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#147035 - 11/24/01 02:31 PM California's Surplus Power
sparky66wv Offline

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2334
Loc: West Virginia
Go here :

Hunh? If there's too much, where do they "store" it?

I'm baffled?!?!


Arc Flash PPE Clothing, LOTO & Insulated Tools
#147036 - 11/24/01 05:21 PM Re: California's Surplus Power
Nick Offline

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 603
Loc: Riverside, CA
Not enough and we pay through the nose. Too much and we still have to pay a fortune. I don’t get it. About this time last year we were facing “shortages.” Now we suddenly have a huge surplus? What has changed. A few peaker plants were completed. They are not near enough to fix the “ problem” we had last year. They are really playing games and I’m sure someone is getting rich. The big money folks are just finding more and more ways to stick it to the consumer.

#147037 - 11/24/01 10:59 PM Re: California's Surplus Power
sparky66wv Offline

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2334
Loc: West Virginia
To further explain my question:

Bath County Pumped Storage Project is not too far from here... Always sounded like a scam to me... Perpetual motion... Assuming 0 mechanical and electrical resistance, and 100% efficiency, they'll break even in power at best...

Back Creek is an ankle soaking wade across at about 12 feet wide... Little Back Creek isn't much more than a ditch... Not exactly a hydro-electric feed...

It's built largely in sandstone, and requires regrouting of the tunnels every few years. I've had several friends work there that say they only work 7-12 hour shifts... (why not 3 8's? plenty of willing workers!)

Millions of dollars have been literally pumped into this contraption...

I do understand the pumping/storage at night to be generated during the peak day hours, but there's got to be some loss there...

Does CA have similar storage facilities?

I have always felt that the PoCo should have built it 30 miles NW on the Greenbrier River and provide "free" power as well as flood control for the towns of Marlinton, Ronceverte, and Alderson, WV.

But then again, I'm no EE...

[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 11-25-2001).]

#147038 - 11/24/01 11:57 PM Re: California's Surplus Power
Scott35 Offline

Broom Pusher and

Registered: 10/19/00
Posts: 2724
Loc: Anaheim, CA. USA
Well, to me that was easy to see coming!
California is building more power plants than needed for normal demands, just so there will be enough available MegaWatt Hours during peak demand times - like Summer months.

To allow for "Ready Kilowatt" to be at demand, all power plants will need to be up and functioning 24/7 - 365! [every day, all year!].

Since there's going to be a huge surplus of power, it will be sold off at "Fair Market Value" to power companies within the grids.

What would really be funny is if the Deregulated private power generating companies who caused California to have such a power problem, would themselves be in a situation where they couldn't produce the demand power - and had to buy from multi producers [like California] at the market value of that period.
If they have a low supply, the market value of MWHs will rise. Since they need the power, they will have to pay the inflated price!

The tables will be turned - now those power suppliers will have to pay tons of cash, cut power to random users [the good old rolling blackouts], place restrictions on customers [surcharges, consumption cuts, multilevel power cuts, etc.], and in the long run - feel the pain of Bankruptcy!

Kharma will have done it's job!

I have many issues on this entire power crisis situation!!!
It pi**es me off to the extreme!

Sorry for the tizzy tantrum

Scott SET
Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

#147039 - 11/25/01 08:26 PM Re: California's Surplus Power
sparky66wv Offline

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2334
Loc: West Virginia
I'm trying to visualize this...

Generating plants actually make more power than the load demands require?

Consider this:
A gas powered genny (5000 Va)supplies power for my drill and the other guys saws. It uses more gas as the power tools are used more, and less if not. However, enter in the chargers for cordless tools, they draw on the genny too, storing some of the "extra power" available (but not used if they weren't plugged in)...

How does this relate to the macro? Where do they store the surplus? How do they send it out to where it is needed?


#147040 - 11/26/01 02:08 PM Re: California's Surplus Power
ElectricAL Offline

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 615
Loc: Minneapolis, MN USA
Hey 66,

Interesting question. I used to try to find the perpetual motion notion in these setups, but am still looking. Still waiting for the motherload to be delivered. . .

For the hydro based pumped storage, the "excess" power is stored as water that isn't allowed to go through the generators, i.e., the water is left in the upper lake.

Here. Think of this in component parts. The Load (all the homes and businesses), the Generator (just the generator), the Turning Thingee (the thing that spins the generator) and the Energy Supply used to make the Turning Thingee turn.

The goal of the PoCo is to keep any one Generator spinning at exactly the same RPM all the time so that the 60 HZ frequency of the generated electricity stays rock steady. Valves or carburetors regulate the amount of the Energy Supply used at any instant in time to power the Turning Thingee to exactly match the turning push needed by the Generator to keep its RPM steady.

The thing that's easy to forget with macro generators is that they act just like the little one at the construction site. When I turn on my drill, the generator loads down the motor and the carb governor gooses the motor and the generator stabilizes on the correct RPM. -- At home (on the grid) when I turn on the light, the same thing happens. . .it's just that the generator is so huge that its large inertia makes my light's load seem like it has no effect. But turning on my light does slow the macro generator, and, if the RPM governor controlling the valve or carb is good enough, it will adjust the amount from the Energy Supply just enough so the Turning Thingee will keep the Generator rock steady at 60 HZ.

Any Generator has a maximum output beyond which it will hurt itself, same with the Turning Thingee. So the valve or carb only let in Energy Supply up to "the Max" and no more. Don't want to break the machine.

Lots of energy is lost, wasted, before going out of the Generator as electricity. The small construction genset loses are representative of the Macro. . .the exhaust gas heat, bearing and piston frictions, incomplete combustion, generator bearing friction, windage, hysteresis of the core and impedance in the wires. Normal generation efficiencies at the PoCo level are 20% electricity, 80% waste. There are schemes like using waste heat for the community that improve the efficiency some.

Last, the size of the construction genset is like the Macro. If I use a large 5 KW tool just a few times a year and the rest of the year I use small tools that together total to 2 KW and I buy the generator for the large 5 KW load, then most of the year I waste the ability of the generator while I wear out the Turning Thingee (the engine). As you suggest, Virgil, charging batteries stores energy and is kind of like the Pumped Storage. The motors that pump the water uphill introduce an additional loss of energy, but the cost of pumping verses the cost of running a powerplant big enough to handle the peak demand makes the pumping economically worth while.
Al Hildenbrand


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