_Brittle Power_ (Was "Re: Power outage")

Discussion in 'rec.audio.pro' started by LeBaron & Alrich, Aug 15, 2003.

  1. John L Rice <Drummer@ImJohn.com> wrote:

    <snip>
    > Could you explain how this sort of multi-state outage can even happen? If
    > it's really that fragile of a system it seems like it wouldn't take much of
    > a natural disaster or terrorist strike to put the whole of North America in
    > darkness.


    I highly recommend this book:

    _Brittle Power, Energy Strategy for National Security_
    Amory B. Lovins & L. Hunter Lovins
    Brick House Publishing Company
    ISBN 0-931790-28-X

    This first came out in 1982, has a foreword by Admiral Thomas H. Moorer
    and R. James Woolsey, more typos than The Hulk has warts, but lays out
    what a mess is our power grid from a security standpoint. I promise that
    you will find the information startling and appalling, and that
    contemporary investigation will reveal little has changed except the
    load on the grid and the amount of power we can feed into it.

    --
    hank alrich * secret mountain
    audio recording * music production * sound reinforcement
    "If laughter is the best medicine let's take a double dose"
  2. Jay Kadis

    Jay Kadis Guest

    In article <1fzq218.18j7kt0aez9bgN%walkinay@thegrid.net> writes:
    > John L Rice <Drummer@ImJohn.com> wrote:
    >
    > <snip>
    > > Could you explain how this sort of multi-state outage can even happen? If
    > > it's really that fragile of a system it seems like it wouldn't take much of
    > > a natural disaster or terrorist strike to put the whole of North America in
    > > darkness.

    >
    > I highly recommend this book:
    >
    > _Brittle Power, Energy Strategy for National Security_
    > Amory B. Lovins & L. Hunter Lovins
    > Brick House Publishing Company
    > ISBN 0-931790-28-X
    >
    > This first came out in 1982, has a foreword by Admiral Thomas H. Moorer
    > and R. James Woolsey, more typos than The Hulk has warts, but lays out
    > what a mess is our power grid from a security standpoint. I promise that
    > you will find the information startling and appalling, and that
    > contemporary investigation will reveal little has changed except the
    > load on the grid and the amount of power we can feed into it.
    >
    > --
    > hank alrich * secret mountain
    > audio recording * music production * sound reinforcement
    > "If laughter is the best medicine let's take a double dose"


    Perhaps this is all a way of providing Bush with an excuse for the power
    problems in Iraq... "Hey, we can't even keep our OWN power on!"

    It didn't even take a UFO this time.

    -Jay
    --
    x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ----x
    x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
    x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
    x-------- http://ccrma-www.stanford.edu/~jay/ ----------x
  3. I spent about five years working for a power company, and my father
    spent his entire career at one, so I have a slightly different view than
    some...

    the great blackout in the winter of 1965 was caused by a transmission
    line sagging further than expected under an extremely heavy power load.
    What should have been a simple outage in a rural area tripped systems
    connected to the affected area, and we ended up with a great example of
    the good old dominoe effect<G>.

    Since that time a great deal has been done to try to minimize the
    possibility of a repeat, believe it or not!

    But then came public sentiment against both new generation facilities
    and new transmission facilities... all the while demand for power was
    increasing. The company I worked for had several "mine mouth" coal fired
    plants, located about as far from civilization as you could want. They
    also owned an infamous nuclear plant located more or less in the heart
    of a populated area. And they owned a lot of transmission lines.

    When the company pointed out that they needed either more plants or more
    transmission lines the public was quite clear... they didn't want that
    stuff in their back yards... but of course they still wanted more power.

    Not entirely unlike the situation where people want tax cuts and more
    services!

    What frightened me though, was the effect all of this had on the public
    utility management. The first effect was that the folks who had come up
    through the ranks started to lose most of their influence. While once
    upon a time the officers of a power company had power company
    experience, all of the sudden the companies were looking outside their
    industry for leaders. And while this is not always a bad idea, new blood
    can bring in new ideas, in this case the new ideas didn't really fall
    into line with the charter for a public utility. (The fact that this was
    all in preparation for the unregulated power industry was really lost on
    most of us... we simply could not imagine that such a thing would come
    to pass... ah hindsight!)

    But the really scary part was the change in attitude amongst the midddle
    management team that really ran the day to day operations. When I
    started the predominant attitude was that they were there to guarantee
    that everyone had an abundance of clean, safe power. As time passed they
    seemed to lose sight of this. I remember very clearly the director of
    dispatch, who basically controls the grid, grumbling one day about
    public opinion... we were in the middle of a pretty big heat wave, and
    we were instructing out industrial customers to shed their loads, and he
    pointed out that the best thing that could happen was rolling
    black-outs, because then maybe the public would get the message.

