AuthorTopic: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread  (Read 28835 times)

Offline RE

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Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« on: July 30, 2012, 01:06:47 AM »
Read Lights Out on the Diner Blog.


Another "Official" thread to join the Earthquake, Flood, Tornado and Hurricane threads.  Main difference, this thread isn't in "Natural" disasters under Geological and Cosmological Events, its in the Man-Made category under Energy problemos.  OK, I know a few of you think HAARP is causing the Weather problems and a few more than that think the Climate change is Anthropogenic, but Blackouts aren't open to dispute or conspiracy theorizing. They ARE a man made problem.

Anyhow, to lead off this thread, Newz of the Day is that India had a major Blackout Monday Morning during the Rush Hour Commute, knocking out power to more than 300M people.  That's right, power to approximately a population size equal to that of the ENTIRE FSofA!

According to the story, power was being restored after the grid collapse, but meanwhile for a few hours SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANTS went offline also.  Once the power goes out for more than a few hours, how long do you think it takes for Cholera to spread through Delhi and Calcutta?

Also according to said story, India is chronically short of electric power with 100sM people still not connected to the grid, and has an aging transmission network in need of upgrade, AND needs to build some NUKES!

Who is gonna front up money for India to upgrade here to Electric v2.0?  The guys who did the IPO on Electric v1.0 left with the credit and they ain't coming back here.

Some speculation on stuff not included in this story.  What caused the grid to crash?  It is unlikely there was a major surge in demand that overwhelmed the transformers, so likely it came from the supply end.  All it really takes is for a couple of decent size power plants to go off line and the rest of them become overloaded unless you can adjust quickly by rolling around Brownouts to the customers.  I'll bet a coupleof plants are just FRESH OUT of Coal to burn here and the municipalities running them are FRESH OUT of MONEY to buy more.

So the Indians are getting the grid up again here, but one has to suspect probably 10% of the customers won't get their lights back on here anytime too soon if EVER. In order to make sure the Delhi trains keep moving and Calcutta Sewage Plants keep processing the shit, somebodies out on the periphery will have to go back to Candle Power.

How long before Delhi and Calcutta go Lights Out for GOOD?  Over/Under on this, 5 years MAX IMHO. When they do, call in the Zombie Squad, that's 30M people easy who also go Offline.

Probably a bit longer before it's Lights Out permanently on this side of the pond.  Make no mistake though, this Show IS Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You.

RE

Power cut hits northern India causing major disruption Trains were stranded after the outage


 
Continue reading the main story
Related Stories
Indian workers protest power cuts Watch
Indian students who study on railway platforms

A massive power cut has caused disruption across northern India, including in the capital, Delhi.

It hit a vast swathe of the country affecting more than 300 million people in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan states.

Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said 60% of the supply had been restored and the rest would be reinstated soon.

It is unclear why supply collapsed, but states using more power than they were authorised to could be one reason.

Mr Shinde said he had appointed a committee to inquire into the causes of the blackout, one of the worst to hit the country in more than a decade.

Travel chaos
 
The outage happened at 02:30 local time (2100 GMT) on Monday after India's Northern Grid network collapsed.

Monday morning saw travel chaos engulf the region with thousands of passengers stranded when train services were disrupted in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

Delhi Metro railway services were stalled for three hours, although the network later resumed service when it received back-up power from Bhutan, one official said.

Traffic lights on the streets of the capital were not functioning as early morning commuters made their way into work, leading to gridlock.

Water treatment plants in the city also had to be shut for a few hours.

Officials said restoring services to hospitals and transport systems were a priority.

Power cuts are a common occurrence in Indian cities because of a fundamental shortage of power and an ageing grid. The chaos caused by such cuts has led to protests and unrest on the streets.

Earlier in July, crowds in the Delhi suburb of Gurgaon blocked traffic and clashed with police after blackouts there.

Correspondents say that India urgently needs a huge increase in power production, as hundreds of millions of its people are not even connected to the national grid.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has long said that India must look to nuclear energy to supply power to the people.

