AuthorTopic: The Dimming Bulb  (Read 22865 times)

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More demonstration of the economics behind these blackouts.

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https://www.theverge.com/2019/10/10/20908434/california-blackouts-utilities-fires-lawsuits-san-francisco-bay-area-pge-pacific-gas-electric

California can expect more blackouts as utilities companies move to stop fires — and lawsuits

Are preemptive power outages the new normal?
By Justine Calma@justcalma Oct 10, 2019, 3:32pm EDT


This week, the lights went out for hundreds of thousands of residents in San Francisco’s Bay Area — the most widespread intentional outages in California history — on the say-so of utility company Pacific Gas & Electric. PG&E, which is facing billions in lawsuits from previous fires, cut the power to avoid another blaze as well as the expensive lawsuits that come with wildfires, some experts say.

These outages are likely to be the new normal for California, at least for the near future. Some critics say the PG&E outages are excessive and that it’s the bankrupt company’s poor maintenance of its equipment and the fear of litigation that’s really behind its decision to power down.
"the new normal for California"

Outages like the one California experienced this week — which threatened as many as 800,000 customers, or at least 2 million people, since a “customer” might be an apartment building — aren’t just an inconvenience. For people who rely on medical equipment that requires power, an outage can be life-threatening. More than 32,000 of PG&E’s customers facing blackouts have special energy needs because of medical conditions. And people with limited incomes may not be able to buy food to replace the stuff that rots in their unpowered fridges.

PG&E’s northern and central California blackout zones stretch across more than half of all the counties in California from Humboldt down to Silicon Valley and Kern County. Santa Clara County, home of Silicon Valley, declared a state of emergency. Silicon Valley has been largely spared from the cutoff, though, as PG&E has targeted the kinds of wires that deliver power to homes, rather than big business complexes. Closer to Los Angeles, Southern California Edison has warned that more than 173,000 customers could also lose power this week.

The cumulative costs of the outages on PG&E’s residential customers could reach $65 million, according to estimates from Michael Wara, director of the energy and climate program at the Stanford Woods Institute. Add in the losses to commercial and industrial customers, and the cost could balloon to $2.5 billion.

“They are relying on the shut off to prevent liability. But why should they then shift all these costs to everybody else?” says Mark Toney, executive director of consumer advocacy group The Utility Reform Network. He says the shutoffs show the company’s lack of confidence in what it’s done to maintain its equipment and trim manage nearby sources of fuel, like dried-out plants that could cause a fire hazard.
"the cost could balloon to $2.5 billion"

In January, PG&E filed for bankruptcy; it faced tens of billions of dollars’ worth of lawsuits from previous fires. California investigators found in May that PG&E power lines were responsible for the 2018 Camp Fire that fire virtually wiped out the town of Paradise, killing 86 people.

“All those factors together mean that PG&E is extremely careful now, to try to take preemptive action,” says Barton Thompson, Jr., a professor of natural resources law at Stanford Law School. “Obviously PG&E is is particularly attuned to the need to take action. Part of that is wildfires, part of it is simply public scrutiny and prior public criticism.”
PG&E Power Shutoff
Tony (center) and Lauren Scherba walk their dog Gandalph minutes after the power went out in the Montclair District of Oakland, California. Photo by Jane Tyska / MediaNews Group / The Mercury News via Getty Images

PG&E’s creaky grid is straining at the same time that climate change is fueling fiercer fires. California is getting hotter and drier, and that means more dead vegetation that turns into fuel for wildfires. The area torched by wildfires in the Golden State each year grew by 500 percent between 1972 and 2018, thanks to climate change. California’s fire season has also gotten longer by more than two months. Between the increased likelihood of fires and PG&E’s new sensitivity to liability, Californians should expect more blackouts, says Thompson. That’s especially true in October, the peak of wildfire season in California.

California has guidelines for companies that use power outages to avoid fires, but blackouts are meant to be “a last resort.” The California Public Utilities Commission will monitor how the situation develops this week and assess how utility companies are conducting shutoffs for public safety, Terrie Prosper, director of news and outreach at the regulatory agency, told The Verge in an email.
"blackouts are meant to be “a last resort”"

With the potential for millions of people to lose power this week, “that sure does not feel like a last resort,” Toney says.

“The huge numbers targeted by PG&E tell us two things. First and foremost: The potential for fire danger is serious and people must be prepared,” State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-CA), whose district faces blackouts, said in an emailed statement to The Verge. “Second: PG&E clearly hasn’t made its system safe.”

PG&E has buried most of its new power lines, but there are still 81,000 miles of overhead lines, according to reporting by local public radio station KQED. Cutting the lights in response to dangerous fire weather isn’t new, but since burying those lines is likely to be expensive, the outages are likely to continue.

PG&E isn’t the only company coming under scrutiny for preemptive power outages. Southern California Edison is noticing the uptick in disastrous fires, and it tells The Verge its customers might need to prepare for preemptive power outages in the future as a result. “The extent to which these fires are destructive and deadly, that’s been a change,” says David Song, a Public Information Officer at the utility company. “So I would imagine that we’re going to have more Santa Ana wind events and so this may be something that we do again.” Song says lawsuits aren’t a factor in Southern California Edison’s blackout decisions.