    This represented a 180 degress change for him. Just the previous winter,
    when we were fighting overloads during a cold streak (cold weather was
    always a bigger problem than hot weather), this guy spent about 36 hours
    straight through in the dispatch center with the transmission and
    distribution engineers figuring out ways to manage the load so that
    there were no outages. The T&D guys worked in shifts, but the dispatch
    boss left the room only for potty breaks. It was, in his mind, his job
    to protect the grid. And he did.

    He retired not to long after his outburst, his heart just wasn't in it.
    And while he was replaced by an engineer he "groomed", the writing was
    on the wall.

    The power grid is a truly amazing contraption... if you work with it you
    can not help but marvel at it as you pass under transmission lines. But
    it was built without a lot of thought to securing it, because when it
    was built we still believed that terrorists would never act on our soil.

    It will be a huge task to secure it, so the industry spends most of it's
    security efforts making sure things like yesterdays cascading blackout
    can't happen. Clearly they have a little work left to do.

    And it isn't because they don't try... Niagra Mohawk, where a lot of
    fingers are pointed right now, was one of the most state of the art
    operations in the country when I worked in the industry. That was a long
    time ago now, so I don't know what impact the changes in the industry
    have had on them, but they weren't slouches.

    Finally, the system that protects the grids did not fail completely. The
    group that manages the grid in Pennsylvania was able to halt the
    cascading effect at their borders, which is a good sign.

    LeBaron & Alrich wrote:
    > John L Rice <Drummer@ImJohn.com> wrote:
    >
    > <snip>
    >
    >>Could you explain how this sort of multi-state outage can even happen? If
    >>it's really that fragile of a system it seems like it wouldn't take much of
    >>a natural disaster or terrorist strike to put the whole of North America in
    >>darkness.

    >
    >
    > I highly recommend this book:
    >
    > _Brittle Power, Energy Strategy for National Security_
    > Amory B. Lovins & L. Hunter Lovins
    > Brick House Publishing Company
    > ISBN 0-931790-28-X
    >
    > This first came out in 1982, has a foreword by Admiral Thomas H. Moorer
    > and R. James Woolsey, more typos than The Hulk has warts, but lays out
    > what a mess is our power grid from a security standpoint. I promise that
    > you will find the information startling and appalling, and that
    > contemporary investigation will reveal little has changed except the
    > load on the grid and the amount of power we can feed into it.
  4. Bill Thompson wrote:

    > I spent about five years working for a power company, and my father
    > spent his entire career at one
    >
    > --snip excellent recap of the situation then and now --


    Change a few words here and there and you have another accurate
    narrative about the telecom 'grid' and how it and its management have
    changed.



    Thanks...
  5. Hi Kurt,

    Sadly I am all to well aware of that. I worked on the fringe of the
    Telco industry for 12 years, and watched what was once a truly amazing
    structure crumble!

    The real crime though, imnoso, was the loss of Bell Labs. That was so
    shortsighted as to be criminal!

    Bill

    Kurt Albershardt wrote:
    > Bill Thompson wrote:
    >
    >> I spent about five years working for a power company, and my father
    >> spent his entire career at one
    >>
    >> --snip excellent recap of the situation then and now --

    >
    >
    > Change a few words here and there and you have another accurate
    > narrative about the telecom 'grid' and how it and its management have
    > changed.
    >
    >
    >
    > Thanks...
    >
  6. Jay Kadis

    Jay Kadis Guest

    In article <xJudnRuTkqTThKCiXTWJhg@giganews.com> Bill Thompson
    <bill@audioenterprise.com> writes:
    > Hi Kurt,
    >
    > Sadly I am all to well aware of that. I worked on the fringe of the
    > Telco industry for 12 years, and watched what was once a truly amazing
    > structure crumble!
    >
    > The real crime though, imnoso, was the loss of Bell Labs. That was so
    > shortsighted as to be criminal!
    >
    > Bill
    >


    Bell Labs loss was our gain: Max Mathews and John Pierce.

    -Jay
    --
    x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ----x
    x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
    x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
    x-------- http://ccrma-www.stanford.edu/~jay/ ----------x
  7. Ron Capik

    Ron Capik Guest

    Jay Kadis wrote:

    > >
    > > Sadly I am all to well aware of that. I worked on the fringe of the
    > > Telco industry for 12 years, and watched what was once a truly amazing
    > > structure crumble!
    > >
    > > The real crime though, imnoso, was the loss of Bell Labs. That was so
    > > shortsighted as to be criminal!
    > >
    > > Bill

    > < ..snips... >
    > Bell Labs loss was our gain: Max Mathews and John Pierce.
    >
    > -Jay


    Yeah, but those guys left Bell Labs long before the crash.

