electric is generated by mini- and micr-hydro plants with only a couple of big dams in the country, plus there are also a few wind farms. My electric bill is about 8 cents/kwh for the regular service and 13 cents/kwh for my 220.

I don't know how climate change will impact us here in Costa Rica. The seasons, such as they are, seem to have shifted some in the past couple of years.

You might want to make sure you live > 20m above sea level.

I'm not sure this is meant as a joke or not... but remember, the models predict that the ice caps of antarctica and greenland are threatened do so on a hundreds of years time scale. If enough energy to do it was released in a so much shorter time, I suspect we would have bigger adjustment problems!
Hansen and some of the other leading climatologists disagree with the current models. Hansen points out that the models consistently have been too low on ice melt rates even just a few years after the model date. Hansen believes that there is a positive feedback loop(s) that is not accounted for in current models and which may result in catastrophic melt rates within 50 years. His argument is that the models have consistently been too conservative and that melt rates are reaching, in just a few years, levels not predicted for decades. Since this higher-than-predicted melt rate is observable fact, the models must be wrong and the only question becomes exactly how fast can these ice sheets melt?
It's been quite pleasent here on the central Oregon coast, getting into the lower 70s when the fog stays away long enough. I expected more folks though. Perhaps the additional 12-30 dollars in gas to drive farther south kept most Portlanders in the Seaside/Cannonbeach region.  
Aye, I stayed right at home here in Beaverton, watched my thermometer climb to the century mark and above on three separate days. Enjoyed the heat. Sweated. Cursed. Saw heat waves rippling from the streets. Visited a very crowded Lloyd Center Mall, but couldn't stand that mass of humanity for long, even with the AC. However, I wasn't about to miss one of the sharpest heat waves in Willamette Valley history, and run to the coast. Not me. :oD
FRom news reports, Queens seems to be a combination of poor engineering (setting the fuses high enough to damage the wiring on ultra-hot days) and poor load management.

Apparently they have over two dozen parallel feeders on the medium voltage circuit.  A couple went out and instead of load shedding immediately, they let in run.  Enough to damage the wirubg on teh other circuits.  I would be willing to bet that they are WAY behind in their tighten downs and other routine maintanence.  (Tighten downs eliminate loose, high resistance connections).

Maintenance? LOL. They haven't maintained anything in decades. NYC politics says "keep the rates down at all costs". Always has. Just like on the subway. And it also says, "hire and retain from the bottom of the pool" as needed to keep the employee census numbers at the politically-correct values. Anyway, the money "saved" will now be spent many times over to replace spoiled groceries, lost business activity, and, perhaps, damaged appliances and equipment.

And our social-science academics, in their disconnection from reality, still keep wondering why a lot of Americans abhor  big cities!

TVA electricity demand highest in history last Tuesday.

No notable outages in northern Alabama.  Although power  reliability has always been bad where I live.  I gave up setting my VCR clock 10 years ago.

Can't seem to find a web site that show real time data for the TVA.

As the Knoxnews story quoted by Bitteroldcoot predicted, the weekend in the Ohio Valley and Tennessee River Valley has turned out beautiful and cool, finally giving some relief and comfort to us.

Here in Central Kentucky, I decided last week to see if I could weather the summer the way I did in the old days as a child in this same neighborhood, and not turn on the air conditioning at all.

So far victory!  And I was actually surprised that it was not unbearable....uncomfortable yes, but not unbearable.  Of course, I knew it should not have been unbearable.  From 1965 to 1973, I went to elementary and Junior High School not a full two blocks from where I now sit typing, and we never had air conditioning, including some assorted summer school classes, and I grew up on within a half block of here, and did not live in an air conditioned home until 1977, the year I graduated high school....not at all out of the ordinary in those days, many of my neighbors did not have it either....when someone got "central air" the kids on the block would visit the kids there and "try it out", and come home with rave reviews of how "cold" it was in so and so's house!  Such was a consumption revolution made.

Even with no air conditioning, I still consumed some $38 dollars of electric power on the month, mainly with electric stove and range, washing machine, and a deep freeze.  

My pride was great in having made it without AC, and saved so much money but of course, there was a lesson to be learned about real design and intelligence coming to me.

 I live in an old frame house built in 1955.

A friend of mine showed me his electric bill.  I had been to his house on several occasions, once around the 4th of July, and had to compliment the comfort of nice air conditioned home while there, as cool as he wanted it to be.  He pointed out that back in the 1990's when the home was built, he was encouraged to install a "Geothermal furnace" as the utility called it, a ground coupled heat pump" which uses the ground tempeture in both winter and summer to climate control the home, with the HVAC always working from a ground temp of nice spring like 56F degrees.

The opposite of me, he NEVER turns his climate control off.
He too, was under $40 dollars on the month on his electric bill.

I drove home to my hot house, and on the way looked at the new development neighborhoods, being built in Hardin and Meade County KY, that were built in a hurry, no time to waste on that "ground coupled crap" (one of the contractors I spoke to uses that phrase) with the central air unit sitting unassisted out in the July sun, one of the biggest housing booms our area has known in decades.

We will live, the owners will live with that consumption for another half a century, the rest of most of our lives, and NEVER KNOW the opportunity we missed.  I go on my computer, and glance over the NPC  (National Petroleum Council) Report of 2003 indicating that without massive export of American money and an almost emergency push on building facilities to gain access to LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) we simply will fall short of the amount needed and suffer radical price swings, loss of American jobs and economic power, and possible spot shortages which could even be life threatening if they occur at the wrong times.