Estimates say that nuclear energy contributes only 3% to the country's current power supply. But the construction of some proposed nuclear power stations have been stalled by intense local opposition.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 01:34:12 AM by RE »
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Offline Surly1

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Re: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2012, 06:06:53 AM »
This article now posted on the DD Facepalm page:
https://www.facebook.com/DoomsteadDiner
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Ashvin

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Re: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2012, 08:44:25 AM »
Clean water for agriculture and consumption is a definitely a HUGE issue for India and Pakistan, and these blackouts obviously don't help. If anything, they may be forced to divert even more water away from those uses to generate more hydro-electric energy, and Pakistan will not like that at all. I wrote an article about how water scarcity in this region could set the stage for some really violent confrontations between those two notoriously unfriendly countries.


Will Water Set the World on Fire?

It is one thing for large populations to lose their real and perceived financial wealth, but an entirely more disruptive thing for those populations to lose access to clean water and adequate food. There are two nations that provide the quintessential example of a breeding ground for sociopolitical instability brought on by industrialization and resulting environmental degradation - Pakistan and India. The former state was arbitrarily created after the end of British colonial rule of India in 1948, and its borders were drawn in a fashion that exacerbated long-standing tensions between Muslim and Hindu populations and divided control over critical resources. Both of these countries are labeled as suffering from "acute water scarcity" by the United Nations, and this trend will  significantly contribute to chronic food shortages, as they both rely on irrigated agriculture for exports and also to feed their growing populations.[3]

Much of India's water scarcity is directly or indirectly (population growth) caused by the industrialization of its economy. The discharge of untreated sewage from urban areas into rivers and streams has introduced many organic and inorganic toxins into surface waters. Heavy use of fertilizers and pesticides in the agricultural sector have significantly contributed to polluting almost 70% of the country's surface water and a growing number of groundwater reserves, rendering much of them unsuitable for human consumption, irrigation or industrial processes. There are also many other industrial factors making this horrible water situation even worse, including the destruction of forest, wetland and coastal  ecosystems, as well as climate change (discussed more in Part IV). [4].

Pakistan is in a very similar situation, as it relies on water resources for agriculture and industry, which have in turn degraded the quality of its surface and groundwater over many years. [5]. Of course, it also shares many of the same sources of water with India (Indus River and its tributaries), and this fact sets up the likelihood of greatly increased conflict (perhaps full-blown war) between the two states within the next few years. India is already in the process of constructing 33 new hydro-electric dams, some of which are located in the hotly-disputed Kashmir territory, and studies indicate that their cumulative storage of river water could divert significant amounts of water from Pakistan during its growing season. [6].

These projects may be in violation of the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 (dealing with water sharing), but humans find it easy to make such agreements when resources are abundant, and as they quickly evaporate (or contaminate), painfully desperate countries cannot be expected to, and will not, continue to recognize international law. Neither of these countries have significant domestic sources of energy (other than hydro-electric), both have a growing number of people born into poverty (India is the second-most populous country in the world, contains some of the most densely populated areas, and has one of the poorest populations), and both have dwindling water resources that are critical for agriculture, industry and human consumption (as well as the natural world, of course). [7].

It is truly a ticking time-bomb that encompasses two states with a bitter ethnic/religious rivalry and nuclear arsenals waiting in the wing. The latter fact, along with India's importance to the global economy, makes upheaval in these countries a major threat to financial elites attempting to maintain global order and control. The Indus River Basin is often referred to as one of the birthplaces of human civilization, and it could very well ignite the fire that eventually burns the power structures of modern civilization to the ground.

« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 09:06:00 AM by Ashvin »

Offline Surly1

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Re: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2012, 09:07:06 AM »
I do not think you could be more correct. Have been wearing my friends out with saying "water will take the place of oil in the 21st century" for so long they are planning an intervention.

Wait until the snowmelt no longer replenishes the Indus, as glaciers retreat at record pace all over the world...

I&P a virtual powderkeg, anyhow, and both nuclear tipped.