    Ron Capik
    --
  8. Jay Kadis wrote:

    > In article <xJudnRuTkqTThKCiXTWJhg@giganews.com> Bill Thompson
    > <bill@audioenterprise.com> writes:
    >
    >>Hi Kurt,
    >>
    >>Sadly I am all to well aware of that. I worked on the fringe of the
    >>Telco industry for 12 years, and watched what was once a truly amazing
    >>structure crumble!
    >>
    >>The real crime though, imnoso, was the loss of Bell Labs. That was so
    >>shortsighted as to be criminal!
    >>
    >>Bill
    >>

    >
    >
    > Bell Labs loss was our gain: Max Mathews and John Pierce.


    Indeed... the Max's and John's of the world were going to find a home...
    but where will the next Max or John come from???

    Bill
  9. Jay Kadis

    Jay Kadis Guest

    In article <U3-dnQt_6oEqvqCiXTWJig@giganews.com> Bill Thompson
    <bill@audioenterprise.com> writes:
    > Jay Kadis wrote:
    >
    > > In article <xJudnRuTkqTThKCiXTWJhg@giganews.com> Bill Thompson
    > > <bill@audioenterprise.com> writes:
    > >
    > >>Hi Kurt,
    > >>
    > >>Sadly I am all to well aware of that. I worked on the fringe of the
    > >>Telco industry for 12 years, and watched what was once a truly amazing
    > >>structure crumble!
    > >>
    > >>The real crime though, imnoso, was the loss of Bell Labs. That was so
    > >>shortsighted as to be criminal!
    > >>
    > >>Bill
    > >>

    > >
    > >
    > > Bell Labs loss was our gain: Max Mathews and John Pierce.

    >
    > Indeed... the Max's and John's of the world were going to find a home...
    > but where will the next Max or John come from???
    >
    > Bill


    Maybe from CCRMA. But it's getting more difficult to be a Renaissance man like
    they were.

    -Jay
    --
    x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ----x
    x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
    x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
    x-------- http://ccrma-www.stanford.edu/~jay/ ----------x
  10. Jay Kadis wrote:

    > Maybe from CCRMA. But it's getting more difficult to be a Renaissance man like
    > they were.


    Well from what I know about CCRMA, they do a real good job of fostering
    a research environment... but they'll never have the bucks that Bell
    Labs had. Bell Labs were the last of the research for the sake of
    research facilities in this country, and they accomplished quite a bit.

    It is true that our long distance charges funded part of that research
    (maybe even a large part as is often argued), but they also made a fair
    penny licensing inventions that they didn't need, and they built a
    marvelous telecommunications infrastructure in the process... not to
    mention advances in sound for film which eventually led to our own
    favorite industries. I think society as a whole benefitted much more
    than the cost of long distance service under the evil monopoly!
  11. John L Rice

    John L Rice Guest

    "LeBaron & Alrich" <walkinay@thegrid.net> wrote in message
    news:1fzq218.18j7kt0aez9bgN%walkinay@thegrid.net...
    > John L Rice <Drummer@ImJohn.com> wrote:
    >
    > <snip>
    > > Could you explain how this sort of multi-state outage can even happen?

    If
    > > it's really that fragile of a system it seems like it wouldn't take much

    of
    > > a natural disaster or terrorist strike to put the whole of North America

    in
    > > darkness.

    >
    > I highly recommend this book:
    >
    > _Brittle Power, Energy Strategy for National Security_
    > Amory B. Lovins & L. Hunter Lovins
    > Brick House Publishing Company
    > ISBN 0-931790-28-X
    >
    > This first came out in 1982, has a foreword by Admiral Thomas H. Moorer
    > and R. James Woolsey, more typos than The Hulk has warts, but lays out
    > what a mess is our power grid from a security standpoint. I promise that
    > you will find the information startling and appalling, and that
    > contemporary investigation will reveal little has changed except the
    > load on the grid and the amount of power we can feed into it.
    >
    > --
    > hank alrich * secret mountain
    > audio recording * music production * sound reinforcement
    > "If laughter is the best medicine let's take a double dose"


    Thank you Hank.

    John L Rice
    Drummer@ImJohn.com
  12. John L Rice

    John L Rice Guest

    Thanks Bill, interesting stuff!

