Author Topic: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!  (Read 7251 times)

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Offline IanB

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2019, 02:06:29 am »
PG&E had a net loss of some billion in 2018 so there's no way they could pay for all the needed improvements.

Then they should lose their franchise and let it be handed to over to another company. Their loss was a result of corporate malfeasance.
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Online KaneTW

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #26 on: October 13, 2019, 02:11:12 am »
I really should stop replying to MT posts (how do I ignore users on this forum?) but:

This isn't caused by "socialism," it's caused by an absolute lack of accountability and regulations, and greedy PG&E companies. Exactly the thing "socialism" would help with, actually.
 
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2019, 02:11:25 am »
Power is one thing, towns going up in flames is another. Paradise which went up in flames last year was literally build right up to the forest ...

You can't even do controlled burns near anything like that, which is why prescribed fire is not a solution. It can be done cheaper than mechanical clearing, but it's still not done on the scale of wild fires or everywhere it's necessary because of politics and the chance of it going out of control.

The only really option is isolating yourself, after which letting prescribed fire or wildfire do the job becomes mostly irrelevant.
Isolation isn't feasible when fires become large enough. A big fire essentially creates its own weather system and rains fire across vast distances. You can't cut a 50 square mile desert to live in for everyone.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #28 on: October 13, 2019, 02:17:22 am »
Isolation isn't feasible when fires become large enough. A big fire essentially creates its own weather system and rains fire across vast distances. You can't cut a 50 square mile desert to live in for everyone.

A couple embers flying across a large fire break can be handled by a garden hose, fighting the beginnings of a fire across a firebreak is a problem of an entirely different order than trying to put out a forest fire ... and a surmountable problem.
 

Online maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #29 on: October 13, 2019, 02:58:52 am »
Except nobody is there to use a garden hose because they already evacuated. Every single year we have fires in southern california, there is nothing you can do to keep it from spreading until you have a clear idea of what it's doing and you have the resources in place to respond. They start and spread fast. Here SCE cuts trees near power lines couple times a year.
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #30 on: October 13, 2019, 03:09:49 am »
Isolation isn't feasible when fires become large enough. A big fire essentially creates its own weather system and rains fire across vast distances. You can't cut a 50 square mile desert to live in for everyone.

A couple embers flying across a large fire break can be handled by a garden hose, fighting the beginnings of a fire across a firebreak is a problem of an entirely different order than trying to put out a forest fire ... and a surmountable problem.

Many of these fires occur because someone was sure that they could control a couple of embers with a garden hose.  Under high wind, high fuel, high temp and low humidity conditions it is truly stunning how rapidly a fire can grow from match size to hectare size.  And the flying embers from these large fires are not small.  Burning branches nearly a meter long have been observed landing three and more kilometers from the nearest flame front.   Often they don't arrive alone, but are in a shower of branches.

The best, and partial solution for this is deliberate burns during less stressful times of year.  But less stressful is relative and these "controlled burns" do get out of hand fairly often.  No one likes the smoke they generate, and the rabid environmentalists can't see beyond the current trees dying and the politicos and bureaucrats hate the high costs involved in doing them, so it isn't likely to happen.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #31 on: October 13, 2019, 03:42:42 am »
An urban environment is not a high fuel environment. The fires in Paradise and similar situations couldn't be fought because the actual high fuel fire from the forest simultaneously lights the entire side of the town, while spewing heat which make staying anywhere near impossible. You are not fighting embers with a garden hose next to an actual forest fire right next to your home ... you will be dead.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 03:55:03 am by Marco »
 

Online don.r

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #32 on: October 13, 2019, 04:01:50 am »
If only you had raked your forests like those crafty Finns.
 

Offline Someone

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #33 on: October 13, 2019, 04:10:09 am »
And no, we can't underground the 500 kV lines.  At best, the technology is new and, at worst, it is 25 times as expensive.  True, once undergrounded things are a lot better but keeping high voltage in one place is no ease task.

