Author Topic: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm  (Read 1974 times)

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Offline mtdoc

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Offline cdev

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« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 07:00:01 am by cdev »
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Offline David Hess

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2018, 11:49:52 am »
Tsunamis aside, the control rods can be dropped in seconds. As long as the coolant pump's backup generators aren't washed away by the tsunami, a solar storm is not going to cause nuclear meltdowns, or at least that connection is ridiculously tangential at best. Ridiculously sensationalistic.

Fukushima unit 1 had passive cooling systems in the form of isolation condensers but once AC and DC power to the control systems was lost, they could not longer be activated and were left in an unknown state which as it ends up was disabled and nobody had the experience to know that they were not operating.  The unit 2 passive cooling systems were engaged when power was lost and they continued to operate, although nobody knew it, until they ran out of water days later.

So safety did not even require coolant pumps but there were still failures.
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2018, 11:51:14 am »
probably even off-grid solar power, is not going to do you any good.

Do you have calculations for this?

Off-grid solar power should not be affected but there is not much of it.  Most individual solar installations use grid-tie inverters which require the grid to be operating for solar power to be available.
 

Offline SparkyFX

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2018, 12:08:41 pm »
Normally the transformer should be protected from a major damage - there are fuses to blow before the transformer does. However these are not always sufficient, but likely most of the time. So it would not be all transformers down, but only a few percent of the ones that sit at long lines, and quite a lot of blown fuses.
I guess all mains-transformers are protected against lines failing short or open, the longer the wire, the higher the probability of a failure - there is no solar storm required to cause a huge spike in current. Lines falling on each other is an everyday thing on a larger scale.

Common mode rejection might be relevant in such a situation, but its not only the wires that are hit, it´s also the ground, so relative where is that big increase coming from, in a ground referenced circuit?

And i kind of doubt that it would be much worse than in a typical thunderstorm, which is basically the same (atmospheric charge/discharge gets added to the system) and is huge enough to cover a segment of a grid. Of course it is one grid, but it is a segmented grid and the usual electrical installation has a protection that matches that segments size. I don´t see where a solar storm overload should differ from any other overload. If someone doesn´t protect properly, it would have failed anyway, as this is not a "80% of the maximum performance yields 80% results" type of calculation, it either fails catastrophically or it doesn´t.

Also there is a certain mass of atmosphere and humidity in between space and ground always covering a certain percentage of the exposed area, possibly dissipating large chunks of said energy.

50% of all orbital satellites (the ones between sun and earth, not behind earth) are probably more affected by that problem than ground installations, even if it´s just a decrease in lifetime.

Quote
Still the grid would be down and it could take some time to restore the fuses and to bring up something like 98% of the grid that is still intact (some of the blown transformers are spare anyway).
Any power plant needs to be connected and then serviced once in a while, therefore bootstrapping should be a regular procedure anyway.

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Offline cdev

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« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 01:00:10 pm by cdev »
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Offline David Hess

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2018, 01:03:26 pm »
Common mode rejection might be relevant in such a situation, but its not only the wires that are hit, it´s also the ground, so relative where is that big increase coming from, in a ground referenced circuit?

The physical problem is the geomagnetic induced common mode current which causes transformer core saturation increasing losses.  The economic problem is that these big transformers have a long production lead time and no spares.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2018, 02:43:12 pm »
So stop designing the system such that transformer destruction is the only way to handle saturation. There is nothing fundamental about this, relatively cheap retrofits should be able to fix this ... leaves you with the problem of rebooting the grid from a no power state after the storm is over of course, which it's also not designed for.

PS. still not seeing DC voltages which could put a dent into HVDC distribution. AFAICS you wouldn't even need to take HVDC systems off line.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 04:17:00 pm by Marco »
 

Offline cdev

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #33 on: January 09, 2018, 03:35:39 pm »
The voltages at the ends of long wires are astronomical..

but even a small Dc voltage across a transformer core causes problems.

See this:

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/renewable-energy/world-needs-a-new-power-grid-that-won%27t-fail-in-a-solar-storm/?action=dlattach;attach=385073;image




which is from this:

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/images/u33/finalBoulderPresentation042611%20%281%29.pdf   which explains how the failure mode is induced by the common mode signal caused by the pulse.

Basically, it throws everything off balance - the pulse travels up from the ground leg and the current running through the earth  is very high. and the voltage can also be several hundred volts but regardless, its DC - if its a long distance, the volltage can also be high, and that pulse is low frequency, so it looks locally like superimposed DC and DC and transformers don't mix.

They need a warning to shut things down, current efforts are focused on giving them some time - warning.

Equipment that is offline, that is battery operated /and/or not connected to wires/wireless and shielded generally does not get fried by the pulse.

« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 11:48:50 pm by cdev »
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Offline Marco

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #34 on: January 09, 2018, 04:15:32 pm »
Not seeing it.
 

Offline SparkyFX

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #35 on: January 09, 2018, 08:10:33 pm »
The affected surface area of the wires is a small fraction of the surface area of ground that is affected. So both will float on top of that extra charge. The cable is the better conductor, but then that charge needs to travel a certain direction in relation to a wire to cause a DC Offset, certain angles mean that charged particles need to cross the atmosphere in a shallower angle and therefore cross more atmosphere and might get deflected.

Not seeing it as well.
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Offline cdev

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #36 on: January 09, 2018, 11:57:21 pm »
One thing that seems to be important in some areas as far as EMP is the "igneous" nature of the rock underlying soil in some areas.

And the effect of this is that the "ground" is not really a ground for electrical purposes, compared to many other places. Making those areas more prone to damage from EMP - such as from solar storms.

This link below is about soil resistivity.

https://www.eoas.ubc.ca/ubcgif/iag/foundations/properties/resistivity.htm


« Last Edit: January 10, 2018, 12:38:30 am by cdev »
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Offline Marco

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2018, 06:55:00 am »
It's funny to think that though Tesla's ideas were technologically superior for the time, if Edison's politics could have prevented him from winning in the end we would have a far less vulnerable grid. There were HVDC systems in the 19th century, so it could have happened.
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2018, 03:36:38 pm »
The affected surface area of the wires is a small fraction of the surface area of ground that is affected. So both will float on top of that extra charge. The cable is the better conductor, but then that charge needs to travel a certain direction in relation to a wire to cause a DC Offset, certain angles mean that charged particles need to cross the atmosphere in a shallower angle and therefore cross more atmosphere and might get deflected.

Not seeing it as well.

They already know this is a problem.  Distribution transformers on high voltage transmission lines are regularly damaged by geomagnetic storms.  The problem is well documented.  What has not happened is a storm of the same scale as the Carrington event since 1859 but that is just random luck.
 

Offline cdev

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2018, 07:38:33 am »
I have been reading about the push to go "Cashless".

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jan/09/rise-cashless-city-contactless-payments-exclusion-cashfree-society

Huge US financial entities have formed an alliance and teamed up with the Indian government to use India as a test bed for making the whole world dependent on banks and their services, who will get to skim off a few percent, in basically free money, or even more if somebody is in debt and a bad credit risk.

http://norberthaering.de/en/32-english/news/749-modi-2

But they have had a lot of problems, one of the reasons is many Indians are very very poor, with around half of the country so poor they do not have bank accounts. This is in part because of the caste system, and in part because of their failure to make primary education mandatory and fund it like other countries do.  But, now they seem to have found friends in high places, and they and the US banking conglomerates are teaming up to set up a system that will exclude many from economic life.

But, what happens if the power goes out, everywhere? And there is no cash.

For rich and poor alike?  What is it they call it in India?

"Karma"...

What I am getting at is - what if there is a huge solar storm and there is no grid, for a year or more in some places (it would be longer in poorer countries) and no means of buying anything.

Getting rid of cash would be a recipe for an even bigger and more destructive mass starvation after a Carrington Class CME than there would be otherwise.  With the chance of a CME as much as one in eight per decade, it seems awfully unwise to make us even more dependent on computers than we are now.

Perhaps we should be pushing for cash to be used more, not less!

Many don't know it, but the Chernobyl accident is why Mikhail Gorbachev says the ex-USSR fell apart.

Shouldn't we be doing our best to prevent a huge disaster for humanity due to something similar?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 11:17:36 am by cdev »
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Offline mtdoc

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #40 on: January 11, 2018, 03:27:22 pm »
Yes, those who measure their wealth on the basis of an electronic ledger walk on thin ice.   But in the event of massive grid failure due to solar storm or EMP, even paper currency will have a very short lived value.  Without power, the just-in-time delivery system fails and after a few days grocery shelves will be empty and the gasoline tanks will be empty.  How does the saying go - "Society is only 3 meals away from anarchy" or something like that.  In that case "other things" will become currency.

The vulnerability of the grid, and hence civilized society as we know it, is pretty clear to anyone who spends any time researching this issue.  Unfortunately IMHO, nothing substantial will be done to rectify the situation - even though as referenced in this thread, the solutions are not technically difficult or even outrageously expensive.....
 

Offline cdev

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Re: World needs a new power grid that won't fail in a solar storm
« Reply #41 on: January 11, 2018, 03:34:04 pm »
Paradoxically, if they wanted a way to get the world to swear off their money disease, this would be it.
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