    John L Rice
    Drummer@ImJohn.com

    "Bill Thompson" <bill@audioenterprise.com> wrote in message
    news:zP6dnd6O-s_JnaCiXTWJhw@giganews.com...
    > I spent about five years working for a power company, and my father
    > spent his entire career at one, so I have a slightly different view than
    > some...
    >
    > the great blackout in the winter of 1965 was caused by a transmission
    > line sagging further than expected under an extremely heavy power load.
    > What should have been a simple outage in a rural area tripped systems
    > connected to the affected area, and we ended up with a great example of
    > the good old dominoe effect<G>.
    >
    > Since that time a great deal has been done to try to minimize the
    > possibility of a repeat, believe it or not!
    >
    > But then came public sentiment against both new generation facilities
    > and new transmission facilities... all the while demand for power was
    > increasing. The company I worked for had several "mine mouth" coal fired
    > plants, located about as far from civilization as you could want. They
    > also owned an infamous nuclear plant located more or less in the heart
    > of a populated area. And they owned a lot of transmission lines.
    >
    > When the company pointed out that they needed either more plants or more
    > transmission lines the public was quite clear... they didn't want that
    > stuff in their back yards... but of course they still wanted more power.
    >
    > Not entirely unlike the situation where people want tax cuts and more
    > services!
    >
    > What frightened me though, was the effect all of this had on the public
    > utility management. The first effect was that the folks who had come up
    > through the ranks started to lose most of their influence. While once
    > upon a time the officers of a power company had power company
    > experience, all of the sudden the companies were looking outside their
    > industry for leaders. And while this is not always a bad idea, new blood
    > can bring in new ideas, in this case the new ideas didn't really fall
    > into line with the charter for a public utility. (The fact that this was
    > all in preparation for the unregulated power industry was really lost on
    > most of us... we simply could not imagine that such a thing would come
    > to pass... ah hindsight!)
    >
    > But the really scary part was the change in attitude amongst the midddle
    > management team that really ran the day to day operations. When I
    > started the predominant attitude was that they were there to guarantee
    > that everyone had an abundance of clean, safe power. As time passed they
    > seemed to lose sight of this. I remember very clearly the director of
    > dispatch, who basically controls the grid, grumbling one day about
    > public opinion... we were in the middle of a pretty big heat wave, and
    > we were instructing out industrial customers to shed their loads, and he
    > pointed out that the best thing that could happen was rolling
    > black-outs, because then maybe the public would get the message.
    >
    > This represented a 180 degress change for him. Just the previous winter,
    > when we were fighting overloads during a cold streak (cold weather was
    > always a bigger problem than hot weather), this guy spent about 36 hours
    > straight through in the dispatch center with the transmission and
    > distribution engineers figuring out ways to manage the load so that
    > there were no outages. The T&D guys worked in shifts, but the dispatch
    > boss left the room only for potty breaks. It was, in his mind, his job
    > to protect the grid. And he did.
    >
    > He retired not to long after his outburst, his heart just wasn't in it.
    > And while he was replaced by an engineer he "groomed", the writing was
    > on the wall.
    >
    > The power grid is a truly amazing contraption... if you work with it you
    > can not help but marvel at it as you pass under transmission lines. But
    > it was built without a lot of thought to securing it, because when it
    > was built we still believed that terrorists would never act on our soil.
    >
    > It will be a huge task to secure it, so the industry spends most of it's
    > security efforts making sure things like yesterdays cascading blackout
    > can't happen. Clearly they have a little work left to do.
    >
    > And it isn't because they don't try... Niagra Mohawk, where a lot of
    > fingers are pointed right now, was one of the most state of the art
    > operations in the country when I worked in the industry. That was a long
    > time ago now, so I don't know what impact the changes in the industry
    > have had on them, but they weren't slouches.
    >
    > Finally, the system that protects the grids did not fail completely. The
    > group that manages the grid in Pennsylvania was able to halt the
    > cascading effect at their borders, which is a good sign.
    >
    > LeBaron & Alrich wrote:
    > > John L Rice <Drummer@ImJohn.com> wrote:
    > >
    > > <snip>
    > >
    > >>Could you explain how this sort of multi-state outage can even happen?

    If
    > >>it's really that fragile of a system it seems like it wouldn't take much

    of
    > >>a natural disaster or terrorist strike to put the whole of North America

    in
    > >>darkness.

    > >
    > >
    > > I highly recommend this book:
    > >
    > > _Brittle Power, Energy Strategy for National Security_
    > > Amory B. Lovins & L. Hunter Lovins
    > > Brick House Publishing Company
    > > ISBN 0-931790-28-X
    > >
    > > This first came out in 1982, has a foreword by Admiral Thomas H. Moorer
    > > and R. James Woolsey, more typos than The Hulk has warts, but lays out
    > > what a mess is our power grid from a security standpoint. I promise that
    > > you will find the information startling and appalling, and that
    > > contemporary investigation will reveal little has changed except the
    > > load on the grid and the amount of power we can feed into it.

