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In all honesty the NW transmission "grid" is in moderate shape and always expanding and improving but the expansion of the grid is incredibly expensive and time consuming. One of the things sucking up tremendous amounts of power and the cause of expansion are data centers. BPA has a tremendous amount of work scheduled in the next 10 years to the tune of 3 billion+ dollars just for the company I work for. That total is not inclusive of all the other work planned by BPA for other contractors.
If I am not mistaken, the reason those data centers are close to the dams/et. al., is because it is a lot cheaper for them to get the power a short distance away from where the power is generated. That plus the solar and wind power potential is much better there than on this side of the Cascades. I think they can also tap into the river for cooling?

I know my neighbor spends a lot of time working on projects for power generation upgrades at the dams.
 

solv3nt

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If I am not mistaken, the reason those data centers are close to the dams/et. al., is because it is a lot cheaper for them to get the power a short distance away from where the power is generated. That plus the solar and wind power potential is much better there than on this side of the Cascades. I think they can also tap into the river for cooling?

I know my neighbor spends a lot of time working on projects for power generation upgrades at the dams.
That's part of it. The other part is the subsidies from the state and local jurisdictions that makes certain locations more attractive to big business.
 
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If I am not mistaken, the reason those data centers are close to the dams/et. al., is because it is a lot cheaper for them to get the power a short distance away from where the power is generated. That plus the solar and wind power potential is much better there than on this side of the Cascades. I think they can also tap into the river for cooling?

I know my neighbor spends a lot of time working on projects for power generation upgrades at the dams.
The reason for Data Centers being located in Bordman, Umatilla, Prineville, The Dalles, etc is the fact they are geographically located in an arid climate where they can take advantage of low humidity and evaporative cooling rather than mechanical cooling. Mechanical cooling (chillers) are expensive due to their high energy consumption. There are exceptions to the rule, but in Oregon, VAData (Amazon), Google, Facebook and Apple are all located east of the Cascades. There are a couple small data centers over in the Beaverton & Hillsboro areas that we have worked on, but nothing like the magnitude of those places mentioned above.

Edited to add:
I believe one part of Google in the Dalles does use mechanical cooling, but they pull water straight from the Columbia to use with their chillers, but I think their newer building uses Evap cooling. All the others mentioned use well water.
 
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2) The main source of PNW hydro power is the Columbia river dams, which the BPA & Corps of Engineers work on continuously. I can't speak to the grid, but those dams are not going anywhere.
You might be surprised about that. Smaller dams (mostly private utility owned) have been breached. Snake River dams are continually up for review. Columbia River dams might be safe, but don't count on it. Many people are against the dams. More than it took to kill nuclear power in the us. I am not an expert in PNW hydropower. But, considering where I am sitting as I type this, I so have some intimate knowledge of hydropower. I don't see the Columbia River dams being breached due to the locks and the Commerce that involves. But, never say never.
 
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You might be surprised about that. Smaller dams (mostly private utility owned) have been breached. Snake River dams are continually up for review. Columbia River dams might be safe, but don't count on it. Many people are against the dams. More than it took to kill nuclear power in the us. I am not an expert in PNW hydropower. But, considering where I am sitting as I type this, I so have some intimate knowledge of hydropower. I don't see the Columbia River dams being breached due to the locks and the Commerce that involves. But, never say never.
Never say never is a good axiom, but having spent considerable time working on, in and near the Columbia (from the mouth to the Canadian border) and the Spokane and the Snake rivers, and knowing people who work/worked on the dams (including my father), I am fairly confident the big dams on the major rivers are not going anywhere. The Columbia and Snake were not dammed just for power, they were also dammed for flood control, and as you pointed out, transport/commerce.

Yes, I know some of the smaller dams on smaller rivers have been removed and some are targeted for removal, and that some people think they would like to remove the dams on the Columbia/etc., but I just don't see that happening, and not just because of the hydro power - even if we discovered a way to have personal singularity power generation in every house, the dams would remain for flood control.
 

USMC1911

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If I am not mistaken, the reason those data centers are close to the dams/et. al., is because it is a lot cheaper for them to get the power a short distance away from where the power is generated. That plus the solar and wind power potential is much better there than on this side of the Cascades. I think they can also tap into the river for cooling?

I know my neighbor spends a lot of time working on projects for power generation upgrades at the dams.
This pic is of the substation I am currently working in and the big building behind it is a data center. This is in Hillsboro. 20220526_100303.jpg
 
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Seriously considering a solar array and battery bank setup.

Living in a wooded area you will lose power at least 3-5 times a year. The neighbor has a nice solar set up that keeps him going, while I am picking and choosing what I run off the generator.

And new lithium iron phosphate batteries do a good job of mitigating the problems with traditional lithium batteries.
 
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Seriously considering a solar array and battery bank setup.

Living in a wooded area you will lose power at least 3-5 times a year. The neighbor has a nice solar set up that keeps him going, while I am picking and choosing what I run off the generator.

And new lithium iron phosphate batteries do a good job of mitigating the problems with traditional lithium batteries.
The batteries are the most expensive part from what I have read, at least on a per KWH basis and over their lifetime.

Yes, the trees are usually the issue, but at least two of the power outages we have had have not been due to trees; one was a car hitting a power pole, and another was an equipment failure.

The temporary power outages I can deal with. A few hours to a few days is not a big deal to me. I have gensets for that.

