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Power grid collapse - could it happen here ?

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 727 ✭✭✭ InTheShadows


    Cyber attack is more likely than ever before. Only a matter of time before it happens to a major western country.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,813 imitation


    The kind of collapse that occured there is less likely to occur in Ireland. Similar problems occured on the west coast of the US a decade ago as well. The problem is when you have huge interlinked grids, if a problem develops and one sub station goes down, it cascades, putting pressure on all the other substations bringing the whole lot down. In Ireland as its a smaller scale its easier to manage and you.dont have so many different states and power companies

    I was at a conference years ago on how they manage this, with renewables its even more complex to manage, as the loss of generation from a drop in wind or sudden cloud coverage could cause the same problems, so they monitor it very closely in control centres to make sure demand is met.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,608 ✭✭✭ gctest50


    A giant battery like Tesla's on in Australia would help tide it over for a few minutes


    https://hornsdalepowerreserve.com.au/


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,292 ✭✭✭ 0lddog


    imitation wrote: »
    The kind of collapse that occured there is less likely to occur in Ireland. Similar problems occured on the west coast of the US a decade ago as well...........


    Even happened in little old Auckland ( 20 odd years ago )


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_Auckland_power_crisis


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,576 ✭✭✭ Glass fused light


    The capacity to generate power and the capacity to shut down part of the grid would be key factors.
    The last leci strike had power allocated by area and was metered by time blocks.
    The smaller generating stations and the different type of plants would have made it harder. The smaller number of bigger stations would leave it easier to succeed it an attack. But i dont believe that any are at full capacity so there is the ability to up output. Plus Eir grid connectors to the UK would provide a backup.
    So it would be the grid it's self which would have to fail and and cascade from one substation to the next.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    imitation wrote: »
    The kind of collapse that occured there is less likely to occur in Ireland. Similar problems occured on the west coast of the US a decade ago as well..
    Ther had a grid cascade crash on the east coast of the usa a while ago too


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,085 ✭✭✭ GerardKeating


    Ther had a grid cascade crash on the east coast of the usa a while ago too

    The North East of America had one in 1965.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,163 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    0lddog wrote: »
    Leo & Co want us all to drive milk floats and heat our homes with airconditioners.

    :rolleyes:


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,163 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    The Irish media is floating the nuclear kite again today, something has to be done with Moneypoint I suppose. The industry in general has promised the commercialisation of small reactors, but so far nada.

    Considering the lifetime cost of nuclear, we'd probably be better off just outright paying for a network of Turloch Hill type facilities, and putting in a support mechanism for off shore wind.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,127 ✭✭✭ cruizer101


    cgcsb wrote: »
    :rolleyes:

    To be fair the government is pushing for more electric vehicles and a move away from fossil fuels to heat pumps.
    It would be silly to ignore the potential effects on the grid as both use a lot of electricity.
    The effects of cars should be mitigated some way by charging at night.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,163 ✭✭✭ cgcsb


    cruizer101 wrote: »
    To be fair the government is pushing for more electric vehicles and a move away from fossil fuels to heat pumps.
    It would be silly to ignore the potential effects on the grid as both use a lot of electricity.
    The effects of cars should be mitigated some way by charging at night.

    The gross simplification to 'milk carts' and 'air conditioners' is what I'm rolling my eyes at.

    The media latched onto the electric cars thing. But in reality transport in the coming years will be less about cars(electric or not) and will be more about public transport, walking, cycling and better planned living spaces where humans are almost never out of walking distance from a large amount of services.

    Electric cars are great, much cleaner than fossil fuel cars. Moving a single person in a one tonne steel box full of rare elements around the place is not an energy efficient means of transport, it's extremely wasteful. If this government want to reduce emissions from transport, we should follow Germany's example and make it illegal to build a house more than 1km form a village, with a handful of exceptions for farmers and foresters.

    Naturally economics is moving more and more people into bigger and bigger cities, so our unsustainable settlement pattern is likely to self-terminate. However our government has it's head up it's arse talking about electric cars. Densely populated cities, with lots of affordable apartments and lots of pedestrianised spaces and a well funded public transport network is where the funds should be allocated. Electric cars can be a small part of the solution, awkward one off trips and all that, but that's putting the cart before the horse.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,292 ✭✭✭ 0lddog


    cgcsb wrote: »
    The gross simplification to 'milk carts' and 'air conditioners' is what I'm rolling my eyes at. ......


    As OP, and one who installed a (non grant aided ) heat pump for house heating 10 years ago, would you mind if I drive around to you in my 'leccy car to give you an emergency injection of sense of humour ?

    :P

    :D

    As to the rest of your postie, perhaps its better suited to the Politics forum ?