Nothing could go wrong there, could it...
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Jb

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Re: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2012, 10:16:57 AM »
Links posted by Chris Nelder this morning:

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-07-04/gurgaon/32536824_1_power-situation-northern-grid-power-crunch

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/major-power-failure-in-north-india-metro-services-in-delhi-affected/1/210902.html

http://www.ndtv.com/article/cheat-sheet/no-power-in-northern-india-for-more-than-six-hours-top-10-developments-248943

from the last link: "The power grid collapsed because some states apparently drew more power than they were authorised to do to meet the rising demand during the summer, said chairman of the state-run Uttar Pradesh state Power Corporation Avinash Awasthi."

Offline buzzard

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Re: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2012, 10:22:56 AM »
I'm attempting to get my rain water collection system on-line while looking at the sky wondering if the tanks will ever fill. I agree that water has been an elephant in the room for quite some time world wide. Something about overshoot...

Offline RE

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Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread: Miami 2017
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2012, 12:12:46 AM »
Billy Joel wrote this song for his "Turnstiles" Album  in 1976.  It may prove to be one of the most accurate predictions since the Mayans.

Update:  Now the current Feature Video on the Blog

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

RE
« Last Edit: July 31, 2012, 12:25:05 AM by RE »
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Offline JoeP

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Re: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2012, 05:56:13 AM »
2nd outage - 670 million people without power:

Hundreds of millions without power after Indian grid goes down for second time in 2 days



By NBC News and wire reports
Updated at 8:05 a.m. ET: NEW DELHI -- Half of India's 1.2 billion people were without power Tuesday as the grids covering 19 states broke down, the second major blackout in as many days.

Stretching from Assam, near China, to the Himalayas and the deserts of Rajasthan, the power cut was the worst to hit India in more than a decade. The power loss includes grid failures in northern, eastern and northeastern India.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trains were stranded in Kolkata and New Delhi and thousands of people poured out of the sweltering capital's modern metro system when it ground to a halt at lunchtime. Office buildings switched to diesel generators and traffic jammed the roads.

Miners trapped
Two hundred workers were stranded in three coal mines after the blackout cut off electricity to elevators in their underground pits, a mining company official told Reuters.

"We are waiting for the restoration of power to bring them up through the lifts, but there is no threat to their lives or any reason to panic," said Nildari Roy, a senior official at the mines' operator, Eastern Coalfields Limited.

The power outage is likely the largest ever in India, the Economic Times reported.


Follow @NBCNewsWorldNineteen of India's 28 states with a total population of 670 million people were without power, India's NDTV said, with the lights out even at major hospitals in Kolkata.

"We'll have to wait for an hour or hour and a half, but till then we're trying to restore metro, railway and other essential services," Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters.

Shinde blamed the system collapse on some states drawing more than their share of electricity from the overstretched grid. Asia's third-largest economy suffers a peak-hour power deficit of about 10 percent, dragging on economic growth.

Dozens die as blaze engulfs overnight train in India

"This is the second day that something like this has happened. I've given instructions that whoever overdraws power will be punished," Shinde said.

The state of West Bengal announced a holiday to enable people to reach their homes in the wake of the eastern grid's failure.

The country's southern and western grids were supplying power to help restore services, officials said.

The problem has been made worse by weak a monsoon in agricultural states such as wheat-belt Punjab and Uttar Pradesh in the Ganges plains, which has a larger population than Brazil. With less rain to irrigate crops, more farmers resort to electric pumps to draw water from wells.

Creaky infrastructure
Power shortages and a creaky road and rail network have weighed heavily on the country's efforts to industrialize. Grappling with the slowest economic growth in nine years, India recently scaled back a target to pump $1 trillion into infrastructure over the next five years.


Commuters wait for buses outside a subway station in New Delhi on Tuesday after the second major power outage in two days disrupted services in India's capital.
Major industries have dedicated power plants or large diesel generators and are shielded from outages -- but the inconsistent supply hits investment and disrupts small businesses.