It is possible to be brought almost to tears by the sheer sheer lack of intelligence in the way America does business, the absolute waste of opportunities.
This is not, as some like to say, a problem of "physics" or "overshoot", not yet anyway....it is a problem of madness.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

They mentioned on local Boston TV that there are volunteers going from New England to help NY out.  They were talking about problems underground and having to replace components, sounds like "crumbling infrastructure".  The media is playing up "confusion" about just why this all happened in NYC, which sounds, well, confusing...
Anyone see anything about natgas supplies vs. this heat wave?  I haven't.  Gotta wonder, and I also wonder how this hot summer may impact the supplies for next winter.

"Nuthin' left to do but Smile, Smile, Smile..."

   The Texas Grid is overloaded and had a statewide rolling blackout last April. There is an article today in the Galveston Daily News, Galvnews.com.
   The weather in Texas is the usual July hot, dry and nasty. The best part about it is that the weather keeps Californians from moving here.
Talked to an associate in San Diego who said parts of SD, El Cajon, and La Mesa were without electricity for a couple of hours yesterday.

"I'd sell my house for a huge profit and move inland if it wasn't for the fabulous weather here," said she.  "At least our housing prices keep all the Texans out."

Yet here in Phoenix we get BOTH Texans and ?Californians?... I remember when I was a kid and the city didn't have a brown cloud... now in the winter it's as smoggy as LA was before 'California emissions'
Natural gas in storage is at record levels, and the price is hovering around $6/mcf. But I haven't heard of any shut in wells, the pipelines are buying 100% of the production.
Maybe this makes me a Commie Rat, but at least under price controls we could drill a well and predict cash flow.
As of July 14th, no effect on NG storage.  Check again on July 27th when July 21st status report comes out.
Welcome back, HO.

Speaking of failures in the power grid, it' time for another natural gas post, I think. I've got the work of Andy Weissman in mind. There is stuff that is more current than what I linked to here. Do you know his work?

I hadn't particularly noted his by-line before and see that he has written on LNG in the past, but I did not see anything recent.  OGJ has just come out with a new set of info on LNG (not on the website last time I checked). I saw (as I skimmed my way forward through the past week's comments - only half-way there yet) that there is now some concern about Mexican supplies of Natural gas and LNG as Cantarell falters. As the next month plays out natural gas is something that should be watched, since this is where much of the new power construction has been.
I'll send you some e-mail. Weissman seems to think future supply from LNG is totally up in the air. He's thinking we better embark on Coal Gasification pretty damn quick here in North America. He seems well respected, I've got some links. But overall, I'd say he thinks on our happy continent that the natural gas situation is far more dire than "fungible" oil supply. While this is debatable, he may very well be correct. Also, talking about LNG, have you noticed on News searches that there's all sorts of talk about the new contracts that the Asian countries (eg. S. Korea, Taiwan, China, Japan) or Canada are making all over the place? Hardly a mention of the US. The Russians are taking their time with Shtokman. Perhaps it would help if we wouldn't scold Putin so much (to his great amusement). Asians are making deals with Australia (Gorgon, et. al.). It goes on and on. Qatar will sell to anybody who has a deal in place.

America, a country without a coherent energy policy. A country going down in flames (no pun intended). As far as I can see, the US natural gas policy is pray for another warm winter.

Einstein said there were only two infinite things, the Universe and human stupidity. He wasn't so sure about the Universe. And he really didn't get to know Americans well enough hanging around at Princeton. We can be counted on to do the right thing after we've exhausted all the other possibilities. By then, it will be too late.

Weissman talked at our UNC/Duke energy seminar last Oct, his slides and video/audio of his talk are linked here

He is immensely informed, but his idea of a Powerpoint presentation is to talk through about 30% of his slides before running out of time. I'm sure that he's very busy running his NG hedge fund as commodities bump along, since I haven't seen an update recently.

I think I posted some time ago that Qatar has just about sold all its available gas into the future - with a source, but am not sure when I did that, at the moment.
I think you may be right and my statement is probably inaccurate. It's not clear to me that all the gas has been sold.
Look at Qatargas.
In the Energy bulletin I read that the US became a net importer of coal this year.  Coal and coal gasification doesn't sound like it will be any answer.


Oh, but that's probably just because coal is even cheaper elsewhere, doesn't mean that you couldn't dig it up yourself if you had to. I don't remember who pointed it out first, but coal is one of the things we never had to look very hard to find. So even the current reserves are more than enough for the US, if and when they/you decide to go that route.

Apropos looking for coal, I recall seeing a statement from some graduate students here that there was immense amounts of coal under the north sea. I don't know how reliable that research was, and I doubt we will ever get to the point that that coal will be profitable, anyway.

Hey, that means that we can burn ourselves out of the next ice age.. ;)
Some of the reason for imported coal is transportation problems within the US. I know that the local utility in San Antonio has been importing South American coal because ships from Colombia and trucks from the port were available. OTOH, it's apparently not possible to reserve additional rail capacity out of Wyoming.
Oops... 2013 when we become a net importer.
We're importing more coal because it's currently a more cost effective way of dealing with last year's federal Clean Air Interstate Rule requiring big cuts in sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants in the eastern US.  There is still plenty of coal in the US.  It's just that it's getting increasingly expensive to extract, we'll have to tear up Kentucky, Wyoming, and several other states to reach it, and burning it will accelerate global warming and further pollute the environment.

There's a decent interview at GPM http://www.globalpublicmedia.com/interviews/709 with Jeff Goodell, author of "Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future" re: the status of coal and the entrenched Coal Industry in the US.