“The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, which is why PG&E has decided to turn power off to customers,” Michael Lewis, senior vice president of electric operations at PG&E, said in a press statement. The company did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
Camp Fire Aftermath
A charred vehicle was left on Honey Run Road during the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. Photo by Ray Chavez / Digital First Media / The Mercury News via Getty Images

As inconvenient as the extensive outages might be, fire management experts say the risk of death and destruction from past blazes in the Bay Area could warrant the action. And weather conditions at the start of the outages looked eerily similar to those that set off 2017 Northern California blazes that killed 44 people. “I don’t think it’s an overreaction. How many more of these [fires] can we afford? They’re absolute tragedies,” says Timothy Ingalsbee, executive director of the advocacy group Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology. He adds that some of the most dangerous places for firefighters to work are under live power lines.
"“will they be doing this in perpetuity?”"

But Ingalsbee and other experts warn that these outages shouldn’t become the new norm. “This is really not a viable, sustainable solution to addressing the wildfire risk from power lines,” he says. Each year, hot, dry winds sweep through the state and stir up firestorms. “Because this is an annual event, will they be doing this in perpetuity?”

What needs to happen, according to Ingalsbee, is more than cleaning up the dry debris around power lines or shutting off the power when the fire outlook is grim. He thinks making the grid more resilient in the future means generating power from more spread out renewable sources so that the state isn’t as reliant on vast stretches of dangerous power lines. “The landscape is basically sliced and diced with these power transmission lines,” Ingalsbee says. “They’re ugly scars. That blight will be eliminated if we disperse and decentralize our energy system.”
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https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article235966462.html

Welcome to California’s new dark age. Get used to it, it is the new ‘new normal’

By Marcos Bretón
October 10, 2019 05:40 AM, Updated 1 hour 35 minutes ago

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/C6gF0gF6gks" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/C6gF0gF6gks</a>

'PG&E is doing what they do I guess:' those affected by power-outages fill up on gas in preparation
Those affected by the PG&E power shutoffs filled up on gas at Express Fuel in Shingle Springs on Oct. 9, 2019. Many gas stations in the foothills were closed due to the power-outages. By Jason Pierce | Alyssa Hodenfield
Up Next
Camp Fire victim pays emotional visit to memorial of crosses in Paradise
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Those affected by the PG&E power shutoffs filled up on gas at Express Fuel in Shingle Springs on Oct. 9, 2019. Many gas stations in the foothills were closed due to the power-outages. By Jason Pierce | Alyssa Hodenfield

Not enough of us have grasped what we are living with now – a new normal that is not normal – as California experiences the largest blackout in its history. PG&E is a convenient target for public scorn as 500,000 people had their electricity turned off because a massive utility dreaded live power lines tumbling in high winds and igniting cataclysmic wild fires more than it did having huge swaths of the north state go dark for days.

And as a result: In Placerville, everything was closed save for a few stores. Intersections lights throughout the foothills were out. Folsom stores were packed with shoppers from El Dorado County who had no place else to buy essentials. People were readily paying $400 to $700 for generators to turn their lights back on. And these details, mirrored in the San Francisco Bay Area, became grist for countless media stories about everyday life disrupted in ways big and small.

But do we fully understand what is amiss here? If your answer stops at PG&E then the answer is “no. “ We don’t get it.
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million Medicare kickback scheme

Too many of us –myself included – have viewed climate change as a tomorrow problem. Or as a partisan argument.
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But that’s where we’ve been wrong – terribly, frighteningly, mortally wrong. Climate change isn’t tomorrow. Climate change is now. This is it. We’re living it now. And if that sounds like stating the obvious, well, then it’s still worth repeating because not enough people believe the obvious.
Opinion

What better metaphor for climate change can there be but California going dark because the weather is dry and the winds are high?

We’ll be consumed with blackouts to prevent wildfires until the rains come. So everyday life now means fearing October and high winds. Mid- to late-fall rains used to be a prelude to winter. Now they save us from destruction?
Fire and darkness

I drove to Paradise last year a week after the town was wiped out and was struck by scenes of people scattered and shaken.

The lucky ones were living in their cars while camped in Chico parking lots. The unlucky ones slept on shelter cots and were restricted by curfews enforced by battalions of cops and rangers. I saw desperate people arrested for trying to return to their property to see if they had anything left.

But then the rains came, the media went home, and life went on until the power was turned off.

These were not disconnected moments. They were part of a continuum, a new normal, a phrase we have used for drought, heat and fires. Now we use it for going dark, to prevent the fires that consume chunks of the state.

Don’t take my word for it: Earlier this year, the journal Earth’s Future laid it out: “Since the early 1970s, California’s annual wildfire extent increased five fold, punctuated by extremely large and destructive wildfires in 2017 and 2018....This trend was mainly due to an eight-fold increase in summertime forest‐fire area and was very likely driven by drying of fuels promoted by human‐induced warming.”

Just weeks ago, the federal government released similar findings that human-caused warming has led to increased wildfires: “Particularly by drying forests and making them more susceptible to burning.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists point to huge jumps in wildfires since 2000. The Environmental Defense Fund has compiled a list of nine ways humans trigger climate change.
Winds of climate change

Now, I live in Sacramento, so therefore my lights have been on because we don’t get our electricity from PG&E. And, as a Sacramento resident, I’m surrounded by political takes centered on what will become of PG&E. It’s not that I don’t care, but that’s just part of the story.

