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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Rick Perry’s fake grid crisis just got undermined by more grid experts

As I said, NERC doesn’t see any urgent reliability crisis. Its message, if it can be captured in a single sentence: Rapid changes in the electricity sector are raising new challenges and require new thinking, but with a little wisdom and foresight, “the electricity sector will continue to navigate the associated challenges in a manner that maintains reliability and resilience.”

77 WABC-1965 Northeast Blackout-DAN INGRAM

Last night marked 57 years since the Great 1965 Blackout. The power didn't go instantly, instead the frequency of the alternating current dropped as parts of the grid failed and remaining generators still online tried to crank out sufficient current to keep the lights running. As radio stations were using tape decks back then, as the frequency of the alternating current slowed, you can actually hear the tape recording of Jonathan King's "Everybody's Gone to the Moon" slow down. It was a perfect song to be playing on that night, because it was a full moon.

Electrical Safety: The Fatal Current

"Strange as it may seem, most fatal electric shocks happen to people who should know better. Here are some electro-medical facts that should make you think twice before taking that last chance."

"Offhand it would seem that a shock of 10,000 volts would be more deadly than 100 volts. But this is not so! Individuals have been electrocuted by appliances using ordinary house currents of 110 volts and by electrical apparatus in industry using as little as 42 volts direct current. The real measure of shock's intensity lies in the amount of current (amperes) forced though the body, and not the voltage. Any electrical device used on a house wiring circuit can, under certain conditions, transmit a fatal current. While any amount of current over 10 milliamps (0.01 amp) is capable of producing painful to severe shock, currents between 100 and 200 mA (0.1 to 0.2 amp) are lethal. Currents above 200 milliamps (0.2 amp), while producing severe burns and unconsciousness, do not usually cause death if the victim is given immediate attention. Resuscitation, consisting of artificial respiration, will usually revive the victim. From a practical viewpoint, after a person is knocked out by an electrical shock it is impossible to tell how much current has passed through the vital organs of his body. Artificial respiration must be applied immediately if breathing has stopped."

DOE limits NOPR to RTOs with capacity markets as FERC denies extension request

"DOE's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) has created some odd allies of convenience. Natural gas generators, renewable energy developers, electric cooperatives, munis and others joined together last week to ask FERC to extend its consideration timeframe for the controversial rule. They were joined later by industrial energy consumers and the National Association of Utility Regulatory Commissioners, the association for state utility regulators. The groups argued at least 90 days was necessary to evaluate the rule."

"The only entities to openly support FERC's proposed timeline were coal and nuclear generators, which would be the direct beneficiaries of the reforms. Even so, the commission dismissed the motions for extension in just 50 words."

"The DOE NOPR would provide cost recovery for merchant power plants in wholesale electricity markets that keep 90 days of fuel supplied onsite. But just which wholesale markets it would apply to became less clear in recent days. The version of the NOPR filed in the Federal Register on Oct. 10 states that cost recovery would apply to merchant plants in ISO and RTO jurisdictions with "energy and capacity markets." The original version of the NOPR, filed Sept. 29 at the FERC eLibrary, said nothing about a capacity market requirement. Of the six grid operators under FERC jurisdiction, three have capacity markets — ISO-New England, the New York ISO and the PJM Interconnection. The Southwest Power Pool and the California ISO do not have a capacity markets, and the Midcontinent ISO has a voluntary capacity market, making it unclear how the rule would be applied there. FERC does not comment on ongoing proceedings, but DOE spokesperson Shaylyn Hynes said her agency considers the later version filed in the Register to be the final proposal. "

Solar Energy Boom Sets New Records, Shattering Expectations

"Driven largely by a boom in solar power, renewable energy expansion has hit record-breaking totals across the globe and is shattering expectations, especially in the United States, where projections were pessimistic just a decade ago."

"In 2016, almost two-thirds of new power capacity came from renewables, bypassing net coal generation growth globally for the first time. Most of the expansion came from a 50 percent growth in solar, much of it in China."

"In the U.S., solar power capacity doubled compared to 2015—itself a record-breaking year—with the country adding 14.5 gigawatts of solar power, far outpacing government projections. In the first half of 2017, wind and solar accounted for 10 percent of monthly electricity generation for the first time. "

How DOE’s baseload power rule ‘would blow the market up’

Subsidizing baseload power makes absolutely no sense, especially as more renewables come online. If you can't produce power economically at non-peak times, you shouldn't be on the grid.

That said, we need more peaking and mid-load plants, to make the sure ramp can be met affordably, especially on hot days. The ramp is going only to get steeper in coming years, especially as hot weather becomes more common -- and renewables slack off by mid-afternoon as the sun angle falls and wind becomes still. Grid operators have to ensure they always have enough spinning reserve to meet whatever demand is put on the grid.

Coal right now doesn't ramp well, but that's where coal supporters should be putting their money -- researching how to make coal ramp up and down quickly (and cleanly). They ramp up and down coal plants to a certain extent in wind-heavy parts of country, but it's tough on equipment that doesn't take well to temperature and pressure changes, and is actually making air pollution worse, as coal plants tend to pollute the most when they're being ramped up and down.

How Much Power Does 10 Amps Carry

When doing a wiring project, one must select a wire size that is able to move a certain amperage of electricity along it. The thinner the wire, the more resistance and heat that is produced when a certain electricity is moved along it. To move 10 amps of current over 20 feet, you should use a 12 gauge wire. That will produce a voltage drop of less then 3%. That same 12 gauge wire can carry either 100 watts at 12 volts, or 1,200 watts at 120 volts. You can see the advantage of higher voltages in wiring.