Thank you for the link.  It was educational.

Heading out, I noticed that the gentleman you reference also references the NPC (National Petroleum Council Report that I hace often made reference to:


In my own study, I use The Hirsch Report, Matt Simmons presentations on his website and his book "Twilight In The Desert", Darley's "High Noon For Natural Gas" (despite reservations on that one, still a good overview), and every more authoritive to me, The NPC Report on natural gas, and an important report that ASPO did on the Tar Sands as my core bibliography.  All the rest are mostly panic mongers.  The facts in the above listed material is more than enough to spook you without anybody else running around screaming, and they have the factual numbers on their side.

The natural gas issue is still with us, but the mild winter created a situation that made it look like it has "solved itself".  The problem with that is that the low gas prices reduces the willingness of investors to put money into "long lead time" projects such as LNG terminals, contracts and shipping, and needed pipeline projects plus the effort to liberate stranded gas.  All well and fine right now, but then when we have a massively cold winter some two or three years down the road, the needed natural gas infrastructure will not be there, and this is infrastructure that takes 5 plus years to build.  We could be setting ourselves up for a catastrophic situation.

Interest in efficiency of use and conservation of natural gas has likewise gone down.  The method of reducing natural gas consumption for heating and air conditioning is about 3 feet below us, almost everywhere in America, in the form of geothermal heat pumps.  If you add in widespread use in the South and the sunbelt of solar hot water, natural gas demand could be shaved by more that enough to match supply and demand, and possibly even free some gas and LPG Propane up for transporation use in an efficient manner.

The next step, of course, is wide spread adaption of solar electric and solar thermal, again, the methods are already well known, and improving daily:



The coversion is coming because it MUST come.  It will be the biggest change in a single century since the birth of the Industrial Revolution.  It is already underway.  But, the unanswered question is can it happen fast enough to avert great suffering.  That is our choice.

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Power use records are being broken in California. A record was broken last Monday when 46,561 megawatts were consumed. Then Friday, that record was broken again at an astounding 49,036 megawatts. Saturday's peak use wasn't an ordinary record-breaker, but it was still over Monday's record-breaker at 48,489 megawatts.

During demand-induced outages, heat records are also being broken around the state of California. It's all connnected.

Well, we lost our power from about 3AM to 6AM last night in my boondocks area of northern CA.  This is kind of a wierd time for the power to go out.  Maybe a truck hit a pole some place. Then it flickered for a second around 11:30 this morning.  

Been on the grid most of the day rather than the PV system so we can irrigate.  It was 98 yesterday and 97 today.  It's been like this for a couple of weeks which is unusual for our area.


It was 98 yesterday and 97 today

Depends where you are. 15 miles south,  on the other side of town, and a few thousand feet lower, it was 110 yesterday, 111 the day before. Just as hot as Ukiah. Only hit 105 today.

I think the term "unusual" is becoming obsolete when it is used in regard to high temperatures. When you have record heat every year, you are beyond "unusual", you are into the upward curve of temperatures associated with global warming. My fear is that the rate of increase is beyond what any of the climate scientists have been predicted, that we have already reached runaway climate change exacerbaed by positive feedback.

When I hear people use the term "unusual", it is usually in the tone that this too will pass, nothing to fear here, move on. In the same breath today, I heard the same person say she commuted 180 miles per day.  She was from California and said it with a smile and didn't seem to be complaining. I guess that's the new normal.

I guess I'm just complaining but we probably have already reached overshoot, that the accumulation of greenhouses gases and their attendant positive feedback effects has pretty much locked our fate for the next century.  If we radically changed right now, perhaps it wouldn't be so bad.  

By the time you realize the super tanker is going to hit the iceberg it is too late. We are probably in that mode now. It wasn't too late 30 years ago, but we're just starting to listen because the heat is making it increasingly difficult to be in denial or ignorance.

It wasn't too late 30 years ago?  You're starting to sound like me.
It was too late 75 years ago, when we began the "green revolution". We'd already started down this path even then but by ramping human population from 1.5 billion to 6.5 billion in just 75 years, we've ensured the coming collapse.
Since the Tennessee Valley has been somewhat cooler the last three days and has had a couple of inches of rain, I suspect that TVA is probably selling power to the grid right about now. There is every chance that, if the local weatherman is right, we could set a new generation record next week when even higher temperatures return.
During the middle of last week Ontario Canada, where I live was setting all time record high consumption records for electricity.

Our rate per Kwh, not including taxes and other surcharges, billed to the consumer is 4.6 cents, but a visit to the utility website showed that at peak they were in fact paying about 15 cents for the hydro on the market. I really want demand based billing via smart meters to start knocking this down!

Anyway the UPS that backs up my computers was showing a bunch of micro-brownouts, not enough to flicker the lights or reset the clock on the micrwave oven but > 5 volt drops from ideal voltage. I think the grid was groaning under the strain.

According to the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) website, Ontario fell just shy of an all time consumption record last week.

The Ontario government has been raising electricity rates recently - 4.6 cents/kWh is out of date by a couple of years. The energy charge is now 5.8 cents/kWh for the first 600 kWh in summer (for the first 1000 kWh in winter) and 6.7 cents/kWh for everything over that. Before May 1st it was 5.0 cents/kWh for the first 750 kWh all year round and 5.8 cents/kWh after that. The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) will be revising the rates again in the fall.

So far this summer prices have been much lower than at this time last year. Additional nuclear supply has been refurbished and brought back on line (600MW) and demand has been lower due to cooler temperatures so far.