We have a new normal in which our lives are disrupted by climate change. The science is irrefutable and the impacts are being felt by Californians today. They are sitting in darkened houses. They are stuck at intersections where the signal lights are off. They are paying through the nose for generators. They are frightened by high winds, praying for rain.

Wednesday was Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement for Jewish people. But really, it was a day of atonement – and reckoning – for all of us. Climate change is here, even if we still haven’t woken up to it.
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Re: 💡 The Economics behind the CA Blackouts
« Reply #77 on: October 10, 2019, 07:06:53 PM »
probably you will see a concerted move to distributed generation in the future. There are a number of natural gas fuel cell companies coming on strong. That and various forms of energy storage solutions such as cold tank reservoirs for ac and refridgeration.... only for those who can pay of course. Grid service to every house is probably going away or at least increasing dramatically in low density areas.

Those solutions make common sense, but then common sense is not in large supply, and neither is money.  Building a distributed infrastructure takes money, a lot of it.  Who is going to build and maintain the cold storage tanks, and then what will they charge to run refrigeration lines to your store?  What will you then have to charge for the refrigerated produce you sell, and where are they going to get the money to buy it?

There may be some movement in this direction, but on a mass scale it's not going to happen, anymore than there will be a mass movement to buy new EVs.  The general population just doesn't have enough money for those things.  They take a lot of money to build the infrastructure, and that money has to be taken out as debt.  We are already overloaded on debt in every sector of the economy, from consumers to producers.  Who is the credit-worthy customer who a bank will loan to, assuming the bank is even solvent?

RE
For the Masses?  nope. You will see that kind of infrastructure show up in places with deep pockets and long term thinking. The fuel cells are taylor made for industrial parks, the stored cooling is perfect right now for grocery stores. Distributed generation in gated communities or battery storage systems in affluent neighbourhoods. Part of the collapse narrative is an end to cheap easy egalitarian electricity. The grid is a product of cheap energy. Rural grids have never ever made economic sense. 
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

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Re: 💡 The Economics behind the CA Blackouts
« Reply #78 on: October 10, 2019, 08:00:38 PM »
probably you will see a concerted move to distributed generation in the future. There are a number of natural gas fuel cell companies coming on strong. That and various forms of energy storage solutions such as cold tank reservoirs for ac and refridgeration.... only for those who can pay of course. Grid service to every house is probably going away or at least increasing dramatically in low density areas.

Those solutions make common sense, but then common sense is not in large supply, and neither is money.  Building a distributed infrastructure takes money, a lot of it.  Who is going to build and maintain the cold storage tanks, and then what will they charge to run refrigeration lines to your store?  What will you then have to charge for the refrigerated produce you sell, and where are they going to get the money to buy it?

There may be some movement in this direction, but on a mass scale it's not going to happen, anymore than there will be a mass movement to buy new EVs.  The general population just doesn't have enough money for those things.  They take a lot of money to build the infrastructure, and that money has to be taken out as debt.  We are already overloaded on debt in every sector of the economy, from consumers to producers.  Who is the credit-worthy customer who a bank will loan to, assuming the bank is even solvent?

RE
For the Masses?  nope. You will see that kind of infrastructure show up in places with deep pockets and long term thinking. The fuel cells are taylor made for industrial parks, the stored cooling is perfect right now for grocery stores. Distributed generation in gated communities or battery storage systems in affluent neighbourhoods. Part of the collapse narrative is an end to cheap easy egalitarian electricity. The grid is a product of cheap energy. Rural grids have never ever made economic sense.

None of it ever made sense economically.  It's a debt engine that is constantly running down, the money being used to do that is the debt.  If you haven't read it yet, you need to read the Money Valve series of articles I wrote.

All Industrial Processes are money losers, it's entropy at work.  By distributing out the debt a few people could live "rich", while most got poorer.  It wasn't obvious at the beginning, they SEEMED to be living better.  Lights in the house, central heating, frozen TV Dinners etc.

At a critical point, you can't distribute the debt anymore, and the system collapses.  If you can't distribute the debt, none of these solutions can work, they don't pay for themselves.  There is no Free Lunch, there is no Perpetual Motion machine.  It all comes to a grinding halt.

"Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
Everybody Knows"


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Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: 💡 The Economics behind the CA Blackouts
« Reply #79 on: October 11, 2019, 05:31:48 AM »
probably you will see a concerted move to distributed generation in the future. There are a number of natural gas fuel cell companies coming on strong. That and various forms of energy storage solutions such as cold tank reservoirs for ac and refridgeration.... only for those who can pay of course. Grid service to every house is probably going away or at least increasing dramatically in low density areas.

Those solutions make common sense, but then common sense is not in large supply, and neither is money.  Building a distributed infrastructure takes money, a lot of it.  Who is going to build and maintain the cold storage tanks, and then what will they charge to run refrigeration lines to your store?  What will you then have to charge for the refrigerated produce you sell, and where are they going to get the money to buy it?