High consumption of heavily subsidized diesel by farmers and businesses has fueled a gaping fiscal deficit that the government has vowed to tackle to restore confidence in the economy. But the poor monsoon season means a subsidy cut is politically difficult.

On Tuesday, the central bank cut its economic growth outlook for the fiscal year that ends in March to 6.5 percent, from the 7.3 percent assumption made in April, putting its outlook closer to that of many private economists.

NBC staff, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
just my straight shooting honest opinion

Offline g

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 Infrastructure and Climate Change
Kurt Cobb makes a point I've been trying to make for a while now - our current infrastructure was built for a different planet:

    This summer has shown just what can happen when those built-in tolerances for heat, moisture (or lack of it) and wind are exceeded. The New York Times did an excellent short piece providing examples of some of those effects:

    1.A jet stuck on the tarmac as its wheels sank into asphalt softened by 100-degree heat.
    2.A subway train derailed by a kink in the track due to excessive heat.
    3.A power plant that had to be shut down due to lack of cooling water when the water level dropped below the intake pipe.
    4.A "derecho", a severe weather pattern of thunderstorms and very high straight-line winds, that deprived 4.3 million people of power in the eastern part of the United States, some for eight days.
    5.Drainage culverts destroyed by excessive rains.

    Past attempts to forecast the possible costs of climate change have been largely inadequate. They failed because of unanticipated effects on and complex interconnections among various parts of critical infrastructure.

    Back in 2007 Yale economist William Nordhaus wrote in a paper that "[e]conomic studies suggest that those parts of the economy that are insulated from climate, such as air-conditioned houses or most manufacturing operations, will be little affected directly by climatic change over the next century or so." Having air-conditioning does not do you much good, however, if the electricity is out. And, manufacturing operations depend on reliable electric service. Many manufacturing operations are also water-intensive and so will be affected by water shortages. In addition, damage to transportation systems (as detailed above) could hamper the delivery of manufactured products.

He forgot to mention roads buckling from the heat, which happened here in the Midwest earler this month. And let's not forget barges on the Mississippi being stranded and unable to ship due to low water levels:

    For those who make their living along the Mississippi River, helping ship many of the country’s most vital commodities, this year’s drought has inevitably raised the specter of 1988. That’s when the river got so low that barge traffic came to a standstill — and the industry lost $1 billion. Unfortunately, 2012 could be worse.

 And now, right on schedule, we see a massive power blackout in India:

    NEW DELHI: There has been a major power failure in north India since late Sunday night affecting at least six states.

    The states affected include Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.
    "Yes there are problems with Northern Grid, we are trying to restore it", said SK Soonee, CEO of Power System Operating Co (PSOC).

    PSOC manages the Northern Power Grid. Officials sources said while the exact reasons for the grid failure are being ascertained , over drawl of power by states could have led to the problem.

    The restoration of the grid may take a few more hours even as the engineers are trying to restore it since early morning.

    Power supply in some pockets is being restored and the first priority is for public services like hospitals and transport.

    "We are hoping to restore the grid in the next one or two hours. We are giving essential loads for services like Railways, Metro and Hospitals," chairman and managing director of Power Grid Corporation AM Nayak said.

    Meanwhile, thousands of office-going commuters in the national capital are facing severe hardship as Delhi Metro services have been largely disrupted owing to the Northern Grid failure

Major power failure in north India, Delhi Metro services hit (Times of India)

    Power cuts are a common occurrence in Indian cities because of a fundamental shortage of power and an ageing grid. The chaos caused by such cuts has led to protests and unrest on the streets.

    Earlier in July, crowds in the Delhi suburb of Gurgaon blocked traffic and clashed with police after blackouts there.

    Correspondents say that India urgently needs a huge increase in power production, as hundreds of millions of its people are not even connected to the national grid.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has long said that India must look to nuclear energy to supply power to the people.

    Estimates say that nuclear energy contributes only 3% to the country's current power supply. But the construction of some proposed nuclear power stations have been stalled by intense local opposition.