    >
  13. To make matters worse, a young grad student developed a multidimensional
    database that traces all power to it's sources and internet connections
    throughout the entire US. I believe Kurt put me onto that info, but it's
    public knowledge and the government it trying to shut this guy's thesis
    down. Point being that with Woolsey and Moorer it was a "cloud" where all
    things took place, and access was the security single point of failure.
    When it's cyber attack it's at the single point of failure and hopefully
    we're up to the task (Damn, I really should have written that book
    "Shutdown" in 1999). Now that the cloud has a schematic there are numerous
    security points of vulnerability that can be easily traced. Talk about a
    kid who's idea was magnificent but totally at the wrong time and place.
    Actually it's just a better done product than my old enterprise network
    topography maps, but essentially the same idea. I knew, wherever any
    problem existed in the US at IRS offices, exactly where to look and what
    circuit to look at. But that was my job, this kid did it from public
    records. What if he wasn't the first?

    --


    Roger W. Norman
    SirMusic Studio
    Purchase your copy of the Fifth of RAP CD set at www.recaudiopro.net. See
    how far $20 really goes.




    "LeBaron & Alrich" <walkinay@thegrid.net> wrote in message
    news:1fzq218.18j7kt0aez9bgN%walkinay@thegrid.net...
    > John L Rice <Drummer@ImJohn.com> wrote:
    >
    > <snip>
    > > Could you explain how this sort of multi-state outage can even happen?

    If
    > > it's really that fragile of a system it seems like it wouldn't take much

    of
    > > a natural disaster or terrorist strike to put the whole of North America

    in
    > > darkness.

    >
    > I highly recommend this book:
    >
    > _Brittle Power, Energy Strategy for National Security_
    > Amory B. Lovins & L. Hunter Lovins
    > Brick House Publishing Company
    > ISBN 0-931790-28-X
    >
    > This first came out in 1982, has a foreword by Admiral Thomas H. Moorer
    > and R. James Woolsey, more typos than The Hulk has warts, but lays out
    > what a mess is our power grid from a security standpoint. I promise that
    > you will find the information startling and appalling, and that
    > contemporary investigation will reveal little has changed except the
    > load on the grid and the amount of power we can feed into it.
    >
    > --
    > hank alrich * secret mountain
    > audio recording * music production * sound reinforcement
    > "If laughter is the best medicine let's take a double dose"
  14. Roger W. Norman wrote:
    > To make matters worse, a young grad student developed a multidimensional
    > database that traces all power to it's sources and internet connections
    > throughout the entire US. I believe Kurt put me onto that info, but it's
    > public knowledge and the government it trying to shut this guy's thesis
    > down. Point being that with Woolsey and Moorer it was a "cloud" where all
    > things took place, and access was the security single point of failure.
    > When it's cyber attack it's at the single point of failure and hopefully
    > we're up to the task (Damn, I really should have written that book
    > "Shutdown" in 1999). Now that the cloud has a schematic there are numerous
    > security points of vulnerability that can be easily traced. Talk about a
    > kid who's idea was magnificent but totally at the wrong time and place.
    > Actually it's just a better done product than my old enterprise network
    > topography maps, but essentially the same idea. I knew, wherever any
    > problem existed in the US at IRS offices, exactly where to look and what
    > circuit to look at. But that was my job, this kid did it from public
    > records. What if he wasn't the first?


    I apologize in advance for being vague... but there are a number of
    security issues concerning the public power grid, and obviously I am not
    going to spell them out. What I can tell you is that the utilities, at
    least when I worked there, took the matter extremely seriously. I doubt
    highly that it has slipped that far on the priority list.

    While I spelled out the change in attitude amongst the leaders in the
    industry, I can't believe that public safety is not still very high on
    their priority list. When there is a fault on a 500KV line a tremendous
    amount of energy gets dumped into ground. It's lethal!

    When we conducted ground fault tests we stood with our feet together...
    the bosses would tell tales of cows being electrocuted becuase the
    distance between their front and rear legs was far enough to develop a
    lethal potential difference. Imagine that!

    We spent a lot of time and money securing out facilities, and some of
    the measures caused a lot of policical problems for the company. No one
    likes it when a utility asks local government to condemns land, and the
    usual reaction is that they are a bunch of greedy bastards... but
    sometimes it is done simply because there is no other way. The utilities
    try every means at their disposal before resorting to that. We used to
    have a bullet ridden car on display behind the garage, the result of a
    company real estate guy trying to visit a farmer.

