Skip to comments.Lights out: House plan would protect nation's electricity from solar flare, nuclear bomb
Posted on 06/20/2013 7:49:53 AM PDT by LSUfan
Amid growing fears of a massive electromagnetic pulse hit from either a solar flare or a terrorist nuclear bomb, House Republicans on Tuesday will unveil a plan to save the nation's electric grid from an attack that could mean lights out for 300 million Americans.
Dubbed the Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act, the legislation would push the federal government to install grid-saving devices such as surge protectors to protect against an attack.
"It is critical that we protect our major transformers from cascading destruction. The Shield Act encourages industry to develop standards necessary to protect our electric infrastructure against both natural and man-made EMP events," said Rep. Trent Franks, the Arizona Republican who is offering up the bipartisan bill.
Electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, has come into focus because of fears the sun is pushing out unusually big solar flares that can disrupt the electric grid. Defense officials are also worried about a terrorist attack, possibly in the form of a small nuclear bomb exploded overhead.
"This is serious stuff," said former Pentagon official Frank Gaffney, who heads the Center for Security Policy. But, he added, there is a growing bipartisan consensus to protect the electric grid.
Any EMP attack could be damaging, said Gaffney. He cited a new Lloyds of London report that determined that the area from Washington, D.C., to New York could be without electricity for up to two years in a major solar flare-up.
The legislation will be introduced Tuesday by Franks and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at a meeting of the House EMP Caucus. Officials said that the legislation, provided in advance to Secrets, will include information from a recent EMP commission report that "contemporary U.S. society is not structured, nor does it have the means, to provide for the needs of nearly 300 million Americans without electricity.''
Gaffney told Secrets that there are some 300 huge electric transformers around the nation that control the grid and that have to be protected. "You are basically talking about surge protectors, of a somewhat exotic kind, but it is a means of interrupting the pulse," he said.
.......................do you believe that the various us companies here have the ability and capacity to replace a large number of large andmid-size transformers within a couplemonths if we have a major emp incident?..............
But first they will need to replace all their equipment that runs on electricity, all their computers and test equipment, all their communications gear, the equipment from their suppliers, the trucks or trains that will carry the transformers to the site, and arrange somehow to get their starving workforce to the plant, maybe on horse drawn buggys.
“You are missing the point that it takes a heck of a lot more than restoring the grid to restoring the gasoline supply.”
I’m not missing the point - I should have stated that sentence to include the refining plants repairs:
“when the grid is finally fixed and refining plants repaired, the cars and trucks wont be dead pieces of junk”
I lived around NASA in the Clear Lake area for over sixteen years and a family member worked in the Texas City refining business. I truly do know how vital that area is to refining oil.
I think those urging their congressmen to do something about this don’t understand.
you are assuming nothing nexessary for repairs will be working. that’s not a good assumption. far too little will probably not be working, but some of everything probably will.
Probably right. But having extra units around to be swapped in, when needed, that does save time in this one area, as you say it can take a long time to build large transformers, so if that part isn’t one extra problem to solve then, they can focus on the rest of the problems that will certainly need fixing.
With a VFD you can do the same job with a smaller motor simply because it doesn't have to be sized for startup loads.
Motors can have a much lower efficiency outside their rated design point.
Precisely my point. The power factor losses for which a capacitor is meant to compensate are only an estimate of load. A VFD can adjust for same much more accurately in real time.
Honestly, if such an event occurs, that in a major portion of the US destroyed nearly every non-hardened electrical device, we would have a lot bigger problems than gasoline.
Picture the Eastern seaboard without a working refrigerator, microwave, oven and stove. Now add in every grocery store unable to refrigerate, sell, or order food. And all restaurants cannot function.
Now add none of the water pumps work.
Would it really be much different than a Zombie Apocalypse at that point?
Good, you're the number one man to single handedly save all those plants when you know an EMP is coming or North Korea calls you that those plants are soon to be toast. :o)
BTW, with costs for electricity as high as they are in California, we have much more incentive to invest in even small power savings than in Texas for example.
“Any information in your research on the transmission of such an event through the DC ties?”
Explain to me what you mean by that.
That didn't make any sense to me. And I've sized a lot of motors for process applications.
Pumps develop most of their load under mass flow. Fans develop most of their load as they come up to full speed. A VFD can adjust for same much more accurately in real time.
In a throttling type application, with a varying process, that is quite true. But in steady state applications, the pump/motor are select for 100% run speed and a VFD would only add losses at that point. That is why efficient applications that do vary, and come up to full speed for long times include VFD bypasses.
It would surely be a Zombie Apocalypse. Add to that the death of most people in hospitals.
That is one of the reasons why I am a prepper. My standard of living will still go on if power goes down here.
One surge protector, no.
Having a surge protector on each house's incoming line, that would primarily guard against lightning surge, wouldn't hurt.
Ercot is not electrically isolated from the other grids. The ties are AC-DC-AC so that the systems are not synchronized and stability of one system doesn’t affect the other.
But the electrical connections are constant through the DC ties. The switches are not left open, they are kept closed to help stabilize power flow through an asynchronous connection. At different times of the day, power may flow one way or another, but the legal requirements require a balance of flow to/from, I think averaged over 24 hours.
I’ll be loading the guns and ammo on my horse and headed to the Lake.
“Ill be loading the guns and ammo on my horse and headed to the Lake. Good Luck!”
Hmm, that could be Lake Houston, Conroe Lake, or Lake Livingston, maybe.
I’ll lock my front door, and we can get in touch afterward.
Farther travel. Our future retirement will be on Toledo Bend. It is rather isolated, and not connected to the grid. Of course today, there is darn little there to connect.
Well if Barry gets his way we won’t need protection. As far as I know candles are impervious to EMP. :-)
“Can you point me to a decent technical evaluation that makes such a claim? I don’t believe that amount would make any significant difference.”
Just Google it. This issue has been fairly widely reported. There are several studies and article about it readily available online.