Power cut causes major disruption in northern India (BBC)

You will recall it was just last week when torrential downpours overwhelmed Beijing’s infrastructure. Note that the affected population of 300 million is nearly equal to that of the United States. It seems like the next phase of capitalist expansion due to the two billion consumers (!!!!) of China and India is meeting with some unintended SNAFU's. Please note also the mention of Guragon, the libertarian's ideal model city of the future.

I wonder if these nearly daily stories of extreme weather and infrastructure failure are having an impact. Remember, it takes an enourmous amount of resources just to conteract entropy and maintain the infrastructure we have, as anyone who has read the book World Without Us or seen the Discovery Channel special knows. How will we expand the economy when we keep having to spend resources rebuilding what we've got after it's been destroyed over and over again? And see this:

Energy Shortage Constrains India's Economic Growth (Planetizen via WSJ):

    Energy shortages in coal, natural gas, and diesel fuel are constraining India's growth. At the heart of the shortages are government subsidies that keep prices low, state-run monopolies that are unable to increase production, and costly imports.

    "A shortage of coal, which accounts for more than half of the nation's energy supply, is crippling the power sector, forcing companies to delay the opening of multibillion-dollar projects. India in April announced an 80% jump in coal imports ...but many plants still run below capacity for lack of coal."
    Electricity shortages have resulted in clinics being forced to dump vaccines due to lack of continual refrigeration. As many as 400 million rural residents may lack access to electricity.

    Coal shortages are largely a result of the inability of Coal India, India's state-run monopoly, to produce enough due to many factors, including old equipment and security threats.

    "(Prime Minister Manmohan Singh) is beginning to realize that there's a very bleak outlook in terms of energy security, and that this is going to create the single largest constraint on the economy", said one energy consultant. Deregulation of energy will be challenging.

    "State-run energy companies are racking up billions of dollars in losses by selling auto fuel, cooking gas and electricity at artificially low prices to protect consumers from global cost increases." Consequently, residents expect low prices on these fuels.

    "India has a very distorted system of subsidies," Jaipal Reddy, minister for petroleum and natural gas, said. "But how, in a vibrant democracy like in India, do you change the system suddenly?"

What articles like this always assume is that these problems are just economic - that is just a matter of inefficient organization, and nothing whatsoever to do with limits to growth. Even so, social and political limitations are just as real as economic ones, and often just as insurmountable.
Posted by escapefromwisconsin at 12:12 PM                                         :icon_study:

Offline WHD

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Re: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2012, 07:09:04 AM »
Quote
Back in 2007 Yale economist William Nordhaus wrote in a paper that "[e]conomic studies suggest that those parts of the economy that are insulated from climate, such as air-conditioned houses or most manufacturing operations, will be little affected directly by climatic change over the next century or so."

Nordhaus is probably the most repulsive of all the apologist economists living today, and that is saying a lot. He is a voicebox for the unseen forces behind globalism and the centralization of economic fascism.

As for India, if they captured all that shit from all those 1.6 billion eaters, imagine how much methane that would generate, and electricity from burning that? Oops, too bad, the fools. But wait, we don't do that here either. Hmmm...

Offline Jb

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Re: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2012, 07:18:50 AM »
"For a family of 8 with a few animals (say 8-10 cows), a 10m³ digester is a commonly used size in India, with 2 m³ gas storage."

http://bio-gas-plant.blogspot.com/2011/04/homemade-biogas-methane-gobar-gas.html

Offline RE

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Re: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2012, 04:36:35 PM »
Read some scuttlebutt on ZH that it might hve something to do with the Solar Flare that erupted on the 28th.

RE

Sun emits a medium-intensity solar flare
July 31, 2012 By Karen C. Fox




(Phys.org) -- The sun emitted a mid-level flare, peaking at 4:55 PM EDT on July 28, 2012.


Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. This disrupts the radio signals for as long as the flare is ongoing, anywhere from minutes to hours.