On the website it says avg for July is:


but that's wholesale I guess, which was what I was going on...

Yes, the pool price is low this summer - below 5 cents/kWh as you say - but the price paid by consumers is fixed provincially. Much of the time in the last couple of years, the pool price has exceeded the price charged to consumers, but a mild winter and an average summer have kept the pool price down so far this year.
I think I read somewhere that the UK is using oil fired power generation to keep the grid alive.  Hot summers have got the English investing in AC - and its very hot down there right now.  So AC provides a positive feed back loop for climate change.

I keep wondering what landmark will once and for all define climate change?  A US city getting wiped off the map (sorry Alan)?  Arctic sea ice melting so everyone can go on a summer midnight cruise to the North Pole?  The English using AC? Maybe the Greenlanders growing corn for ethanol?

Perhaps growing pineapples in northern Canada?  Perhaps banana plantations in Siberia?

We had some spot outages here in Minneeapolis today.  This seems to be a regular summer occurance, though.

It is 89/32 here and no as humid as it was a few days ago.

So far we get off pretty easy.

I'll call my brother in CA, though -- it sounds miserable out there.

I wonder if PEW research will do a new study of attitudes about global climate change?

Come vacation in cool New Orleans (we could use the money).

78 F at 6:30 PM. 70 F dew point; high for day of 80 F.

You can start on that underwater theme park now. Maybe put some concrete mermaids in your yard <grin>
Hello TODers,

Hotter 'n Hell here in the Asphalt Wonderland, currently 108 at 4pm, but we have had much higher temps earlier in the week.  No brownouts or blackouts in the Phx area as far as I can tell.

Does anybody have any knowledge if global warming gases released during the heat season is worse for the ecosystem than the same volume release during the cold season?

Is more energy burned nationwide for A/C cooling than for winter heating?  These would be interesting statistics to consider.

My guess A/C burns more total energy because of electrical line losses and worse mechanical efficiency versus a non-mechanical NGas Heater, or a glowing electric heat element.  A lot of AZ houses have an electric heat pump cycle--during the winter the A/C unit reverses itself to pump heat into the house-- this strikes me as not very efficient compared to the one-step process of burning NG.

Bob Shaw in Phx,AZ  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

According to local power company propaganda, heat pumps are the most efficient. But this may also be a function of where you live and how the electricity travels to you vs. where your natural gas comes from. Natural gas must be pumped or compressed to maintain correct pressure in the pipes which becomes a major component in its cost. In my area gas is expensive because there are no nearby sources and electricity is relatively cheap. Plus I have the option to buy 'green(hydro,wind,solar)' electricity. However most electricity is generated by coal although TVA is rapidly expanding its nuclear generation capacity.
"Rapidly expanding nuclear" is impossible for TVA without new construction. Sequoyah 1 and 2 nuke plants were running at 92.1 and 95.9 capacity factors in 2004 (last NRC numbers in the 2005-2006 Information Digest) and Watts Barr 1 was 100.1 As far as new construction is concerned, we'll see. The industry wants to get something underway before the Bushies bail (or make bail), but that schedule is a push.
TnGranny may be referrig to a nuclear power plant in North Alabama that TVA is starting. It seems a plant was near completion 25 years ago but never began operation. I don't have any details or links but I will try to find something.
Browns Ferry Unit #1 opened and had a fire in the control wires (new procedures developed worldwide due to "lessons learned").  It was TVA's first nuke.  I was on tour in early 1970s during construction.  Shut down since 1985 AFAIK.  Restart scheduled May 2007.  Units #2 & #3 nearing license renewal.

Apparently uprated from 1,000 MW net/ 1065 MW gross to 1,134 MW net /1,200 MW gross.


Awesome, thanks for the info Alan.
Yeah I forgot about BF #1. Good catch.  BTW, here's what the US nuke power looks like w/o new construction, assuming 60 year total license before decommissioning.

Yes, it includes FB #1 at 90% capacity factor. At least 3 new starts annually from 2010 just to keep output constant.

I believe it is new construction versus starting a previousley incompleted plant.
Yes, the completion of Bellafonte (2 units) which has been mothballed for 20 years plus the restart of Brown's Ferry 1 plus the completion of Watts Bar 2 will increase TVA's count of 4 nuclear units to 8. Of course this is nothing compared to the 17 that were on the books in the 70's. At that time electricity demand was projected to continue increasing exponentially as it had since TVA's inception. But as construction costs increased exponentially and demand leveled out, the remaining units were abandoned. The debt created by this nearly sunk TVA. At the time the projects were started, the managers said that, while the construction costs were high, that once built generating the electricity would be so cheap that it would cost more to meter it than to generate it. Sort of sounds like some folks talking about tar sands and shale doesn't it?
 Hopefully, they can bring those plants up in a timely manner and bring us the juice. I'm going to drop some solar panels on my house to do my little bit and cheer for the TVA as they power up.
TVA built Raccoon Mountain (recently uprated to 2,000 MW) pumped storage to spread nuke power from late night/early morning to peak.

Did TVA have other plans for pumped storage ?  Raccoon Mt could not handle 17 nukes !

TVA tried 6-7 years ago to build another pumped storage north of Racoon Mountain. But because of political/financial difficulties at the time, it was to be done in partnership with a privately owned company with TVA providing the expertise and the power to operate but to be owned and operated by the private entity in production. This caused a local uproar when TVA then tried to use eminent domain to obtain the land to be turned over to a for-profit entity later. There was enough pressure at the time to force them to drop the idea.
Remember name ?  How many MW & MWh ?
Can't answer your question about greenhouse gases in total but the CO2 rises dramatically each year starting around Aug/ Spet and then drops dramatically starting around Feb/ March. The rise may be due to forest fires.
" the CO2 rises dramatically each year starting around Aug/ Spet and then drops dramatically starting around Feb/ March. The rise may be due to forest fires."