There may be some movement in this direction, but on a mass scale it's not going to happen, anymore than there will be a mass movement to buy new EVs.  The general population just doesn't have enough money for those things.  They take a lot of money to build the infrastructure, and that money has to be taken out as debt.  We are already overloaded on debt in every sector of the economy, from consumers to producers.  Who is the credit-worthy customer who a bank will loan to, assuming the bank is even solvent?

RE
For the Masses?  nope. You will see that kind of infrastructure show up in places with deep pockets and long term thinking. The fuel cells are taylor made for industrial parks, the stored cooling is perfect right now for grocery stores. Distributed generation in gated communities or battery storage systems in affluent neighbourhoods. Part of the collapse narrative is an end to cheap easy egalitarian electricity. The grid is a product of cheap energy. Rural grids have never ever made economic sense.

None of it ever made sense economically.  It's a debt engine that is constantly running down, the money being used to do that is the debt.  If you haven't read it yet, you need to read the Money Valve series of articles I wrote.

All Industrial Processes are money losers, it's entropy at work.  By distributing out the debt a few people could live "rich", while most got poorer.  It wasn't obvious at the beginning, they SEEMED to be living better.  Lights in the house, central heating, frozen TV Dinners etc.

At a critical point, you can't distribute the debt anymore, and the system collapses.  If you can't distribute the debt, none of these solutions can work, they don't pay for themselves.  There is no Free Lunch, there is no Perpetual Motion machine.  It all comes to a grinding halt.

"Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
Everybody Knows"


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/T4rf7bAApM4" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/T4rf7bAApM4</a>

RE
I would have called it a nation building exercise myself... My point was that electrical service is no longer a given. All the hang wringing in the world will not make up for 40 years of undercharging for power profit taking and infrastructure under investment. The Ontario grid is in as bad shape once you go north of highway 7. That is the border here between densely populated and rural. Its fluid of course. There has never been water or sewage or gas lines, It was a major nation building endeavour that power lines were strung.  We have wells, septics and propane tanks. Soon to be solar arrays for electricity when the only grid link finally dies.
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

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💡 Tales of Chaos From the California Blackout
« Reply #80 on: October 11, 2019, 05:33:43 AM »
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/10/us/pge-power-outages-california-sce-sdge-wildfires.html

Tales of Chaos From the California Blackout

Thursday: Confusion reigned as PG&E cut power across a broad swath. Also: Katelyn Ohashi, on paying college athletes; and a Dodgers loss.
Jill Cowan

By Jill Cowan

    Oct. 10, 2019

James Quinn, a shift supervisor, walked through a darkened CVS Pharmacy in downtown Sonoma.CreditNoah Berger/Associated Press

Good morning.

(Here's the sign-up, if you don’t already get California Today delivered to your inbox.)

On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of Pacific Gas & Electric customers across a large swath of Northern California felt the effects of the utility’s biggest ever planned power outage.

The troubled utility — which filed for bankruptcy early this year and whose equipment started the state’s deadliest wildfire last year — has said the shut-offs are necessary to prevent its lines from sparking potentially catastrophic blazes as dangerous dry winds kick up.

The first round of power cuts to 500,000 customers started at midnight on Wednesday. A second round was set for noon, but was delayed until 8 p.m. and then delayed again.

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On Thursday, all told, according to one estimate, as many as 2.5 million people could be affected by the outages, which officials have said could last for days.

Although the utility was supposed to give sufficient notice, many residents said they didn’t hear that they could lose power until they were left to scramble to buy batteries, generators and canned foods.

The day, residents told us, was about as chaotic as you would expect.

Schools like U.C. Berkeley and Humboldt State University canceled classes and closed campus, raising concerns that research could be ruined if some buildings don’t have sufficient power.

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“Many friends and colleagues barely have enough emergency power to keep freezers cold and incubators running,” Julia Torvi, a graduate student and researcher at Berkeley, said in an email. “These two things hold millions of dollars of research, tens of years of effort, their contents being irreplaceable.”

[In NYT Parenting: Mothers band together to save breast milk during the outage.]

She pointed to a tweet by an associate professor at Berkeley that showed moving trucks outside a building on campus preparing to relocate freezers to U.C. San Francisco because the building doesn’t have a backup power source.

David Lerman, who emailed from Berkeley, said his daughter is a student at Humboldt State.

He said he was frustrated by a lack of information about how students living in dorms would be affected. Eventually he was able to text his daughter, he said, adding that she was fine and planning to hunker down.

More upsetting, he said, was that PG&E had spent decades building a flawed system that residents have no option but to rely on.

“I blame PG&E for causing danger and disruptions because they are too cheap and irresponsible to protect the state,” he said. “The exclusive use of massive and historic poorly maintained transmission lines through vast heavily wooded and dry fueled mountains is absurd.”

[Read about the latest in PG&E’s bankruptcy case.]

His frustration was echoed by residents and elected officials alike.

“Millions without electricity is what a third-world country looks like, not a state that is the fifth-largest economy in the world,” said Jim Nielsen, a state senator who represents the area around Paradise.

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By about 6 p.m., The San Francisco Chronicle (whose continuing live updates you can read here) said, power was being restored in some areas. According to The Chronicle, though, the outages could cause $1 billion — or, by some estimates, much more — in economic damages to residents and businesses.