This flare is classified as an M6.2 flare. M-class flares are the weakest flares that can still cause some space weather effects near Earth. They can cause brief radio blackouts at the poles.

Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun's normal 11-year activity cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum, which is expected in 2013.

Updates will be provided as needed.

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Offline RE

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Re: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2012, 03:01:38 AM »
The MSM Spin on the India Blackouts is just BEYOND BELIEF!

According to the MSM, the REASON for India's Power Problems is because Da Corrupt Goobermint has not INVESTED sufficiently in Upgrading their Power Infrastructure!

With WHAT FUCKING MONEY is Da Goobermint supossed to DO this investment?

The MSM ADMITS that Da Goobermint of India SUBSIDIZES power so Indians who make $2/day can AFFORD to keep their Lights on and Refrigerators running.

Yea, OK, maybe JPMC will LOAN India a few TRILLION to Upgrade to Electric v2.0.  Somehow I doubt that though, and TAXING people who make $2/day in clothing factories is NOT gonna raise a whole lotta MONEY here.

The TRUTH is Indians cannot AFFORD Electric Lights and Air Conditioning, and nobody is offering up another Big Loan to Upgrade here.

My Over/Under on India was around 3-5 years.  Getting shorter all the time now.  Flick off the SWITCH there, SOON.

RE
Quote
Power Is Restored Across India After Massive Blackout
 
Adnan Abidi/Reuters
 
Passengers waited Tuesday for train service to be restored in New Delhi. More Photos »
 
By GARDINER HARRIS and JIM YARDLEY
 
Published: August 1, 2012

NEW DELHI – As electric power was restored across India on Wednesday, the nation’s new power minister sought to tamp down a growing argument between state and federal ministers over who was to blame for Tuesday’s unprecedented blackout.
 
“I don’t think one can have a blame game between the state and the center,” said Veerappa Moily, the new power minister.

More than half of India’s population lost electricity on Tuesday after a cascading series of problems in three of the nation’s power grids shut down power from Imphal in the east to Jaisalmer in the west, and from Leh in the north to Bhubaneswar in the middle of the country.

The blackout affected an area encompassing about 670 million people, or roughly 10 percent of the world’s population. It trapped coal miners, stranded train passengers and caused huge traffic jams in the nation’s capital.

Federal officials initially blamed the northern states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh for taking from the grid far more than their electricity allotments. Part of the reason may be that low rainfall totals have restricted the amount of power delivered by hydroelectric dams, which India relies on for much of its power needs. Another cause may be that drought-stricken farmers are using more power than expected to run water pumps to irrigate their crops.

But Ajit Sharan, the power secretary for Haryana, said that the central government is supposed to warn states if they are drawing excessive power from the system, and that did not happen on Tuesday or Monday, when another blackout affected a quarter of the nation’s population.

“This hype that states are overdrawing is the reason for the collapse is not right,” said Ajit Sharan, the power secretary for Haryana state. It is too early to say what exactly happened, he said.

When the grid collapsed, the frequency was 50.2 hertz, he said, which is normal. Had states been overdrawing, the frequency would have dropped well below that level, he added.

Whatever the cause, the scale of the blackout – the largest in human history – caused India acute embarrassment on the international stage. Indians track world opinion of them closely, not only for reasons of national pride but because foreign investments and remittances are crucial parts of the economy.

“The image of it looks very bad,” said Naresh Chandra, a former ambassador to the United States and former electricity regulator in New Delhi.

But Mr. Chandra said the problems were fixable and that international investors should not lose heart. “India is on a learning curve and hasn’t managed its technology as it should. But it will,” he said.

Power experts in the United States speculated that inattention by those manning crucial circuit breakers on India’s electrical grid may have led to the blackout.

India’s basic power problem is that the country’s rapid development has led demand to far outstrip supply. That means power officials must manage the grid by shutting down power to small sections of the country on a rotating basis. But doing so requires quick action from government officials who are often loathe to shut off power to important constituencies.

Mr. Moily promised that he would ensure that the nation’s power grid had round-the-clock monitoring.