    This thread is about :

    "Power grid collapse - could it happen here ? "


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,847 ✭✭✭✭ Cienciano


    cgcsb wrote: »
    The gross simplification to 'milk carts' and 'air conditioners' is what I'm rolling my eyes at.

    The media latched onto the electric cars thing. But in reality transport in the coming years will be less about cars(electric or not) and will be more about public transport, walking, cycling and better planned living spaces where humans are almost never out of walking distance from a large amount of services.

    Electric cars are great, much cleaner than fossil fuel cars. Moving a single person in a one tonne steel box full of rare elements around the place is not an energy efficient means of transport, it's extremely wasteful. If this government want to reduce emissions from transport, we should follow Germany's example and make it illegal to build a house more than 1km form a village, with a handful of exceptions for farmers and foresters.

    Naturally economics is moving more and more people into bigger and bigger cities, so our unsustainable settlement pattern is likely to self-terminate. However our government has it's head up it's arse talking about electric cars. Densely populated cities, with lots of affordable apartments and lots of pedestrianised spaces and a well funded public transport network is where the funds should be allocated. Electric cars can be a small part of the solution, awkward one off trips and all that, but that's putting the cart before the horse.
    Surely you know that the government couldn't give a rats ass about carbon/green energy. It's all about optics. A balancing act to pretend you're being "green".


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick




  • Registered Users Posts: 7,085 ✭✭✭ GerardKeating


    Actually we had once here once. sometimes in the 80's, memory is foggy on it, I think something tripped out in Tarbert, and (since another station was off line for maintiance) much of the north side of dublin went dark. not sure of the impacts in the rest of the country, socail media, the internet and 24/7 did not exist then.

    iI remember when it happened, I was walking along the James Larkin Road, seeing the lights in Sutton, and then all of howth go out, and walking down the Howth Road to Raheny, andf not a light any where. I think it was off 90 minutes or something like that.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,073 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    We had power cuts due to industrial action. We have had power cuts due to storms etc. I cannot recall a grid fault due to overloading that caused widespread cuts though, but there may have been one.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,990 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    Well there was this explosion at an ESB substation:
    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/explosion-at-esb-substation-cuts-power-to-15-000-in-dublin-1.2614111

    I've experienced a couple of other widespread outages in Dublin in recent years due to blown transformers, etc.

    But of course they aren't power grid collapses.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,073 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    bk wrote: »
    Well there was this explosion at an ESB substation:
    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/explosion-at-esb-substation-cuts-power-to-15-000-in-dublin-1.2614111

    I've experienced a couple of other widespread outages in Dublin in recent years due to blown transformers, etc.

    But of course they aren't power grid collapses.

    Exactly, ESB not Eirgrid. Faults can cause problems that cause outages, that is not the point here. The grid is controlled if it selects the action to be taken and is not forced by overload and outages occur by automated actions that cascade.

    There was a problem some years ago during a cold snap in November - can't remember the year - but the was a high pressure zone sat centered over the whole of Ireland which caused clear skies and no wind with very low temperatures. So, maximum demand and no wind generation, and the grid was stretched, but it held up. It might have been close.

    In such a situation, if the grid is under proper control, then customers are shed deliberately in an orderly fashion, not the situation that occurred in the South American situation. The difference might be subtle, but it is not a domino situation where one outage causes another, and another, until the whole network is down.

    Of course such an outage could occur here. After all it was some silly buggers playing with a nuclear reactor that caused Chernobyl.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,292 ✭✭✭ 0lddog


    Minor grid failure in UK today

    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/09/europe/uk-power-outage-gbr-intl/index.html

    Restored within a couple of hours but some train services yet to restart 5 hours later


  • Registered Users Posts: 72,755 ✭✭✭✭ Atlantic Dawn


    How long before they blame the Russians?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,292 ✭✭✭ 0lddog


    https://www.sfchronicle.com/california-wildfires/article/PG-E-outages-loom-for-up-to-2-million-in-14564579.php


    Update :

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/26/us/Kincade-Fire-Sonoma-California.html

    The blackout zone has been expanded to cover up to 2.7 million people.
    Gridlock and long lines for gas as 50,000 are told to flee Sonoma County.
    An additional 39,000 people are ordered to evacuate on Saturday night.
    State officials are demanding changes at PG&E.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,645 ✭✭✭ thomasj


    The issue (well for the Getty fire anyway) was that a branch off a tree fell onto an electricity pilon , setting off a fire and with the strong winds and dry conditions , caused a major chain reaction.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    ESBn are reasonably diligent in not letting trees grow tall enough to *fall* on their transmission lines


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