It is the weeks to months outages that are possible (power grid failure due to earthquake or other cause), that I could not currently deal with.

I would need something like solar and a battery bank - i.e., some kind of "renewable" off-grid power setup that would allow me to have lights, refrigeration, water (preferably hot water) and comms. I have "renewable" heat (wood stove), but not enough liquid fuel to run a genset for months (maybe a couple of weeks if I were very careful).
 

solv3nt

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The batteries are the most expensive part from what I have read, at least on a per KWH basis and over their lifetime.

Yes, the trees are usually the issue, but at least two of the power outages we have had have not been due to trees; one was a car hitting a power pole, and another was an equipment failure.

The temporary power outages I can deal with. A few hours to a few days is not a big deal to me. I have gensets for that.

It is the weeks to months outages that are possible (power grid failure due to earthquake or other cause), that I could not currently deal with.

I would need something like solar and a battery bank - i.e., some kind of "renewable" off-grid power setup that would allow me to have lights, refrigeration, water (preferably hot water) and comms. I have "renewable" heat (wood stove), but not enough liquid fuel to run a genset for months (maybe a couple of weeks if I were very careful).
It the trees are in the way, you could use a backup battery system that charges from the grid. You wouldn't be able to top them off without a generator, but you could use a much smaller generator to top them off.
 
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It the trees are in the way, you could use a backup battery system that charges from the grid. You wouldn't be able to top them off without a generator, but you could use a much smaller generator to top them off.
I don't mean the trees block solar panels, I meant trees falling cut the power.

I have a couple places to put solar panels that would work, but I am not going to install permanent panels here - I am going to get land with a south facing exposure (currently I am on the north side of a mountain) and plenty of room/exposure for solar panels.

I have a genset for the shop - to run the freezer and lights. I have a somewhat larger genset for the house to run a few things, but it doesn't have 240VAC so it can't power the well. The well power comes from the main panel and not the house panel, and there is nothing on the main panel for me to hook a generator to, so it is mostly a non-issue.

When I move, I will be thinking about and designing/building for these issues, with solar powering the well, refrigeration and lights. Heating will be geothermal heat pump pushing fluid into radiant floor coils and woodstoves (house and shop) and maybe solar water heating. Maybe propane backup for water heating. I have to think about how that will all work.
 

solv3nt

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I don't mean the trees block solar panels, I meant trees falling cut the power.

I have a couple places to put solar panels that would work, but I am not going to install permanent panels here - I am going to get land with a south facing exposure (currently I am on the north side of a mountain) and plenty of room/exposure for solar panels.

I have a genset for the shop - to run the freezer and lights. I have a somewhat larger genset for the house to run a few things, but it doesn't have 240VAC so it can't power the well. The well power comes from the main panel and not the house panel, and there is nothing on the main panel for me to hook a generator to, so it is mostly a non-issue.

When I move, I will be thinking about and designing/building for these issues, with solar powering the well, refrigeration and lights. Heating will be geothermal heat pump pushing fluid into radiant floor coils and woodstoves (house and shop) and maybe solar water heating. Maybe propane backup for water heating. I have to think about how that will all work.
Honestly, I'd go with a generator. It'll be cheaper than batteries. If you go with propane, you'll need to increase the size by 25% as opposed to diesel just make sure you get a transfer switch.
 
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Honestly, I'd go with a generator. It'll be cheaper than batteries. If you go with propane, you'll need to increase the size by 25% as opposed to diesel just make sure you get a transfer switch.
I want to have everything be able to run long term off-grid though. Solar would be more expensive, especially the batteries, but the batteries will last about 10 years, where a 1K gallon propane tank would last about 2-4 years for hot water alone.

Solar hot water heating - using solar to heat the water directly, not PV panels - I don't know... Again, this is something that would need to be researched.

Like I said, I want things to be self-sufficient long term - i.e., have the ability to go off-grid for months or even years.
 

solv3nt

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I want to have everything be able to run long term off-grid though. Solar would be more expensive, especially the batteries, but the batteries will last about 10 years, where a 1K gallon propane tank would last about 2-4 years for hot water alone.

Solar hot water heating - using solar to heat the water directly, not PV panels - I don't know... Again, this is something that would need to be researched.

Like I said, I want things to be self-sufficient long term - i.e., have the ability to go off-grid for months or even years.
If you're not moving, then see below.
Solar hot water heating, this uses a reflector to heat water.

LED lights operating with the battery system.

Gas Appliances

Automatic transfer switch with a manual transfer switch to switch to a generator, or wire the generator to charge the batteries.

Battery system sized to handle your load. Don't run an AC system off of the batteries.

Your round trip losses can be as high as 50% to go between AC to DC back to AC, so run as much as you can at battery voltage.
 
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One of the things that bother me the most about wind generation, is that they use balsa wood for the core, lots of it, making it hard to find balsa for planes. Also, when they retire a turbine, there's so much junk in the blades that they can't recycle any of it, so they bury them.
Story checks out.

 

ATCclears

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Summer is around the corner, and we suggest you prepare by buying an emergency generator, if you can find one in stock. Last week the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) warned that two-thirds of the U.S. could experience blackouts this summer. Welcome to the “green energy transition.”

We’ve been warning for years that climate policies would make the grid more vulnerable to vacillations in supply and demand. And here we are. Some of the mainstream press are belatedly catching on that blackouts are coming, but they still don’t grasp the real problem: The forced transition to green energy is distorting energy markets and destabilizing the grid.

 

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