The 500 kV lines aren't at any risk from adverse weather conditions. They are suspended from strong metal towers high above the ground and far away from any trees. High winds just make them swing a bit.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-28/damaged-power-transmission-tower-near-melrose-south-australia/8393000
Adverse weather seems to be alive and well.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2019, 04:46:34 am »
Adverse weather seems to be alive and well.

Yeah, well, tornadoes are something special. They are not just regular high winds.
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Offline MyHeadHz

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2019, 04:47:28 am »
If I lived there I'd have an off grid solar setup given how much sun there is.  It only makes sense.  That said it's way too hot so I would not want to live there in first place. :P

You're right- logically.  It isn't nearly that easy here, though, for reasons outside of logic.  There are several unfortunate obstacles, but two main ones.   

1.  Part of the agreement with the state and utility monopolies includes the inability for a customer to get out of the utility agreement, even if it was from a previous owner.  Even if you are connected to the grid but produce 100% of your own solar, you would still have to pay various fees and taxes on it, even if the grid actually did nothing for you.  The short version is that once a property is connected to the grid, it cannot be disconnected.  The only exception is destruction of the property (through fire, demolition, etc).  After that destruction, there is no carryover requirement, so you could go off-grid.  For some situations, it would make sense to go that route.... well, if it weren't for...

2.  Property taxes (there is a point to this, bear with me).  In California, residential property taxes are simply calculated as a base rate times your purchase price valuation, and that valuation goes up by exactly 1% annually, regardless of market or other factors.  This is all automatic.  Because of this tax situation, the majority of property owners in CA pay very low (real) property tax rates, since property values grow by far more than that 1% tax valuation every year.   Also, demolition is considered as all walls demolished.  So, if you have a tiny house, you can turn it into a mansion and keep the same property tax valuation... so long as you maintain that one original wall in tact.  Now, that "demolition" from above is what matters.  Sure, you can go "off-grid," BUT you will have to destroy all walls, which means a new property valuation, and you will need to build/buy a new house.  Then and only then can you go off-grid.  Obviously, there are very few situations where that would make sense financially.  (And before you say "just go with a camper!", CA has thrown a wrench in that method as well.  There is now "personal property tax", paid every year, for RV's and such, to keep people from getting out of property taxes.)

Then just go solar on-grid, right?! There are also issues with that here now.  The subsidies that we were told would eventually be perpetual (because of the environment) are probably going to be stopped sooner than later (because of electric companies, politics, and greed).  Another big one is the mandatory change to "smart meters."  That's just a big F-U to solar owners.  With this new setup the times you will be producing power give you far less money, but as a double-whammy, you get charged more when you are using instead of producing.  For solar it all boils down to meaning that you will have to produce 4x or more power than you consume just to break even.

The above is a short synopsis.  There also loads of zoning and other reasons why it never caught on in CA.  I've ran the numbers every way that I could to try to make solar work for environmental/ethical reasons, but the financial disincentives are overwhelming in CA.  This is despite the abundance of this natural and clean energy source, and our state's claims of environmental friendliness.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 05:09:23 am by MyHeadHz »
 

Offline Nusa

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2019, 05:51:47 am »
Not so amusing: The guy who required oxygen assist, was asleep when the power went out, and died 15 minutes later.

Doesn't pass the sniff test. In the western world, life-dependent medical equipment always has sufficient backup power for short power outages, which 15 minutes falls within. And care-givers always have action plans in place for longer-term outages, such as a back-up generator or a large oxygen cylinder (no power required). Also smaller cylinders for mobility purposes.

Not saying a guy didn't die, but either someone was seriously negligent with the medical equipment or the time of death was a coincidence, not cause and effect.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2019, 06:43:20 am »
PG&E had a net loss of some billion in 2018 so there's no way they could pay for all the needed improvements.

Then they should lose their franchise and let it be handed to over to another company. Their loss was a result of corporate malfeasance.