Has to do with plant respiration. Most of the land mass is in the Northern Hemisphere, so CO2 tracks our growing season.....

The data show both a cyclic behavior and a linear trend. The cyclic behavior corresponds to a yearly cycle of increasing atmospheric CO2 from late fall to spring, with a maximum in May, and then decreasing atmospheric CO2 from spring to late fall, with a minimum in October. The simple interpretation is that carbon dioxide is "scrubbed" or removed from the northern hemisphere atmosphere during the spring-summer growing cycle, when green plants suck up CO2 during photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is then released during fall and winter, when plants die and rot.

Heat pumps are actually very efficient as you are not creating heat (or cooling), but merely pumping heat from one place to another. I believe the COP (coefficient of performance) is better than 3:1. Ground source (or water source) heat pumps are even more efficient due to the reduced temp differentials. The ground is cooler than the air in the summer and warmer than the air in the winter.
Properly installed ground source heat pumps even work great in the frozen north of Minnesota.
Do you ever wonder if the Canadians laugh like heck at us when we talk about the "frozen north of Minnesota" ?
With the rising price of Natural Gas and Propane it may be a lot cheaper to heat with electrically operated ground source heat pump than a standard gas furnace.
I have switched the house (3 years ago) to burning wood pellets/corn as propane has reached an unaffordable level for full time heating. I use the high efficiency propane furnace as an energency backup system now. Going to switch the workshop over to wood pellets this winter. Not as convient or comfortable, but more affordable.
New Orleans is one of the few places where ground loop does not make sense.  Groundwater temps too high for efficient cooling (72 F from old memory).  Air is high humidity with excellent heat transfer; and ground loop requires a lot of pumping energy in comparision to air source heat pumps.

I looked at the tables a few years ago; and for cooling, ground loop was barely more energy efficient (questionable) but much more complex and expensive to operate.

Ground loop heat pumps were superb for heating, but that is trivial in New Orleans.  And ground conditions work against ground loop as well.  Air source heat pumps work great at 47 F, which is where much of the heating is needed.

Greetings all. First post...been lurking for about 6 months...

A brief background:  degree in Physics (Manchester 1972)... taught mathematics in Middle East for many years. Been following Alternative Technology issues for 30 years now (since visiting the Centre for Alt Tech in Machynlleth, Wales in 1976).

Now located Kelowna, BC.  Three years ago... I built a 4,000 ft2 "geothermal" house (as they like to call them here)... heat pump with 5 x 200ft deep heat source. Expensive up-front cost... but running costs negligible... (& it does the pool too!!)

Designed house myself for max winter passive input/summer shading... and got some pretty good insulation... plus high end windows etc. Didn't get everything I would have liked (insulated slab/thermal mass??...PV roof??) due to local code limitations etc.

Point being that with good design & insulation... heating-cooling loads are very low...such that internal area/volumes (we have lots of high ceilings) can be larger than normal... allowing quality living space...

We've had 37oC last few days... but that's not unusual for summer here. Usually turn AC on 3pm - 8pm... with setting at 25oC... then open doors etc overnight...  I would estimate that AC kicks in for 5 mins in every 20...

Winter can be -20oC... but again comfort levels easy maintained... with just the heat pump (why did I put those two "for-aesthetic-effect" gas fires in??)

Anyway, "geothermal"... is very much in vogue here for individual new houses & condo developments...

Heading up to Garibaldi Lake Wednesday for backpacking trip...any suggestions for dinner Tuesday night in Vancouver? We do like the sushi but are open to others...
I went just a few tens of km away from you in August of 2004.

How far are you from the new "run of the river" hydropower plant which was recently opened?

Dear EP

Being so Internet based, I'm rather ignorant of local politics etc... & all those 3x a week freebie newspapers just go straight in the trash...

So I wasn't even aware of Kelowna's run-of river micro-hydro. I just googled it and found that Fortis are doing a number of schemes in BC. Exact location not mentioned tho'... and I can't imagine where it might be...

What is more I learned that our Glenmore landfill site, just 2 miles away... is now doing landfill gas power generation...What a forward looking town I live in!!

Not really... it is still car-addicted... and increasingly McMansioned... coming soon on every available pristine hillside... lots of retirement money coming in for our 15 golf courses??

Still it is idyllic with its own micro-climate and in the heart of BC wine country... 100k people now...I was just thinking the other day what population it might sustain post-PO!! (and there would be lots of wine to get the few of "us" through the winter!!


I live in the eastern hills so it's never so beastly as those other places you talk about ,and we have never felt much need for AC.  But just for the hell of it, I went out and stuck a thermocouple into my dug well.  Looky there!  8 degrees C.-real nice and cool.  The well is 12 meters deep, about 1.5 meters in diameter, and at present has 5 meters of water standing in it.  It sits in shale on top of a soaked sandstone horizontal layer, despite the fact that we are right on top of a ridge.

So now I have a little game to play.  Put a pipe down the well with a small pump to circulate water up to a car radiator under the kitchen sink.  The water then goes up thru the radiator and then back down the well after a fan blows some coolth into the kitchen: water   boosted if needed by a jet ejector to get it all started.  The pump and fan together take less than 100 watts ac.  The kitchen sinks toward too cool, the wife starts to notice, I turn off the pump and fan, The wife starts to get somewhat uncool,  I turn on the pump and fan, and so on.