And, as The Press Democrat reported, meteorologists warned that winds were still on their way.

Southern California Edison was considering preemptively cutting power to 173,877 customers in a vast area stretching from Kern County through Orange County, and from San Bernardino County to the coast, the utility said on its website Wednesday evening. San Diego Gas & Electric also warned that it may cut off power to about 29,000 customers in San Diego County, according to KPBS.

Still, Bobbie Hayes, whose power was cut off in Eureka, said she managed to find something of a silver lining in spending time off the grid.

“The lights went out, not at midnight, but at 1:45 a.m. I went outside with my dogs and saw the most amazing sky that was dark and filled with stars,” she said in an email. “The Milky Way was completely visible. It was breathtaking.”

[Here’s how to prepare for a power outage — to the extent possible.]
Here’s what else we’re following

We often link to sites that limit access for nonsubscribers. We appreciate your reading Times coverage, but we also encourage you to support local news if you can.

    Statewide, kids’ test scores inched up. But progress is slow going. [CalMatters]

    In downtown Los Angeles, city employees say an escalating homelessness crisis is making them feel unsafe entering and leaving work. [The Los Angeles Times]

    Fresno County produced almost $7.9 billion in agricultural products last year — from grapes to pistachios to poultry — leading the nation for the first time since 2013. [The Fresno Bee]

    Big tech companies move profits to avoid paying taxes on them. Now, international leaders are considering a plan to allow countries to tax multinational corporations even if they don’t operate there. [The New York Times]

    Facebook has said it will allow political campaigns to publish ads with false and misleading content. This policy is getting an early test with a Trump campaign ad that CNN and others have said makes a false statement about Joe Biden. [The New York Times]

    When asked about the N.B.A.’s clash with the Chinese government, the president instead called out two coaches, Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs, who have criticized him in the past. [The New York Times]

    Katelyn Ohashi, whose perfect gymnastics routine for U.C.L.A. went viral earlier this year, says that everyone was able to make money off her success — except her. The state’s new law allowing student athletes to be paid could make sure that doesn’t happen to anyone else. [New York Times Opinion]

If you missed it, here’s why Gov. Gavin Newsom thinks college athletes should get paid. [The New York Times]

    “They felt I represented a symbolic, ‘loyal’ American.” Here’s an obituary for Mitsuye Endo, a civil servant from Sacramento who was the lead plaintiff in the only successful challenge to Japanese internment to be heard by the Supreme Court. [The New York Times]

    Tiki bars as we know them were born in Hollywood and Oakland at Don’s Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s. But embedded in the idea is a certain amount of cultural appropriation. Is it possible to make a tasty tropical drink without it? [Eater]

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And Finally …

Well, they expected it to be a riveting game. But this probably wasn’t what Dodgers fans had in mind.

The Los Angeles Dodgers came heartbreakingly close to besting the Washington Nationals on Wednesday and moving on to the National League Championship Series.

In the 10th inning, with the score tied, the Nationals’ Howie Kendrick hit a stinging grand slam and the team’s season was very, very over.

And so, I’m sorry to have to send you the above photo of Clayton Kershaw looking profoundly, existentially sad.

At least there’s always next year.

California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here.

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Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

Jill Cowan is the California Today correspondent, keeping tabs on the most important things happening in her home state every day. @jillcowan
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Re: 💡 The Economics behind the CA Blackouts
« Reply #81 on: October 11, 2019, 05:44:16 AM »
I would have called it a nation building exercise myself... My point was that electrical service is no longer a given. All the hang wringing in the world will not make up for 40 years of undercharging for power profit taking and infrastructure under investment. The Ontario grid is in as bad shape once you go north of highway 7. That is the border here between densely populated and rural. Its fluid of course. There has never been water or sewage or gas lines, It was a major nation building endeavour that power lines were strung.  We have wells, septics and propane tanks. Soon to be solar arrays for electricity when the only grid link finally dies.

You identify the point exactly, "Nation Building".

To  develop and expand the modern nation state and so expand power, the electrical grid and the communications grid were necessary tools.  None of these organizations could have got so big without that.

You  do misidentify "undercharging".  It wasn't undercharged, had the true cost been charged at the time the material was used, the population could not have afforded it.  So it was paid for in debt into the future.

The future is now.

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Re: 💡 The Economics behind the CA Blackouts
« Reply #82 on: October 11, 2019, 09:47:38 AM »
I would have called it a nation building exercise myself... My point was that electrical service is no longer a given. All the hang wringing in the world will not make up for 40 years of undercharging for power profit taking and infrastructure under investment. The Ontario grid is in as bad shape once you go north of highway 7. That is the border here between densely populated and rural. Its fluid of course. There has never been water or sewage or gas lines, It was a major nation building endeavour that power lines were strung.  We have wells, septics and propane tanks. Soon to be solar arrays for electricity when the only grid link finally dies.

You identify the point exactly, "Nation Building".

To  develop and expand the modern nation state and so expand power, the electrical grid and the communications grid were necessary tools.  None of these organizations could have got so big without that.