Oh, that settles it then. Because I am sure your assertion is based on provable facts and the solution is simple and clear. They lost money because they are crooks so the solution is to just give the whole thing to another company who are not crooks. Easy peasy. The kind of thing people love to hear and politicians love to promise.

This bears repeating:
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"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"
"There is always an easy solution to every human problem -- neat, plausible, and wrong."

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« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 06:47:09 am by soldar »
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Offline Halcyon

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2019, 06:55:37 am »
Not so amusing: The guy who required oxygen assist, was asleep when the power went out, and died 15 minutes later.

Doesn't pass the sniff test. In the western world, life-dependent medical equipment always has sufficient backup power for short power outages, which 15 minutes falls within. And care-givers always have action plans in place for longer-term outages, such as a back-up generator or a large oxygen cylinder (no power required). Also smaller cylinders for mobility purposes.

Not saying a guy didn't die, but either someone was seriously negligent with the medical equipment or the time of death was a coincidence, not cause and effect.

Not just that, but in Australia, those with critical medical devices need to register this with the energy provider/distributor so when there are scheduled outages, advanced notice can be given and/or alternative supply can be arranged. I would suggest this is the same in most other western countries?
 

Offline tom66

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2019, 10:09:15 am »
There's nothing "socialist" about this problem (and really, California isn't socialist, they're neoliberal.)

PG&E is owned by private entities, they've determined that fires could result from the HV cabling, and they don't want to be liable for that nonsense.

You want to blame someone, blame everyone that drives a petrol car spewing emissions into the atmosphere, warming it and increasing the frequency of dry seasons which can trigger wildfires.
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2019, 12:32:12 pm »
PG&E is owned by private entities, they've determined that fires could result from the HV cabling, and they don't want to be liable for that nonsense.

One year the electrical transmission wires cause wildfires and the public is up in arms claiming the evil corporation put their homes and limbs and lives at risk and something should be done by someone!

The next year the utility company decides to play it safe and shut off power if there is any risk of the same thing happening again. And the public is up in arms complaining they can't watch TV.

You can't win for losing.

My conclusion is that the public are spoiled brats who believe they are owed everything in exchange for nothing. They don't want to pay more for their energy, but they want improvements to the infrastructure needed to deliver it reliably and safely.  And if they can't get the impossible it can only be because corporations are evil.
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Online KaneTW

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2019, 12:49:12 pm »
Am I misremembering things or did the CO2 emission composition in studies change

A while back I was sure that passenger vehicles were a tiny contributor to greenhouse emissions, but current statistics show around 60% of all transport related emissions (so about 10% of all emissions) to be from light duty passenger transport.

Is my brain playing tricks or was it always this way?
 
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Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2019, 12:49:55 pm »
If I lived there I'd have an off grid solar setup given how much sun there is.  It only makes sense.  That said it's way too hot so I would not want to live there in first place. :P
If you think California is hot, you have never been to Texas during the summer.
You want to blame someone, blame everyone that drives a petrol car spewing emissions into the atmosphere, warming it and increasing the frequency of dry seasons which can trigger wildfires.
They should have required all new cars to get at least 30 MPG highway like a decade ago, if not earlier.
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Online Kleinstein

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2019, 01:36:06 pm »
California is quite large, so it depends on how hot it is. It ranges from very hot in the death valley and south to rather cold in the mountains and around San Francisco. For most people dry heat is relatively comfortable for living.

The normal grid tied solar installations do not work of grid for safety reasons. However with relatively frequent power outage in the US, I wonder if they could have systems that do allow operation as a backup. This would need some extra effort and costs, but it could be possible. There are people with backup generators, that can switch over from the grid.

I wild fire can be hard to stop. When I was is the US there was wild-fire reaching the town. The fire department had a hard time stopping the fire at a 6 lane wide road. They somehow made it - though not with a garden hose, more like a fire truck every 20-50 meters and air support as a backup.  The typical US wooden houses provide quite some fuel to a fire, so it can spread even without the trees.