This is  what folks around here call an appalachian fix- Make do with whatcha got.

Yes, I did get the water tested.  Man said it was ok, nothing but a few dead snakes and beetles- slow poison, been drinking it for near 50 yrs.

I've lived in LA since 1991 and it's never been as hot as this.  Yesterday, in the San Fernando Valley of LA (were I live) it was 119 in Woodland Hills and 112-115 in most of the rest of the Valley.  Never used my AC as much as this year.  I have heard stories of spotty power outages in the LA area yesterday, but not reported in the news, as far as I know.  Normal for this time of year is high 80's.
I mean "where" I live.  
Hey I grew up in Van Nuys. Went to Birmingham High 9th and 10th grade. Then we moved up here.
I grew up in Fresno, where it's supposed to be hot in summer! :)  I am close to Van Nuys, near Cal State Northridge.  
I posted my first thoughts over on the NYC page about the power outage. Not much change except that power has been restored to many folks but many remain in the dark going into their 7th night.
Here's the closest thing to an explanation Con Ed has given on the subject (from a NY1 report):

Con Ed C.E.O. Kevin Burke apologized to residents for the inconvenience and says the outage was caused by an unprecedented failure of multiple power lines, but he still can't give an answer as to when power will be restored.

Burke spoke with the media Saturday for the first time since the power went out. He thanked residents for their help and patience this week. Burke said the outage was caused by an unprecedented failure of multiple power lines.

"Unfortunately what happened was that as the week went on, we lost up to 10 feeders, then gradually got some of those feeders back in service," said Burke. "It was a very extraordinary event and something that I have never seen before."

And this was just from a few thunderstorms...

Since I live in a dorm without central air, I can see the different levels of comfort. About half or more of the students in the dorm have window A/C units with the others with mostly just fans. Since it has been reaching the high 100's recently a lot of those "cold" rooms have gained popularity. Being from Texas helps me cope with the heat and I usually turn the thermostat up on my rooms A/C significantly during the day(kindof a habit from my father who can't stand the shock of working outside and having the temperature drop 30+ degrees when he goes in for lunch!). My Alaskan and Minnesotan friends however, aren't venturing out much until after dark.
On a more energy related note: How inefficient is it to have 40+ rooms each with window A/C units versus 80+ people sharing a central system?
Efficiency of window vs. central depends on a host of factors.  You'd probably have to get the specs on each individual system to say which is better; IIRC, things really have changed that much in the last 10-20 years.
The power just went down here in Santa Rosa. Ironically, I'm in the middle of doing my site update for tomorrow. Am on my battery power and a 56K modem.

It's 6:15 pm. If the power's not back up by 8:00 Pm, I'm  assumming this it the "trigger event" and will begin marauding. There's lots of hippies over in Sebastopol with lush gardens, solar panels who insist on taking no defensive measures. Of course I'm not match for the local street gangs. Mmmmm. . . maybe I should just stay here and hide.

BTW, can anybody explain why I'm even able to get on the net on a 56K line if the power is down?  I've always wondered how that works. In fact one of the reasons I kept my modem line ($10/month from netzero) is I read modems stay operational during blackouts.

The phone lines are usually on a different power source, and can escape the disruption to grid power. Not always.
Yes the telephone companies run their own voltage, called "CO" for Central Office voltage, normally 48 volts, but they can eventually go down too.

In an emergency, the public are well known for all getting on the phone and playing "Let's Crash The Phone System" - they have an excellent record of success.

I've been expecting the power to go down myself, but it's cooling now in silicon valley, and as mentioned, the real power suckage will be tomorrow.

I was just in the library hanging out, place was jammed. Some people are at least smart enough to not run up their own bill when they can go there, tons of Asians and Indians but then that library always has tons, but let's put it this way, it wasn't full affluent white people. Less than average number of the pale folks, I think sunday is soccer day for the kids or the day to do something that involves the SUV. I was glad to see the homeless folks getting some respite from the heat.

Almost all traditional central offices run most of their equipment off of 48 VDC battery banks; commercial power is used to keep the batteries charged. If commercial power fails, almost all central offices are equipped with large backup generators. Those used to be diesel, although I believe that many have changed to compressed natural gas. In many states, such backup systems are a legal requirement for anyone doing wireline telephony -- the regulators insist that 911 work even when commercial power is out. When cable companies started getting into the telephony business in the 1990s, one of the biggest decisions each had to make was whether to provide power over the coax or to use batteries at the subscriber location.

Many of the big ISPs have similar backup arrangements. I'm not sure what kind of "worst case" outage they plan for -- when I started work at Bell Labs back in the 1970s, central offices typically had enough fuel on hand for at least a day, and arrangements for refueling fairly soon. I know there were cases when a central office ran off the generator for over a week. IIRC, there was an ISP in New Orleans after Katrina that ran for at least three days off of their backup generator.

Yes, I think that ISP staff barricaded themselves.

In an emergency, text messages get through when voice does not.  Good to remember !

Mayor Nagin could only communicate with intermittent Blackberry and courier for several days after Katrina.

If I remember correctly, it was that ISP that barracaded themselves, and were doing a blog "from the front lines" as it were, as the thing happened.  They held out on supplies they had and then as law enforcement moved in they were able to barter and trade, and exchange usefulness for cans of gas to keep stuff going.
The phonelines carry their own power (which is why you should keep a corded phone around for emergencies).  So if the lines have remained intact and the switches which handle the bleepety bleeps from the modem at the other end are still kickin', you're good to go.

