Higher risk of blackouts in some big urban areas this Summer

Siglvr

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Not likely for the PNW - we export surplus power from the Columbia River dams

NOT quite. We do export BPA damn power to Ca. in the summer when everyone is Socal is running their A/C units. As I understand it, the margin of extra power that the PNW has traditionally enjoyed has shrank dramatically due to overemphasis on getting rid of "nasty" coal power and trying to replace it with wind and solar. Increased demand and NIMBism where gas plants are difficult to get built increase the likely hood of a blackout or a brownout is much higher now. There is simply less power to go around. If we have a couple of years of drought, plan on blackouts. Perhaps this summer, and they will of course blame "Global Warming" (there are elements of truth there) but the real culprit will be poor planning: and in lieu of planning to what you want to see, not what is actually seen.

The wildcard is future technology improvements (battery and solar improvements in particular) and conservation.

Ch. 2 here is a decent chunk of a 6 part outline of the situation: Will there be enough electricity after coal plants shut down?

Then there is things like Sierra Snow pack. That massive water fuels San Franciscos water and electricity needs. If that drops, and they are having a below year: as it's Nancy Peloci's district, one would need to reconsider the BPA's federally funded dam electricity output. The west is interconnected these days.
 
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Alexx1401

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I know this for Oregon, we get about 50% of our power from hydro and 50% from coal. All of the power from the wind farms you see in the gorge go to California.
Many seem to have a real hard time getting their head around power generation and distribution. So far there is not a real good way to store mass amounts of electricity. Many seem to think its like water reservoirs. Store it up and use it where it's needed when its needed. We have a grid now that flows power where it's being used as it's needed. It is quite an amazing invention that it works so well. Things like solar and wind can not just turn on when needed like other forms. The solar and wind are put on the grid like all power. There is no magic switch that sends the power made in one place only to another state. The wind and solar make power when they can. So since it can't be stored in a large tank it flows where it's used. Other forms of generation that can be controlled can then throttle back until needed. So when the wind stops blowing or the sun goes down the lights stay on. When there is a shortage it's because the infrastructure can't get the power where it's needed, not because we can't generate it. One huge problem is people who protest when anyone wants to make the infrastructure better. No place is this better seen than CA. The voters there have sent people to office who refuse to allow any more improvements the water infrastructure, then the same voters scream when there is not enough water. They then blame people who have zero control over the whole set up since it can't be the incompetent people they voted for:s0140:
 
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Many seem to have a real hard time getting their head around power generation and distribution. So far there is not a real good way to store mass amounts of electricity. Many seem to think its like water reservoirs. Store it up and use it where it's needed when its needed. We have a grid now that flows power where it's being used as it's needed. It is quite an amazing invention that it works so well. Things like solar and wind can not just turn on when needed like other forms. The solar and wind are put on the grid like all power. There is no magic switch that sends the power made in one place only to another state. The wind and solar make power when they can. So since it can't be stored in a large tank it flows where it's used. Other forms of generation that can be controlled can then throttle back until needed. So when the wind stops blowing or the sun goes down the lights stay on. When there is a shortage it's because the infrastructure can't get the power where it's needed, not because we can't generate it. One huge problem is people who protest when anyone wants to make the infrastructure better. No place is this better seen than CA. The voters there have sent people to office who refuse to allow any more improvements the water infrastructure, then the same voters scream when there is not enough water. They then blame people who have zero control over the whole set up since it can't be the incompetent people they voted for:s0140:
Exactly, I worked a summer on a hydro project and my Dad who has worked his whole life in the west dealing with the coal plants, hydrodams, I understand how was the project manager on at least one of the wind farms in the gorge( Can't remember which one)Plants like coal and natural gas will always be with us use to the fact they can be turned on when wind, solar and Hydro(during winter)can not product enough power. I have been inside the workings of the North Umpqua Hydro Project. It is amazing how it all works.
 
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There is one coal power plant in Orygun; in Boardman. One. Single. Plant.

View attachment 704728
While that is true, Wyoming has many, Growing up my dad worked at several doing the engineering for upgrades, that is where the extra coal power comes from, Remember Wyoming sits on the larges coal reserves not just in the USA but in the world(I believe).
 

The Heretic

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USMC1911

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Any outage in the PNW will be limited in scope to a failure at a local level like Aflineman suggested. Your not going to see rolling outages due to lack of ability to generate but a sub fire or a natural disaster is alway possible. In California thats a different story where a wet winter/tall grass that will dry, neglect of the systems and high wind could and will call for rolling outages. Fun fact. BPA is one of the only federal agencies that actually has a balance sheet in the black every year.
 

RicInOR

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For Summer 2020 are you expecting them?

Last year in CA, to "prevent" wildfires, PG&E set rolling blackouts across the state. Which if done this year, will be more problematic as so many won't have an office they can escape to for power/recharging/air conditioning.

Do we expect power outages across the northwest this summer?
 
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Many seem to have a real hard time getting their head around power generation and distribution. So far there is not a real good way to store mass amounts of electricity. Many seem to think its like water reservoirs. Store it up and use it where it's needed when its needed.
I work for a company that specializes in equipment for the power distribution industry, so I get a lot of exposure to the concepts and challenges.

In my region, we have the dams providing power. However, the environmentalists screamed and stomped their feet saying that the dams needed to release all of their excess water to help flush the salmon smolts to the ocean because, well, fish are more important than humans.

My family bought a piece of land near one of the reservoirs in the 80's when the water level was left at full pool for most of the year.

Then, in the early 2000's, the environmentalists started demanding water drawdowns for the salmon. That made most of the boat ramps unusable and left about 100' of mud between the normal waterline and the water. Really ruined the lake for recreational use and severely diminished capacity for power generation.
 
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Breach ALL the dams, empty the reservoirs, get back to the NO electrical grid and watch the reverse migration on the Oregon Trail. No more golf courses, irrigated farm land, office AC's, back to hand pump for barrels of fuel. No electricity, no West setttlement, and LA will be come a dust bowl. The upside will be NO more 'faux protests as a precursor to riots". It will be a win win! John W. Powell should have kept quiet!
 
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The Heretic

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Breach ALL the dams, empty the reservoirs, get back to the NO electrical grid and watch the reverse migration on the Oregon Trail. No more golf courses, irrigated farm land, office AC's, back to hand pump for barrels of fuel. No electricity, no West setttlement, and LA will be come a dust bowl. The upside will be NO more 'faux protests as a precursor to riots". It will be a win win! John W. Powell should have kept quiet!
The main thing will be the floods.
 
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Breach ALL the dams, empty the reservoirs, get back to the NO electrical grid and watch the reverse migration on the Oregon Trail. No more golf courses, irrigated farm land, office AC's, back to hand pump for barrels of fuel. No electricity, no West setttlement, and LA will be come a dust bowl. The upside will be NO more 'faux protests as a precursor to riots". It will be a win win! John W. Powell should have kept quiet!
LA used to be a rainforest before it was developed. If you wanna destroy public property like damns and grids do it the legal way, don't destroy the community because you disagree with it.
 

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