    The problem with the transmission network today is that you can not hide
    it... it is simply too large. That it has never been a target, except in
    novels, amazes me.

    Since the network can not be hidden, it is designed in a way where it
    can be segmented so that if any small part is damaged that part is
    immediately isolated.

    That makes this weeks blackout all the more mysterious, because I know
    that the designed protection is good.

    My own suspicion, and that's all it is since I haven't worked in the
    industry in a very long time, is that last week the grid ran up against
    an inaccurate approximation. The protective devices that segment the
    network are designed to trip when a specific parameter is exceeded, and
    the calculation of that exception point is based on various assumptions
    and trade-offs. If the devices are too sensitive than you end up with
    too many trips, which inconveniences the rate-payer. If you make the
    threshold too high people can die. Finding the middle point is not trivial.

    So my guess is that it really won't matter what started the cascade, any
    fault could have done it. The system load was so high because of the
    heat, and the generation that was avaiable to meet the load, that the
    system was already bordering on instability, so that the slightest fault
    would force the system into instability, and the protective devices were
    just "that much" too slow.

    Hopefully this incident will help regulators focus on the very real
    issues associated with power generation, transmission, and distribution,
    and not in a knee-jerk fashion. They can then start the process of
    educating the public that we need to readjust our attitudes towards
    power consumption... and provision.

    I don't actually think one incident will have this affect... but I am
    free to hope!
  15. Security within the mechanism of power generation and transmission aren't
    necessarily the security points of failure. It's where things connect to
    the rest of the world where architectural drawings have to be on public
    file. After all, it's known that Bin Laden and his other structural
    engineers really studied the Towers. They were surprised they brought the
    Towers down, but it's a lesson that should have been learned. Our
    infrastructure of power and telecommunications are the biggest arteries of
    blood they could let right now, bringing us to our knees in a matter of
    days. This much is obvious. And they need not attack secure facilities
    necessarily, in order to bring this about.

    With technology available today, it's not only possible, but highly
    preferrable to have one's own generating facilities, if naught but for major
    grid failures. At least most homes in the proper locations could be
    relatively self sufficient with some tax incentives from the government and
    allow more grid generated power be available to business.

    The point being that it's not a "redundancy" factor in major grid systems
    that would overly thwart attacks, it's the fact that if they did attack
    these types of faults, it wouldn't necessarily harm the major functions of
    people, business and government.

    It seems to me that the message is loud and clear. We HAVE to develop more
    generating stations, or the people are going to have to take it upon
    themselves to maintain their own way of living, which means having
    electricity when you want it. I'm actually an advocate of the later, but at
    least the more independant the grids are, the less likely catastrophic
    failures would occur.

    You see, that's the only way I can see to be proactive about thwarting
    outside or inside attacks. Since business and people's lives and government
    functions are all tons of different things each day, the only common point
    between them all is electricity. Hit something that allows that one thing
    to stop electricity and you've obviously adversely affected the people,
    businesses and government. If there are no major points like that, it
    simply can't be done. So this is probably a pretty good representation of
    what can happen when government suspends regulation on an industry and what
    WE, the people, can expect. The power utilities took it upon themselves and
    obviously locked us up tight into a system that can fail in 9 seconds.

    So I'd much rather talk about possible solutions. We all know the threats,
    and actually now have a very clear understanding of them. I can't see
    anything that the government nor the utilities/both could come up with a
    plan go assure America power. So I guess I'm saying, in an old new sort of
    way - POWER TO THE PEOPLE! <g>

    --


    Roger W. Norman
    SirMusic Studio
    Purchase your copy of the Fifth of RAP CD set at www.recaudiopro.net. See
    how far $20 really goes.




    "Bill Thompson" <bill@audioenterprise.com> wrote in message
    news:RtWcnT6cYe6oDKKiU-KYvw@giganews.com...
    > Roger W. Norman wrote:
    > > To make matters worse, a young grad student developed a multidimensional
    > > database that traces all power to it's sources and internet connections
    > > throughout the entire US. I believe Kurt put me onto that info, but

    it's
    > > public knowledge and the government it trying to shut this guy's thesis
    > > down. Point being that with Woolsey and Moorer it was a "cloud" where

    all
    > > things took place, and access was the security single point of failure.
    > > When it's cyber attack it's at the single point of failure and hopefully
    > > we're up to the task (Damn, I really should have written that book
    > > "Shutdown" in 1999). Now that the cloud has a schematic there are

    numerous
    > > security points of vulnerability that can be easily traced. Talk about

    a
    > > kid who's idea was magnificent but totally at the wrong time and place.
    > > Actually it's just a better done product than my old enterprise network
    > > topography maps, but essentially the same idea. I knew, wherever any
    > > problem existed in the US at IRS offices, exactly where to look and what
    > > circuit to look at. But that was my job, this kid did it from public
    > > records. What if he wasn't the first?