I'm curious though as to why if you have a battery backup there, that the cable modem (I'm guessing that's your other connection) won't work.  I would imagine the cable company to have backup power (who could live without cable!) so it should still be communicating with your cable modem (if you have it plugged into your battery backup system).

power came back on an hour ago. Drat.
In the old Ma Bell days, the local exchange would have emergency generators, so the land lines would have their 24v for days.  Some areas are still that way; others have only 8-12 hours of battery backup.  During the hurricanes I read even the land lines went down in some areas when the batteries ran dry.
Anyone know a realtor who handles central Greenland? I'm looking for a good patch of farmland, should be ready soon I figure... (please don't tell Century 21 about this!)
wouldn't Alaska be better? Afterall it falls under US jurisdiction.
the spot price of electricity trippled in the UK
apparantly it was all the fridges and freezers + office AC working on over time during the hot weather

and yes, we are burning oil to help match demand :p

Burning oil for electricity in UK - yes, that's right, but partly because one big coal station had some sort of accident two weeks ago and is out of action.  Still, it's bizarre that UK should have such high demand in summer.  Temps of 36+ are forecast for later this week too.  The problem is people are happy with this - most Brits like to go to the Med to roast in temperatures of about that level and they are not going to complain about being able to do so at home.  The truth is that most people in UK care much more on a day-to-day basis about the price of motor fuel (and gas/electricity, esp. in winter), than about global warming.
Here in Phoenix it's been a usual summer.. 118 on Friday, then a bit cooler on Saturday (116). Today it was only 114, and it's predicted that temperatures will drop quite a bit this next week. Everyone else in the country seems to be taken by suprise by the heat in their area (GW perhaps...?), but we are pretty used to it. Every house has central air conditioning, and the power grid is has been developed to handle it. I find it interesting people in other parts of the country say more people are driving... The opposite seems true here. Today the roads were dead. I work at a mall, and foot-traffic there was WAY down all weekend. Generally, everyone wants to sit home or be in the pool. I feel bad for the roofers and the guys who fix the AC systems around here... Then again me and my buddy were out working on his car when it was 118, so whatever...
Traffic was way down in "the Valley" on Saturday.  119 degrees will keep you off the streets.
This is certainly the fulfillment of prophecy for our secular millennial doomsday cult.

Last year Matthew Simmons summed up his prophetic vision for 2006, as usual, in a single powerpoint bullet:

"Expect to see brownouts/blackouts in periods of abnormal weather."

So it is written.

Sunday saw 112 deg F in the shade here in my corner of San Jose.  Went to the big mall to see a movie in the air conditioning but a transformer blew and an evacuation was ordered.   All the other air conditioned stores (especially bookstores) were crowded with heat refugees, all with short tempers.

Distribution transformers have been popping all over town.  High ambient temperatures, high loads, and low voltage (drawing more current increasing internal heating) all are factors.  Half my street was out and I heard another transformer pop in the distance Saturday night.  Show some gratitude for the PG&E crews working around the clock, in the heat, to restore power.

I hate to admit this but this is one scary scenario.

As to new nuclear plants, we're SWAMPED with requests for proposals.  We're positioned as the only model offered that has already been built, has prior regulatory approval, and has full sets of engineering documents.  Consequently, we can bring our reactors on-line years ahead of other vendors.

Westinghouse system 80+ ?
Can you recommend any good movies at Oakridge? :-)

(P.S. I have an "outside temperature" meter on my car. Some places along 17 Northbound I was clocking 115 deg F. Talk about that hot market in Silicon Valley. Yaowzah!)

Are all of these alongside existing nukes ?  Or any greenfield sites ?

This solves siting issues.  Example, Riverbend was licenssed for two nukes, one operating, foundation only for second one.
So another type reactor (see Arkansas 1 & 2) can be licensed there with a minimum of hassle, even if it is a bit larger.

Also, transmission was planned, and often built, for both units.  (Transmission is a VERY long lead time item, almost as long as NRC).  Nukes without transmission are almost worthless.

Existing infrastructure (mainly nuke rated personnel) can be more efficiently spread over two or three (or eight, see Canada) reactors than one reactor.  I doubt that reactors built 30 years apart will share many spares (nuke grade loctite perhaps and other minor items).

Just out of curiousity, are there any plans for 3 or 4 reactor sites ? (say 1 old, 2 new ?)

South Texas Project has announced going from 2 existing to 4 total.   North Anna has two, was laid out for four, but will add only one more.  Their problem is the cooling pond now has waterfront properties on it and the neighbors object to big level swings that would be needed for 4.

Palo Verde has 3 and room for 2 more.

Crystal River has 2 natural gas, one nuke, and one (maybe 2?) coal.  Talk is about one more nuke.

Existing sites are far preferred and I know of no serious  greenfield sites off the top of my head (there's that boondoggle in North Texas though.)

It is a big advantage to have multiple units of the same design.  However, we're always diddling with components so that older stuff is brought up to current design. Anyone want a 30 year old plant process computer?  

A big example of common components is motor-operated valves, Limitorques.  Same basic design since the 1930's but the details are always changing.  Every plant uses lots of Limitorques and/or Rotorks.

As an example of a pain in the patootie, consider Waterford.  Three reactors, three vendors.

"The Devil Wears Prada" was cute enough - the girls liked it.  We had prepaid tickets but couldn't find a seat - I literally sat on the stairs.

So you're a Westinghouse guy (PWR's) living in GE territory (San Jose)?

