This is what I was alluding to in an earlier post. Let's talk about the GRID for a minute.
Originally Posted by itguy07
Actually it's "GRIDS" (East, West and Texas) One of the things all three grids have always had in common is that from an engineering point of view they were each designed to be a very reliable link in a "vertically integrated" plan.
In the old days if you had the bucks and the inclination to get into the 'electric business' you had to provide everything pretty much from start to finish to not only create the electricity but also to deliver it to your actual customers. Vertically integrated just means that the company took care of nearly all aspects of production and delivery in house. This is a very important point. Think about it. You make the power and you own everything it takes to deliver it, dare I say, to the last mile. Ask yourself how you would take care of that investment. What they did was to design it very carefully and maintain it with care.
The problem is that that was all a long time ago and we no longer live in that world. The environment for that old business model no longer exists... The power companies were 'deregulated' long ago and that changed everything about the way the grids would be utilized from then on. Vertically integrated grid design stopped in it's tracks. Bearing in mind that the grids were designed as closed, vertical systems it is interesting that we now rely on them and fully expect them to interact with each other at higher and higher capacities and route power from region to region as cities go into and out of 'peak times' and the rates change. They are always changing. If we had grids that were designed to do this it would probably be wrong headed, but at least it would be doable.
Short story -- we don't. Put it this way, we are not only running our vertical grids in a horizontal mode but we increase interconnectivity and load every year! No, the grids are not fine and they have not been fine for decades.
Longer story -- the other killer way that deregulation TOTALLY changed the landscape for the power companies was to completely remove any incentives to spend even an extra cent on maintaining their distribution lines. Why should the shareholders have to pick up the tab for wear and tear on the deregulated lines when by law they have no control over who uses them?
Slowly a picture emerges -- like a one two three punch:
--- Deregulate. Begin running grids completely backwards from how they were designed.
--- Remove all incentives for the thoughtful, loving care those grids received under their pre-deregulation operations.
--- Put entire system under increasing load every year...
What could possibly go wrong?
Here's the deal-- when it gets hot out and the power goes out in the city, it should not stay out for two or three weeks. I'm getting the feeling that there's a lot of people who don't pay much attention to long term blackouts unless they are in one. For the memory challenged, try this Google search:
It didn't always used to be like this.
As I alluded to in a previous post, we do not even have a plan for better grids than the old, unconnective, whimpy grids we use now.
We seem to be so busy making our grids do more and more of what they were never planed for and we can't muster the collective will to even begin to protect the transformers in our distribution systems from solar storms. (Google "Carrington event") One of the things I learned from Katrina is the sad fact that many, many transformers are custom made to spec and require months to replace in a Katrina sized event. In a Carrington sized, worldwide event even the cars may have to wait years for the transformers to be replaced.
So, no, the grid is not in good shape.