Some 300 million people in India have no access to power at all, and 300 million more have only sporadic access. Another of the nation’s basic problems is that supplies of coal, which is largely controlled by the government, have not been enough to meet demand even among power plants that have the capacity to generate more electricity.

Shailendra Tshwant, an environmental activist and energy consultant, said that relying on more coal and further centralizing the nation’s energy infrastructure would be a mistake.

“Decentralized renewable energy sources like wind, solar and micro-hydropower plants are the answers here,” Mr. Tshwant said.

Many of India’s major corporations and industrial groups generate their own power and thus were spared much of the disruption from the blackouts on Monday and Tuesday. Many apartment and office buildings in India’s major cities have their own generators as well. And as India’s power grid becomes ever more unreliable, private power alternatives will further proliferate, despite their relative inefficiency.

Tuesday’s blackout affected a broad swath of India. Three of the country’s interconnected northern power grids collapsed for several hours, as blackouts extended almost 2,000 miles, from India’s eastern border with Myanmar to its western border with Pakistan.

For a country considered a rising economic power, Blackout Tuesday — which came only a day after another major power failure — was an embarrassing reminder of the intractable problems still plaguing India: inadequate infrastructure, a crippling power shortage and, many critics say, a yawning absence of governmental action and leadership.

India’s coalition government, battered for its stewardship of a wobbling economy, again found itself on the defensive, as top ministers could not definitively explain what had caused the grid failure or why it had happened on consecutive days.

Theories for the extraordinarily extensive blackout across much of northern India included excessive demands placed on the grid from certain regions, due in part to low monsoon rains that forced farmers to pump more water to their fields, and the less plausible possibility that large solar flares had set off a failure.

“This is a huge failure,” said Prakash Javadekar, a spokesman for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. “It is a management failure as well as a failure of policy. It is policy paralysis in the power sector.”

For millions of ordinary people, Tuesday brought frustration and anger; for some, there was fear. As nighttime arrived, Kirti Shrivastava, 49, a housewife in the eastern city of Patna, said power had not been restored in her neighborhood. “There is no water, no idea when electricity will return,” she said. “We are really tense. Even the shops have now closed. Now we hope it is not an invitation to the criminals!”

Tuesday also brought havoc to India’s railroad network, one of the busiest in the world. Across the country, hundreds of trains were stalled for hours before service resumed. At the bustling New Delhi Railway Station, Jaswant Kaur, 62, found herself stranded after a miserable day. Her initial train was stopped by the power failure. By the time she reached New Delhi, her connecting train was already gone.

“Now my pocket is empty,” she said. “I am hungry. I am tired. The government is responsible.”

Sushil Kumar Shinde, the power minister, who spoke to reporters in the afternoon, did not specify what had caused the grid breakdown but blamed several northern states for consuming too much power from the national system.

“I have asked my officers to penalize those states which are drawing more power than their quota,” said Mr. Shinde, whose promotion was announced a few hours later.

Surendra Rao, formerly India’s top electricity regulator, said the national grid had a sophisticated system of circuit breakers that should have prevented such a blackout. But he attributed this week’s problems to the bureaucrats who control the system, saying that civil servants are beholden to elected state leaders who demand that more power be diverted to their regions — even if doing so threatens the stability of the national grid.

“The dispatchers at both the state and the regional level should have cut off the customers who were overdrawing, and they didn’t,” Mr. Rao said. “That has to be investigated.”

India’s power sector has long been considered a potentially crippling hindrance to the country’s economic prospects. Part of the problem is access; more than 300 million people in India still have no electricity.

But India’s power generation capacity also has not kept pace with growth. Demand outpaced supply by 10.2 percent in March, government statistics show.

In recent years, India’s government has set ambitious goals for expanding power generation capacity, and while new plants have come online, many more have faced delays, whether because of bureaucratic entanglements, environmental concerns or other problems. India depends on coal for more than half of its power generation, but production has barely increased, with some power plants idled for lack of coal.