The Oakridge transformer must have been a GE design: The I-melt 1000 (ha ha).

Yeh. Merryl Streep was good in Devil Wears Prada. Kind of long for me, but my girls liked it too.

Ahhhhhhh..... the Sunny V. Cafe, on Lawrence in the same strip as the Wing Yuan Market, that's one good little cafe (and nice market!)

So, I'm sitting there waiting for my saba shioyaki and me and this large guy are watching these unbelievably cute Japanese kids and their Mom get moved to a different table, and we get talking..... turns out Mr. Big is a worker on power plant equipment....... USA using some of this older stuff and it's no longer supported by the company so ppl who can maintain/fix it are in demand. Mr. Big went through Navy nuke training and then went into power plants, can work on this older Siemens stuff ..... don't need no stinkin' college degree. Nice guy, interesting information. This was a couple of weeks ago. Bet he's busy right now!

One group lacking proper public appreciation are the power company linemen.  When the weather's good, these guys sorta hang around, do some training, some maintenance, lean on a few shovels.

When an earthquake, an ice storm, a hurricane, a heat wave hits, every trained and able body the company can find are balls-to-wall for days on end, climbing poles, working around hot lines (ie "certain death") in the wind, the rain, in the blazing sun, in the dark of night.

It is one of the riskiest jobs, what with falls and electrocutions.

Yet my neighbor complained to me yesterday that the crew replacing the 500 lb pole transformer behind her home Sunday night at 3 am spoke too loudly.

My years at the power company taught me that the sense of "public service" is alive and well.  We should be grateful.

Amen to that.

After the 1998 ice storm in these parts the crews were out round the clock. The devastation was enormous - whole rows of towers turned into twisted wreckage by five solid days of heavy freezing rain.

Crews came in from all over the country to help out. They even managed to keep their sense of humour while working round the clock. I remember a newspaper photo of a Manitoba crew posing shirtless up a power pole (it was minus 20 Celsius) to show they weren't intimidated by 'mild' Ontario winters (minus 40, before taking the wind-chill into account, is not uncommon for a Winnipeg winter).

So you're not a Russian spy then?  Still looking forward to you sorting out all this Th, Pu, MOX monazite stuff though.  And in particular why its not all been upscaled before.
It's monday now, 40,000 w/o power in the San Jose area, we're at a stage II power alert, less than 5% reserves, it's 2:20PM right now and the highest temps are expected around 4PM. Stage II means the cal-iso wants us to decrease power usage by 25%. Not much more to trim here but I did replace the one Edison bulb in the bathroom with a CF, I'd been meaning to do that for a while, it's a nicer light too.

KLIV radio, AM-1590 is a good one for local silicon valley news BTW.

Guess I'd better get my post office trip for the day done while there's power. Plus, that gives me a reason to shut the #$%#$ laptop off.

The whole country is going to hell.  Gee, I wonder who is in charge.
"Gee, I wonder who is in charge?"

In a democracy, ultimately it is you and I (assuming you vote too).

Austin oak hill housing subdivision recently added whithout consideration of electrical power demands.

Hot weather on about July 15, 2006 caused overload transformer fire which wiped out electric power to Oak Hill.  

No air conditioning which can be fatal in Austin.


This is my first comment here... usually I like to listen for a bit, but as I live in Woodside (the area most affected in NYC during our blackout) I'll add that disaster response has not changed much in a year since New Orleans.

After 7 days ConEd finally got my power back on. Gotta say, as it was at 3am, they must have actually been working around the clock. I was stealing juice from the terrace lights of my building (2 of our 3 phases were working from Thurs on) but that didn't give me much... it did let me get my cell going again (my only phone) but Time Warner was
down for internet until now.

These guys kinda had their heads up their asses, the Red Cross mosied onto the scene on day 3 or 4, and there really wasn't much help. I gave emergency lights to my elderly neighbors 2 days ago, they were working with flashlights
for 4 days, and no one outside cared. I have no idea how this elderly couple would have made it through if they were on the 6th floor. When the power went, so did all outside sources of food - everything in all of the supermarkets was garbage by day 2, notwithstanding dry stuff, which quickly was bought. All of the restaurants shut down. Many of the
surrounding buildings over 6 stories no longer had water to run toilets, no elevators, and at that point I suppose that there was no hot water or trash compactor were minor annoyances... and along the way other things you'd need to improvise, like Home Depot, were also closed. After a bit all transactions were cash, and no cash machines
were working. A little taste of things to come.

And this was just a piece of Queens. Manhattan was a train ride away, but if this did happen on a larger scale, the trains also would not be running. Red Cross wouldn't even be able to get here in any meaningful way (local traffic
was in chaos from the lack of traffic lights and street lights.)

I'm going to take a totally wild and unsubstantiated guess here and say this was cause by some kind of electronic system management that took the place of the Homer Simpson who was supposed to have his finger on a switch to cut it all of before all of the secondary lines fried... so
it is not ridiculous to think that this could happen again, as these clueless assclowns don't know what they did to cause this (or really for that matter, the blackout of 2003).

The irony of course is that I have a 50 amp gen and a farm that I'm taking off grid in upstate NY in preparation for the end of oil, but I couldn't leave town because my dad was hospitalized with breathing problems when his AC shut down in the middle of the heat wave... no matter how well you plan, there's always something.

That's why going it alone is not a solution.
Sooner or later, we all need doctors, hospitals and other services from our "complex" civilization.

I think we discussed economic efficiency versus reliability elsewhere in this thread. ConEd is here to maximize its profits not to make life in NYC livable.

--an ex-NewYorker