You  do misidentify "undercharging".  It wasn't undercharged, had the true cost been charged at the time the material was used, the population could not have afforded it.  So it was paid for in debt into the future.

The future is now.

RE

There are solutions.

Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: 💡 The Economics behind the CA Blackouts
« Reply #83 on: October 11, 2019, 11:39:08 AM »
I would have called it a nation building exercise myself... My point was that electrical service is no longer a given. All the hang wringing in the world will not make up for 40 years of undercharging for power profit taking and infrastructure under investment. The Ontario grid is in as bad shape once you go north of highway 7. That is the border here between densely populated and rural. Its fluid of course. There has never been water or sewage or gas lines, It was a major nation building endeavour that power lines were strung.  We have wells, septics and propane tanks. Soon to be solar arrays for electricity when the only grid link finally dies.

You identify the point exactly, "Nation Building".

To  develop and expand the modern nation state and so expand power, the electrical grid and the communications grid were necessary tools.  None of these organizations could have got so big without that.

You  do misidentify "undercharging".  It wasn't undercharged, had the true cost been charged at the time the material was used, the population could not have afforded it.  So it was paid for in debt into the future.

The future is now.

RE

There are solutions.


I dont think revolution solves bad eroei
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

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Re: 💡 The Economics behind the CA Blackouts
« Reply #84 on: October 11, 2019, 02:58:15 PM »
I would have called it a nation building exercise myself... My point was that electrical service is no longer a given. All the hang wringing in the world will not make up for 40 years of undercharging for power profit taking and infrastructure under investment. The Ontario grid is in as bad shape once you go north of highway 7. That is the border here between densely populated and rural. Its fluid of course. There has never been water or sewage or gas lines, It was a major nation building endeavour that power lines were strung.  We have wells, septics and propane tanks. Soon to be solar arrays for electricity when the only grid link finally dies.

You identify the point exactly, "Nation Building".

To  develop and expand the modern nation state and so expand power, the electrical grid and the communications grid were necessary tools.  None of these organizations could have got so big without that.

You  do misidentify "undercharging".  It wasn't undercharged, had the true cost been charged at the time the material was used, the population could not have afforded it.  So it was paid for in debt into the future.

The future is now.

RE

There are solutions.


I dont think revolution solves bad eroei

No, it doesn't, but it does get rid of a lot of banksters.

RE
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💡 Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts
« Reply #85 on: October 11, 2019, 03:14:03 PM »
Betchya Dollars to Doughnuts Batts are selling like Hotcakes amongst the rich in CA right now.  Lotta work for electricians to do rewiring also.

RE


Installers add solar panels to a residential roof in Lafayette, Calif.
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Image

Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts
Oct. 10, 2019, 8:31 AM

    Rooftop systems need batteries to operate when grid is down
    Millions have lost power in outage to prevent more wildfires

Californians have embraced rooftop solar panels more than anyone in the U.S., but many are learning the hard way the systems won’t keep the lights on during blackouts.

That’s because most panels are designed to supply power to the grid -- not directly to houses. During the heat of the day, solar systems can crank out more juice than a home can handle. Conversely, they don’t produce power at all at night.

So systems are tied into the grid, and the vast majority aren’t working this week as PG&E Corp. cuts power to much of Northern California to prevent wildfires.

The only way for most solar panels to work during a blackout is pairing them with batteries. That market is just starting to take off. Sunrun Inc., the largest U.S. rooftop solar company, said hundreds of its customers are making it through the blackouts with batteries.

“It’s the perfect combination for getting through these shutdowns,” Sunrun Chairman Ed Fenster said in an interview. He expects battery sales to boom in the wake of the outages.

And no, trying to run appliances off the power in a Tesla Inc. electric car won’t work, at least without special equipment.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Christopher Martin in New York at cmartin11@bloomberg.net
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Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: 💡 Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts
« Reply #86 on: October 11, 2019, 05:59:46 PM »
Betchya Dollars to Doughnuts Batts are selling like Hotcakes amongst the rich in CA right now.  Lotta work for electricians to do rewiring also.

RE


Installers add solar panels to a residential roof in Lafayette, Calif.
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Image

Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts
Oct. 10, 2019, 8:31 AM

    Rooftop systems need batteries to operate when grid is down
    Millions have lost power in outage to prevent more wildfires

Californians have embraced rooftop solar panels more than anyone in the U.S., but many are learning the hard way the systems won’t keep the lights on during blackouts.

That’s because most panels are designed to supply power to the grid -- not directly to houses. During the heat of the day, solar systems can crank out more juice than a home can handle. Conversely, they don’t produce power at all at night.

So systems are tied into the grid, and the vast majority aren’t working this week as PG&E Corp. cuts power to much of Northern California to prevent wildfires.

The only way for most solar panels to work during a blackout is pairing them with batteries. That market is just starting to take off. Sunrun Inc., the largest U.S. rooftop solar company, said hundreds of its customers are making it through the blackouts with batteries.

“It’s the perfect combination for getting through these shutdowns,” Sunrun Chairman Ed Fenster said in an interview. He expects battery sales to boom in the wake of the outages.