Many analysts have long predicted that India’s populist politics were creating an untenable situation in the power sector because the government is selling electricity at prices lower than the cost of generating it. India’s public distribution utilities are now in deep debt, which makes it harder to encourage investment in the power sector. Tuesday’s blackout struck some analysts as evidence of a system in distress.

“It’s like a day of reckoning coming nearer,” said Rajiv Kumar, secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

India’s major business centers of Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad were not affected by the blackout, since they are in the southern and central parts of the country that proved to be immune from the failure.

Phillip F. Schewe, a specialist in electricity and author of the book “The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World,” said the demand pressures on India’s system could set off the sort of breakdown that occurred on Tuesday.

In cases when demand outstrips the power supply, the system of circuit breakers must be activated, often manually, to reduce some of the load in what are known as rolling blackouts. But if workers cannot trip those breakers fast enough, Mr. Schewe said, a failure could cascade into a much larger blackout.

Some experts attributed excessive demand in part to the lower levels of monsoon rains falling on India this year, which have reduced the capacity of hydroelectric power and forced many farmers to turn to electric pumps to draw water from underground.

Meanwhile, about 200 coal miners in the state of West Bengal were stranded for several hours in underground mines when the electricity to the elevators was shut off, according to reports in the Indian news media.

“We are waiting for the restoration of power to bring them up through the lifts, but there is no threat to their lives or any reason to panic,” said Nildari Roy, an official at Eastern Coalfields Ltd., the mine’s operator. Most of the miners had been rescued by late evening, news agencies said.

Ramachandra Guha, an Indian historian, said the blackout was only the latest evidence of government dysfunction. On Monday, he noted, 32 people died in a train fire in Tamil Nadu State — a reminder that the nation’s railway system, like the electrical system, is underfinanced and in dire need of upgrading.

“India needs to stop strutting on the world stage like it’s a great power,” Mr. Guha said, “and focus on its deep problems within.”

Reporting was contributed by Heather Timmons, Sruthi Gottipati, Niharika Mandhana and Hari Kumar from New Delhi; Vikas Bajaj from Mumbai, India; Raksha Kumar from Patna, India; Pamposh Raina from Gurgaon, India; James Glanz from New York; and Matthew Wald from Washington
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Offline WHD

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Re: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2012, 09:24:31 AM »
As to solar flares, they've measured them as high as x42, I believe, as in, about 36 orders of magnitude greater than the one one the 28th. That big one didn't hit the earth. Funny, I'm writing a novel in instalments on my website, and the global grid solar flare failure takes place mid-August. If that is what caused this, a solar flare, it's equally funny that this, just now, is the first I'm hearing about it (GO DINER!). It's the second or third big one we've had in 2012.

I just read that link about CME's too. They can do a lot more than is implied there. They can cycle down through the poles and charge the earth, potentially frying transistors. A direct hit can fry a transistor solid too, as happened in Montreal in 1989. The US Gov estimated in 2008 that a solar induced collapse of the US grid, equal to the Carrington event of 1859, could take up to ten years and ten trillion dollars to fix. As in, it never would be. Have they done a damn thing to protect the grid from such a scenario? Nada.

As to upgrading the Indian grid, the World Bank already maxed out the loan potential for India, building super massive hydro electric dams. That seems to have worked out well.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 09:33:47 AM by WHD »

Offline agelbert

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Re: Lights OUT! The Official Blackout Thread
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2012, 10:59:18 AM »
Golden Oxen says
Quote
Infrastructure and Climate Change
Kurt Cobb makes a point I've been trying to make for a while now - our current infrastructure was built for a different planet:

EXACTLY! :emthup:

I have no idea what kind of infrastructure we need to survive during PETM (Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum) conditions those that occurred 55 million years ago (the last time CO2 reached present day concentrations) but whatever it is, we sure don't have it.

Quote
About 55 million years ago, Earth experienced a period of global warming that lasted ~170,000 years (1). This climate event--the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM)--may be the best ancient analog for future increases in atmospheric CO2.

http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?id=7178&method=full
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

 

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