One can put the grid under ground, but it is more expensive. Very high power may prefer different technologies (e.g. DC). However lines frequently damaged by wind or ice are also not for free.
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #44 on: October 13, 2019, 01:53:34 pm »
Videos without a summary of a few lines does not make for a good thread start.

Doubly so when the OP's comment is overtly political :(

What a fiasco! But heey Calif are run by socialist gov so what to expect!
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Offline MyHeadHz

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #45 on: October 13, 2019, 02:13:47 pm »
Am I misremembering things or did the CO2 emission composition in studies change

A while back I was sure that passenger vehicles were a tiny contributor to greenhouse emissions, but current statistics show around 60% of all transport related emissions (so about 10% of all emissions) to be from light duty passenger transport.

Is my brain playing tricks or was it always this way?

There are two factors at play, the science/math, and the marketing.   Both things that you quoted sound similar to numbers I've heard, but they are not contradictory.  The key is limiting the subject to transportation-related emissions, or to human-related co2 emissions, or similar areas of focus.  Either way you cut it, humans are responsible for a small portion of green house emissions and other parameters.  However, everything we do is in excess of the green house gases in our original balanced system.  Instead of taking many thousands of years to have a cycle, that small tip to the balance can make the cycle only in the hundreds of years, and cause other unforeseen consequences like mass extinction due to the increased rate of change and magnitude.  Evolution vs Chaos Theory
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #46 on: October 13, 2019, 02:26:49 pm »
You want to blame someone, blame everyone that drives a petrol car spewing emissions into the atmosphere, warming it and increasing the frequency of dry seasons which can trigger wildfires.
They should have required all new cars to get at least 30 MPG highway like a decade ago, if not earlier.
That would be a good solution but even then cars are not a significant source of CO2 to start with. In the NL it is about 13% for the entire transport sector.

But more on-topic: controlling wild fires is a pure maintenance problem. Over here we have quite a bit of forrest too but these are divided in sections with slow burning trees at the borders of each section. If power lines cause sparks then these should be fixed but this will come at higher prices for electricity. Unfortunately the US typically seems to be more inclined to clean up the mess afterwards rather than prevent a problem.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2019, 02:31:22 pm by nctnico »
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Online don.r

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #47 on: October 13, 2019, 03:43:48 pm »
Am I misremembering things or did the CO2 emission composition in studies change

A while back I was sure that passenger vehicles were a tiny contributor to greenhouse emissions, but current statistics show around 60% of all transport related emissions (so about 10% of all emissions) to be from light duty passenger transport.

Is my brain playing tricks or was it always this way?
I was always under the impressions that the top 10 or 20 biggest ships accounted for more emissions than all vehicles worldwide because they burned high sulfur oil out at sea.
 

Online maginnovision

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #48 on: October 13, 2019, 04:23:37 pm »
You want to blame someone, blame everyone that drives a petrol car spewing emissions into the atmosphere, warming it and increasing the frequency of dry seasons which can trigger wildfires.
They should have required all new cars to get at least 30 MPG highway like a decade ago, if not earlier.
That would be a good solution but even then cars are not a significant source of CO2 to start with. In the NL it is about 13% for the entire transport sector.

But more on-topic: controlling wild fires is a pure maintenance problem. Over here we have quite a bit of forrest too but these are divided in sections with slow burning trees at the borders of each section. If power lines cause sparks then these should be fixed but this will come at higher prices for electricity. Unfortunately the US typically seems to be more inclined to clean up the mess afterwards rather than prevent a problem.

You can't have a forest in the desert, and the US is BIG. There is no way you could control all of it.

Just California is as big as: Cameroon, France, Iraq, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Yemen
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Californians out of electricity cant get gasoline to generators!
« Reply #49 on: October 13, 2019, 04:37:12 pm »
But most of these countries don't have the financial resources that California has and yet they don't have huge raging wild fires (or need to shut down electricity because the wires cause sparks).
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