Do You Have A Generator Yet – CA Green Energy Could Destroy Grid

WASHINGTON — In a sprawling complex of laboratories and futuristic gadgets in Golden, Colo., a supercomputer named Peregrine does a quadrillion calculations per second to help scientists figure out how to keep the lights on.

Peregrine was turned on this year by the U.S. Energy Department. It has the world’s largest “petascale” computing capability. It is the size of a Mack truck.
Its job is to figure out how to cope with a risk from something the public generally thinks of as benign — renewable energy.

Energy officials worry a lot these days about the stability of the massive patchwork of wires, substations and algorithms that keeps electricity flowing. They rattle off several scenarios that could lead to a collapse of the power grid — a well-executed cyberattack, a freak storm, sabotage.

But as states, led by California, race to bring more wind, solar and geothermal power online, those and other forms of alternative energy have become a new source of anxiety. The problem is that renewable energy adds unprecedented levels of stress to a grid designed for the previous century.

Green energy is the least predictable kind. Nobody can say for certain when the wind will blow or the sun will shine. A field of solar panels might be cranking out huge amounts of energy one minute and a tiny amount the next if a thick cloud arrives. In many cases, renewable resources exist where transmission lines don’t.

“The grid was not built for renewables,” said Trieu Mai, senior analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The frailty imperils lofty goals for greenhouse gas reductions. Concerned state and federal officials are spending billions of dollars in ratepayer and taxpayer money in an effort to hasten the technological breakthroughs needed for the grid to keep up with the demands of clean energy.

Read the rest here: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-grid-renewables-20131203,0,1019786.story#ixzz2mTG1FFTr

Bottom line, as CARB forces us to use more green energy, you need to be prepared for the black outs which are sure to come!

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About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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7 Responses to Do You Have A Generator Yet – CA Green Energy Could Destroy Grid

  1. Dave Cranfield says:

    I’m still using a Generac 3750 watt portable generator. We considered a whole house generator running on natural gas, but decided against it. The 3750 is sufficient to run our forced air central heater, fridge, 110V tankless water heater, a few lamps and TV (Dish Network) with wattage left over to operate the coffee maker or toaster, but not the 1500W microwave oven. Of course, it is terribly inefficient consuming about 5 gallons of gasoline over an 8 hour period. Running extension cords all over the house is a hassle. At bed time, we shut the generator off, wake to a very cold house and start the routine all over again. 2, five gallon gas cans and a car full of gas to siphon from can hold us for 4 days. The worst was the snow storm just before Thanksgiving 2010. 27 inches of overnight snow (too deep for my ATV snowplow to tackle) and power out Sunday through Wednesday. But, we made it.

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    • Dave, those long power outages in winter can be very bonding. Our family was without electricity for one very cold week ~2004 (before we had a generator). Our home had a tiny fireplace that was barely sufficient to heat the living room which we huddled in like scene from Dr. Zhivago. Fun memories for a one-time event–hoping not to repeat it.

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  2. Dena says:

    Why is it that when somebody wants to study something they have to buy the largest computer they can find. I started out on a 16k byte system running around 500,000 instructions per second and learned that much can be done with careful programming and waiting for the results to come out. Current desktops should be more than up to the task of evaluating a power network. I think the quality of programmer the schools are producing is going down hill and it puts the results of their programs in question.

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  3. Dai Meagher, CPA says:

    Seems like having a generator is just a good idea in general for where we live. Generac makes a good generator that runs on Propane or Natural Gas. I have a 10/12 KW model. FYI, when running with everything on, it can consume 2 to 3 gallons of fuel per hour, so you use the Propane model, want to have a full tank prior to storms. Having a generator can also be helpful during wild fires which can interrupt electrical power. These generators are electric starts. The installation is complicated enough that you need an electrician to install it. Mine has been working well for the past 7 years.

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    • Dena says:

      I would love to have a generator but I lack natural gas and a propane tank that large is out of the question. Other fuels such as gas or diesel go bad over time so unless you run the generator often, you end up with bigger problems. If you want to cut fuel cost, turn off as much as you can when running the generator. In the motor home reducing the load on the generator greatly reduced the fuel used by the generator.

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      • My tank is a 500 gallon tank, provided by one of our local propane companies. Your right, propane has that advantage of not having the stale fuel issue. I rarely run my generator even though it has an “exerciser” function. It’s always started. In some ways I wish I had a smaller generator because just running it on the lowest load still consumes more than I’d like–which means keeping the fridge & freezer operating overnight during a summer outage can use a chunk of fuel.

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      • Dena says:

        I would suggest you shut the generator off before going to bed and turning it back on when you get up. As long as you don’t go in it, it the fridge should hold for 8 hours and 24 hours for the freezer. You should run the generator from time to time in order to move the oil on the cylinder walls and to dry the water out of the oil. Other than that, your generator shouldn’t need much run time to maintain it.

        We lost power a couple of times for around 8 hours when they rewired our condo complex but as we knew it was coming, we move everything we needed to an ice chest before they cut the power and we didn’t lose anything other than an alarm clock and a control board for the heater/air conditioner that failed because of them spiking the power. By the way, the fridge is set to 32 degrees and the freezer is set to 0 degrees. Using those settings may also extend the hold time over something set warmer. We did find we needed to use some care in storing eggs as they were the first to freeze at that setting.

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