And no, trying to run appliances off the power in a Tesla Inc. electric car won’t work, at least without special equipment.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Christopher Martin in New York at cmartin11@bloomberg.net
if you had a tesla with a cheap inverter you can run limited loads through the accessory battery. Roughly 800 watts continuous. The main traction battery will keep it charged up... it's a popular hack. Good for fridges devices and maybe a wall mount air con...
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

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Re: 💡 Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts
« Reply #87 on: October 11, 2019, 06:42:24 PM »
if you had a tesla with a cheap inverter you can run limited loads through the accessory battery. Roughly 800 watts continuous. The main traction battery will keep it charged up... it's a popular hack. Good for fridges devices and maybe a wall mount air con...

According to Google, Teslas operate on either 350V or 375V batts.  Couldn't you use a step-down transformer to bring it down to 12V and then use say a 2000W Inverter with that?

RE
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💡 Why done't they bury the power lines in CA?
« Reply #88 on: October 11, 2019, 07:27:35 PM »
You guessed it.  Costs too much.

RE

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/10/11/bury-california-power-lines-wildfire-blackout-fix-unlikely-work/3946935002/

California power lines spark wildfires and prompt blackouts. Why not just bury them?
Janet Wilson, Palm Springs Desert Sun Published 5:39 p.m. ET Oct. 11, 2019 | Updated 8:06 p.m. ET Oct. 11, 2019


Story Highlights

    Experts say the answer is simple: money.
    It costs about $3 million per mile to convert underground electric distribution lines
    It would take more than 1,000 years to bury all the lines at the current rate

Why can't California's fire-prone power lines be buried underground, out of harm's way?

That was the question many were asking this week as hundreds of thousands of customers lost power in the Sacramento and San Francisco areas in preemptive shutoffs by Pacific Gas & Electric. Further south, another 200,000 customers of other utilities faced warnings that they too could lose power due to high winds.

Experts say the answer is simple: money.

"It's very, very expensive," said Severin Borenstein, a UC Berkeley professor of business administration and public policy who specializes in energy. Borenstein was speaking through the crackly static of a cell phone outside his darkened home in the San Francisco suburb of Orinda on Thursday evening. The Berkeley campus was shut down and his home had lost power too after PG&E instituted a mandatory "de-energization" across nearly 40 counties due to high fire threats.

It costs about $3 million per mile to convert underground electric distribution lines from overhead, while the cost to build a mile of new overhead line is less than a third of that, at approximately $800,000 per mile, according to a section on PG&E's website called Facts About Undergrounding Power Lines.

Photos: California wildfires spark mandatory evacuations in Los Angeles

California has 25,526 miles of higher voltage transmission lines, and 239,557 miles of distribution lines, two-thirds of which are overhead, according to CPUC. Less than 100 miles per year are transitioned underground, meaning it would take more than 1,000 years to underground all the lines at the current rate.
In this Nov. 13 photo, Southern California Edison crews work to replace burned power poles and lines destroyed by the Woolsey Fire on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

In this Nov. 13 photo, Southern California Edison crews work to replace burned power poles and lines destroyed by the Woolsey Fire on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. (Photo: AP PHOTO)
$15,000 for every PG&E customer?

PG&E, the state's largest utility, maintains approximately 81,000 miles of overhead distribution lines and approximately 26,000 miles of underground distribution lines. It also has about 18,000 miles of larger transmission lines, the majority of which are overhead lines.

At a cost of $3 million per mile, undergrounding 81,000 miles of distribution lines would cost $243 billion. PG&E has 16 million customers; distributing that expense equally would amount to a bill of more than $15,000 per account.

"It's very expensive," said Constance Gordon, a public information officer with the California Public Utilities Commission. "The utilities don't want to pay for it out of their pockets, so ratepayers would have to pitch in, and people don't want to pay for that."

PG&E is not flush with cash: The investor-owned utility filed for bankruptcy in January, facing $11 billion in liabilities related to wildfires. This week, the company's shares tumbled after a federal bankruptcy judge ruled that the utility no longer had the sole right to shape the terms of its reorganization.
Story from The Ascent
Wipe out credit card interest until nearly 2021

Background: California power outages aim to reduce risk of wildfires caused by dry and windy weather

Watch: Power cuts affect many across Northern California

Underground costs can vary depending on trenching and paving. If gas and telephone utilities share costs with electric companies, conversion costs can come down, but it all comes out of the customer's pocket eventually.

A report prepared by the Edison Electric Institute, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind, An Updated Study on the Undergrounding of Overhead Power Lines,” found that while most new commercial and residential developments across the United States tuck electrical facilities underground, burying existing above-ground electric distribution systems can cost up to $5 million a mile in urban areas.

Environmental concerns would also be high if thousands of miles of trenches were dug through forests or brushland habitat, Borenstein noted. Opposition could also arise from residents in existing neighborhoods confronted with the prospect of heavy-duty earth-moving projects.
Neighborhoods can tax themselves to bury lines

Since 1967, the California Public Utilities Commission has had a rule requiring utilities to contribute funds to communities for utility conversion projects from overhead to underground infrastructure, paid for partially by ratepayers. 

The CPUC has a longstanding policy that if a neighborhood wants underground power lines, it can have it done if residents pay for it themselves, with some required contributions from utilities. Sometimes developers and cities are willing to pitch in for certain areas, but the process is still labyrinthine.