    >
    > I apologize in advance for being vague... but there are a number of
    > security issues concerning the public power grid, and obviously I am not
    > going to spell them out. What I can tell you is that the utilities, at
    > least when I worked there, took the matter extremely seriously. I doubt
    > highly that it has slipped that far on the priority list.
    >
    > While I spelled out the change in attitude amongst the leaders in the
    > industry, I can't believe that public safety is not still very high on
    > their priority list. When there is a fault on a 500KV line a tremendous
    > amount of energy gets dumped into ground. It's lethal!
    >
    > When we conducted ground fault tests we stood with our feet together...
    > the bosses would tell tales of cows being electrocuted becuase the
    > distance between their front and rear legs was far enough to develop a
    > lethal potential difference. Imagine that!
    >
    > We spent a lot of time and money securing out facilities, and some of
    > the measures caused a lot of policical problems for the company. No one
    > likes it when a utility asks local government to condemns land, and the
    > usual reaction is that they are a bunch of greedy bastards... but
    > sometimes it is done simply because there is no other way. The utilities
    > try every means at their disposal before resorting to that. We used to
    > have a bullet ridden car on display behind the garage, the result of a
    > company real estate guy trying to visit a farmer.
    >
    > The problem with the transmission network today is that you can not hide
    > it... it is simply too large. That it has never been a target, except in
    > novels, amazes me.
    >
    > Since the network can not be hidden, it is designed in a way where it
    > can be segmented so that if any small part is damaged that part is
    > immediately isolated.
    >
    > That makes this weeks blackout all the more mysterious, because I know
    > that the designed protection is good.
    >
    > My own suspicion, and that's all it is since I haven't worked in the
    > industry in a very long time, is that last week the grid ran up against
    > an inaccurate approximation. The protective devices that segment the
    > network are designed to trip when a specific parameter is exceeded, and
    > the calculation of that exception point is based on various assumptions
    > and trade-offs. If the devices are too sensitive than you end up with
    > too many trips, which inconveniences the rate-payer. If you make the
    > threshold too high people can die. Finding the middle point is not

    trivial.
    >
    > So my guess is that it really won't matter what started the cascade, any
    > fault could have done it. The system load was so high because of the
    > heat, and the generation that was avaiable to meet the load, that the
    > system was already bordering on instability, so that the slightest fault
    > would force the system into instability, and the protective devices were
    > just "that much" too slow.
    >
    > Hopefully this incident will help regulators focus on the very real
    > issues associated with power generation, transmission, and distribution,
    > and not in a knee-jerk fashion. They can then start the process of
    > educating the public that we need to readjust our attitudes towards
    > power consumption... and provision.
    >
    > I don't actually think one incident will have this affect... but I am
    > free to hope!
    >
  16. ScotFraser

    ScotFraser Guest

    << At least most homes in the proper locations could be
    relatively self sufficient with some tax incentives from the government and
    allow more grid generated power be available to business. >>

    The city of Los Angeles will kick in 50% to help homeowners subsidize a solar
    retrofit, because they realize it's in the best interests of the city. It would
    still cost me about $10,000 to $15,000 to fully run off the sun, so it won't
    pay for itself in savings within my lifetime, but would still be a good thing
    in general to do.


    Scott Fraser
  17. Ironically, in the early 1900's, Los Angeles was almost completely
    solar-powered. The large energy interests couldn't live with that.


    ScotFraser wrote:
    > << At least most homes in the proper locations could be
    > relatively self sufficient with some tax incentives from the government and
    > allow more grid generated power be available to business. >>
    >
    > The city of Los Angeles will kick in 50% to help homeowners subsidize a solar
    > retrofit, because they realize it's in the best interests of the city. It would
    > still cost me about $10,000 to $15,000 to fully run off the sun, so it won't
    > pay for itself in savings within my lifetime, but would still be a good thing
    > in general to do.
    >
    >
    > Scott Fraser
  18. ScotFraser wrote:
    >
    > The city of Los Angeles will kick in 50% to help homeowners subsidize a solar
    > retrofit, because they realize it's in the best interests of the city.


    The City of LA did a very smart thing and created an extra rebate for PV
    products manufactured within the City--which encouraged Siemens to build
    another plant there rather than locating out of state (probably
    Washington near a big dam since crystalline PV requires a fair bit of
    power and water to make.)


