Wrong Premise for Grid Reliability- Our Power Grid is just as essential as our military to secure our Freedoms and Liberties.
Why there are Brown Outs and Rolling Blackouts.
If there is one development that has significantly improved the modern-day life of every person, it is the electrical grid. You can’t make decisions that are not based on facts that won’t adversely affect the reliability of the power grid. As a grid engineer, we are always challenging ideas under various conditions to prove their integrity and dependability over the long-term.
As a former Grid Engineer with a Transmission utility, generation and transmission are critical links in the grid. If generation is lost in one area of the grid, it doesn’t only require generation to pick up the slack from other areas, it also overloads the transmission lines to transmit the required load to meet the need from other sources.
Just like the circuit breakers in your kitchen where you might have multiple devices plugged up to one outlet on that breaker, it can trip your home breaker. The same occurs with the breakers in the substations; they will trip when the breaker sees an overload. The relays sense the overload and send a signal for the breaker to trip to protect the integrity of the line. Then you are looking at a cascading effect of overloading other lines that are trying to pick up the load demand.
Great example of experiencing an overload on a line would be trying to reroute traffic from a 6 lane Interstate onto a two lane rural highway. It isn’t designed to handle that amount of traffic. In line design the line has a safe operating range. Exceeding that range causes damage to the line and safety concerns for the public.
There one reason that wind turbines are not capable of meeting demands at the peak load ,like during a ice storm. If there isn’t reliable generation in the general vicinity of the load, it causes transmission lines from other sources of generation to overload and cause the utility to deploy rolling blackouts at the worst time, during peak demand under extreme, deadly cold weather.
Green energy is a source of energy, but it isn’t reliable as a generating source as experienced in areas where ice storms that have occurred, like Texas. Texas relies on wind turbines to produce 25% of their power base. Natural gas and nuclear generation still remain the most reliable and clean sources for fuel for generation.
These are the facts to why it is important to maintain system or grid integrity of generation and transmission.
The feature image is the temperature of 14° at 6:08 AM on 16Feb2021. My question is this- Is it Climate Warming or Climate Change? Because the narrative changed about eight years ago.
Another connection that I had with a song was when we were working on a H-Frame Structure on the banks of the Tallahatchie River near the Bridge where Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge in Bobbie Gentry song Ole to Billy Joe, I’m shown below on the Double-Channel Steel X-arm in the middle.
Just an observation: Just as if a person doesn’t live to themselves on a island; a utility doesn’t operate to itself in isolation in a state or grid. The decisions they make will impact other utilities in the long haul. If a utility selects an unsustainable generation source that limits their potential to generate to meet load demand, they will have to draw generation from other utilities. There was a acronym we use to used in our work, it was R&D, which mean Reliability and Dependable in designing and planning generation and transmission lines. Not even solar panels are neither Reliable or dependable based on environmental conditions.
Years leading up to my retirement, we had a very aggressive rebuilding and new construction of transmission lines to update the grid to be able to handle the future load in Mississippi. It was a great step in the correct direction. Most grids haven’t experience a upgrade since the 1980’s. Some lines that we were rebuilding hadn’t been upgraded since they were built in the mid- 1940’s. Some of the birth marks on the wooden poles had 1940 or before stamped on them.
Our grid is too important to us not to keep it up dated.
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