That program does not prioritize lines in high wildfire hazard risk zones, but some residents in communities that experienced wildfires, including coastal Malibu and Rancho Palo Verde, have pushed for that policy to change to prioritize risky areas.

Sometimes the concerns are more centered on aesthetics than safety, and communities are willing to pay, or to have their local governments work to find funding. In the city of Palm Desert in the Coachella Valley, for example, residents' demands to bury unsightly lines led the city council to approve a $600 million underground utility plan in October 2018. But that's just the beginning of the process. 

If residents want the utility lines moved underground, they have to initiate creating a special district to tax themselves to pay for the project. To create a special district, residents need to collect signatures, and residents within the district's boundaries need to vote on the issue. In Palm Desert, the city hopes to help fund some of these projects, such as by paying for the portion of the move underground that is on public property.

Electric wires are increasingly placed underground in areas of new construction for aesthetic reasons, with developers picking up the cost. And in Paradise, where the devastating 2018 Camp Fire sparked by a power line flattened most of the town and killed 86 people, PG&E is preparing to lay underground lines.

Traffic: Saddleridge Fire shuts down multiple freeways, creating a traffic nightmare in Los Angeles and beyond

"I don't know if I agree with it," said Borenstein of that plan, who thought it could offer a false sense of security. "Though when you are starting from scratch, it is much cheaper if all the houses have burned."

But Borenstein and others noted that problems can occur underground as well. Animals can chew buried lines or lightning can short out ground connections, just as animals can damage lines overhead, or a dry tree branch can drop. The state's extremely varied landscapes are another challenge.

"In some places undergrounding works, and in some places it doesn’t," said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. "California’s topography is challenging. ... I do know PG&E has taken a concerted effort, as well as all the utilities, to do undergrounding where possible."
Governor signs more than 20 fire-related bills

The solutions for PG&E's fire-prone wires are straightforward, but will take time after years of neglect, said a clearly irritated Gov. Gavin Newsom at a Thursday press conference. PG&E needs to be brought into the 21st century in terms of technology, and the utility's equipment needs to be "hardened" against fire threats and maintained properly, he said.

"But to harden and upgrade 100,000 miles of line, come on, that's not gonna happen in a week or two, or even a month or two, or a year or two," said Newsom.

Earlier this month, Newsom signed into law over 20 wildfire-related bills.

One example: SB 584, introduced by Sen. John Moorlach, would require electrical corporations to invest funds for overhead to underground electrical infrastructure conversion projects by July 2020. The projects would be partially funded by grants from the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. But the bill has languished on the floor.

Borenstein agreed that vegetation management and hardening transmission and distribution lines are better, more easily implemented alternatives than burying 100,000 miles of lines.

"That means mowing, cutting trees, perhaps replacing wooden poles with concrete poles, and all the rusted transmission towers," he said. "They're trying to do these things, but they have a huge backlog of work."

Other possible measures include insulating exposed lines or installing sensors, including cameras or devices that can detect a spark or a short and even shut down a line automatically.
What about solar panels and batteries?

So if you can't bury your power line outside your front door, what about going "off the grid" with batteries in case of power outages?

Borenstein said for most people, it's out of reach.  A Tesla-produced Powerwall — a big battery that can store energy produced by solar power on a home rooftop, or electricity sucked from the conventional grid — starts at $6,000. There are additional expenses for installing a switch to "island" a building's electric system, isolating it from the grid.

Oct. 11: Two dead near Los Angeles as Saddleridge fire forces 100,000 people to evacuate

One thing is for sure: With a warming climate increasing the frequency and ferocity of wildfires, blackouts could become a far more regular occurrence in California, joining New England with its snow-induced outages or the Southeast or Midwest with hurricane and flood-related power losses.

"I think this climate change is a major factor," said Borenstein. "Electric lines have been sparking and starting fires for years. But they're much bigger now, with much more vegetation."

More and more people moving into wildlands only compounds the problem, creating a flammable mix.

His personal solution? Lots of LED battery flashlights, and a large supply of ice to protect food supplies.

Contributing: Gabrielle Paluch and Gabrielle Canon. Follow Janet Wilson on Twitter: @janetwilson66
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Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: 💡 Californians Learning That Solar Panels Don’t Work in Blackouts
« Reply #89 on: October 12, 2019, 04:59:19 AM »
if you had a tesla with a cheap inverter you can run limited loads through the accessory battery. Roughly 800 watts continuous. The main traction battery will keep it charged up... it's a popular hack. Good for fridges devices and maybe a wall mount air con...

According to Google, Teslas operate on either 350V or 375V batts.  Couldn't you use a step-down transformer to bring it down to 12V and then use say a 2000W Inverter with that?

RE
you dont need a step down transformer the car has it built in. It charges up the 12 volt accessory battery off of the 375v traction battery. Its limited to about 800 watts continuous which sounds low but you can do surges off of the 12 volt for starting things. The leaf, bolt, and volt all do the same thing. If you have a small internal combustion car idling it in the driveway is a perfect standby generator using the same tech. Inverter to the 12 volt, idle the car to keep it topped up. Modern car emissions are much lower then portable generators...cheap and it can keep you going for a few days at least
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

 

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