    > It would
    > still cost me about $10,000 to $15,000 to fully run off the sun, so it won't
    > pay for itself in savings within my lifetime, but would still be a good thing
    > in general to do.


    You're not THAT old, are you?
  19. Rob Adelman

    Rob Adelman Guest

    ScotFraser wrote:

    > << At least most homes in the proper locations could be
    > relatively self sufficient with some tax incentives from the government and
    > allow more grid generated power be available to business. >>
    >
    > The city of Los Angeles will kick in 50% to help homeowners subsidize a solar
    > retrofit, because they realize it's in the best interests of the city. It would
    > still cost me about $10,000 to $15,000 to fully run off the sun, so it won't
    > pay for itself in savings within my lifetime, but would still be a good thing
    > in general to do.


    I think it is the state of California giving the rebate. My brother is
    near San Diego and the state did pay for half. But your numbers are way
    low. Granted he got a heavy duty system making his house 100% self
    sufficient, but it was more like 80 grand. After the rebate that is
    still 40 thousand. Seems like not such a good bargain, but he feels good
    that he is doing something about the problem. Add on the savings to
    operate his Toyota Rav 4 electric and he isn't doing to badly.
  20. Will your fricking house to your children and no matter how you look at it,
    unless it's removed, it will always stand for your concerns for the
    environment without giving enviornmentalists all the power they currently
    seem to have, with a healthy dose of money from the United Nations, I might
    add. Look at the new Republican backed bill that will give major tax
    credits to people that sell their land to the government or the Nature
    Conservancy and such. 25% taxes off the sale price of the land granted to a
    conservancy group. And it's squat to someone that donates their land to a
    church. I'd suggest you take a look at the Wildlands Project if you haven't
    already.

    But back to the point. Reasoning that the benefits you receive won't be
    worth it ignores the fact that the property will escalate in value simply
    because of this inclusion. That you might outlive the benefits isn't why we
    remodel homes or build play areas for children. Shit, in five years they
    don't want it anymore. Things are always fluid, but establishing a
    guideline or working towards a goal, in the long run, works out better for
    everyone. If we have these self aggrandized concepts that what we do in the
    TODAY are only of to benefit us, then it negates the argument of doing for
    the future.

    What I'd like to see, in order to help eliminate this type of perception
    would be to negate any capital gains or estate (death) taxes on an inherited
    house that had been built to be self sufficient. Clearly there are reasons
    to do this. It kinda follows the concept of a nation of individuals. If a
    soldier can be an Army of one, then the people can be an American of one.
    Clear of thought, consise in decision, able to research any topic within a
    single click, and able to thrust back the dark shrouds of the doe-eyed
    vacuation and sameness predicted in THX1138. Can anyone deny Prozac? Can
    anyone deny a march back towards America, Love It or Leave it? Do we forget
    the shame of castigating the Dixie Chicks or Susan Surrandon, Tim Robbins or
    Richard Jewel (see, even the Clinton administration can't get out of some
    the the shit)? Can we even say what is fair when we can't convict a killer
    and yet convict innocents for killings? Somehow, it all comes back to
    community, and this has been my thought ever since 9/11. If we refuse to
    change, refuse to look the beast in the eye, and refuse to incorporate our
    lives into the souls of our communities, then we've lost what actually made
    America great. America was the place you built a future. Well, we're there
    and there hasn't been a whole lot of building going on lately.

    $10k or $15k for those that are building now is a lot less than a retro-fit.
    A retro-fit will still save you money. It only takes every homeowner to
    look at the figures and make a decision. Those that go for it will be
    energy self sufficient. It's really that simple. If you own something,
    then nobody can come take it away. They may, however, be able to destroy
    it.

    --


    Roger W. Norman
    SirMusic Studio
    Purchase your copy of the Fifth of RAP CD set at www.recaudiopro.net. See
    how far $20 really goes.




    "ScotFraser" <scotfraser@aol.com> wrote in message
    news:20030818120056.10819.00000149@mb-m14.aol.com...
    > << At least most homes in the proper locations could be
    > relatively self sufficient with some tax incentives from the government

    and
    > allow more grid generated power be available to business. >>
    >
    > The city of Los Angeles will kick in 50% to help homeowners subsidize a

    solar
    > retrofit, because they realize it's in the best interests of the city. It

    would
    > still cost me about $10,000 to $15,000 to fully run off the sun, so it

    won't
    > pay for itself in savings within my lifetime, but would still be a good

    thing
    > in general to do.
    >
    >
    > Scott Fraser

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