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Idiocy from the WP inre the Indian grid collapse.. #206707 08/01/12 06:54 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
Tesla Offline OP
“An utter lack of grid discipline” and “a sheer lack of effective regulation” set the scene for the power crisis, said the Economic Times. “But mostly, the grid failure underscores the fact that politically powerful states can overdraw power from the grid with impunity.”

In India’s states, electricity is heavily subsidized, and distribution companies are mired in debt. Generation capacity has risen significantly in the past few years as private producers have set up power stations, but distribution companies are often too indebted to pay.

To make matters worse, up to 40 percent of the power that is generated is either stolen or leaks away from poorly insulated lines, thanks to decade of under-investment in the grid.


"...leaks away from poorly insulated lines..."

What cretin permitted those words to pass?


The Indian grid is effectively government owned -- with private elements only recently permitted -- and grudgingly at that.

The 'stolen' power is merely unbillable consumption -- typically power sent to the farmers and to crony capitalists -- both deemed essential voting blocs.


This is what happens when politicians gain control of the national grid: they ignore physics and economics.


That our national press can be that clueless WRT how electric power is 'lost' from the transmission system is very scary. It means that they'll run stories without cross checking with even ONE EE or EC.



Imagine the arcing that would occur if even 1% of the national output were 'bleeding off' of poorly insulated conductors. (!)

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Idiocy from the WP inre the Indian grid collapse.. [Re: Tesla] #206710 08/02/12 01:15 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 613
mikesh Offline
Certainly you are correct about primary distribution that leaking insulation would cause arcing in HV conductors but you forget that a large part of the distribution grid is secondary at 400 to 440 volts. I can attest there is a lot of insulation leakage there. Mostly the heating of the soil is load, not arcing faults. You really want to be careful where you walk in Delhi on a rainy day as i am told that the ground can tingle. From what I saw October of 2010 a lot of open (taped) splices on the ground. Regularly saw feeder and service conductors on the road for a foot or 2 before entering street distribution kiosks. Not uncommon to see the kiosks have been broken into and fuses and other metal bits have been stolen. Yes they are hemorrhaging electricity.

Re: Idiocy from the WP inre the Indian grid collapse.. [Re: mikesh] #206711 08/02/12 03:08 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Think of it as a look to OUR future.

Some time ago, a PoCo engineer made wrote a two-part article on 'how to ruin the electric business.' Even then it was clear that we were systematically going down the list. Maybe someone saved a link .... it's great reading.

The fact is, we've not been building nearly enough new capacity. Our current adminstration actually brags of all the old plants they've shut down. Utilities are unable to maintain, let alone improve, their infrastructure; only 'repair' costs are permitted.

This is too bad, because even in the 'godd old days' of the early 70's our PoCo's had significant "transmission losses."

Since then , PoCo's have greatly improved their line monitoring, which has allowed them to identify specific losses. With 'smart meters,' look for this bookkeeping to expand.

Soon, the PoCo will know what each pole pig is putting out - and be able to cross that to what they're billing. It will be interesting to see how much of the difference is caused by equipment problems and simple theft.

Don't expect the media to provide accurate information. Whether from honest ignorance or a deliberate desire to mis-inform, the media often isn't able to tell an artillery piece from a tank .... so I don't expect them to get anything technical right.

This mindset sees the PoCo as a 'vested interest,' the implication being that they're an unreliable source. Yet, the press releases of sundry "consumer advocates" are treated as Gospel, ignoring the agendas of these groups.

Re: Idiocy from the WP inre the Indian grid collapse.. [Re: Tesla] #206715 08/02/12 04:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
Tesla Offline OP

If you care -- the juice sent to India's farmers is generally NEVER metered.

Instead, that expense is picked up by the national government via subsidies to the power system operators -- which are, generally, government owned bodies at the 'state level.'

( These Indian states are as populous as major nations. )

Not withstanding lousy distribution practices -- it's the MASSIVE shunting of power to non-payers like farmers that explains the astounding 'lost' billings.

The fraction of energy lost in ground resistance is a total joke compared to the numbers discussed above.

Another massive problem -- across the 3rd world -- is out right meter by-passing theft. This is done with a wink, a nod and a corrupt pay-off by crony capitalists.

The nation as a whole is expected to pick up their tab. Once this gets rolling -- each and every businessman wants in -- lest he be left as the last idiot actually paying his power bill.

We see the same log-rolling/ go-along-to-get-along in our own commercial banking system where practices have become entirely corrupted by political mandates and competitive pressures.

Famously, in the Soviet era, the Communists never billed for power.

Neither did Saddam.

'Free' power seems to be a feature of despotic/ corrupt government -- across all forms.

For the last in weirdness: Greece is attempting to collect taxes via their power grid. (!) The result: thousands of electricians are running around bypassing meters all over that nation -- and utility revenues are crashing into the ground so fast that no other nation will lend money or juice to Greece.


In California electric power policy has been hijacked as a political hobby horse. So we now have kWhr priced as penalty taxation -- almost as bad as Greece -- with the marginal kWHr billed at an astounding $0.45 per!

This has absolutely no bearing on the actual cost of the power -- it's simply a punishment rate/ sumptuary tax on McMansions -- largely driven by the Hollywood Left!

Spain went down this very road -- and it broke their national economy and sent the government out of office. At this time their new government is trying to walk back that cat -- and climb out of a wall of ruin. One part of their solution: 21% VAT -- i.e. 21% sales tax on just about everything in sight. (!)


Wherever these schemes get rolling -- electricians lose their jobs/ careers.

As power rates go too high -- or utterly collapse -- there's no need for us -- or way to pay us.


Re: Idiocy from the WP inre the Indian grid collapse.. [Re: Tesla] #206720 08/02/12 08:00 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,233
HotLine1 Offline
IMHO, the biggest obstacle over here (NJ) is for the POCOs to obtain any/all of the approvals to do any upgrades. There is a transmission project (upgrade to 400+KV) thru the northern sections of the state. The approvals are 'almost'; after at least five years. I believe is is less than 100 miles, mostly along existing ROW, with 'taller' towers & monopoles.

With gen plants; nothing new is being talked about. We are loosing one nuke (Oyster Creek/Excelon) in <10 years with nothing new on the table.

Solar? PSE&G has 220k individual panels on utility poles throught their teratory, and solar 'farms' up & running, with more in the pipe. (5MW+) Wind? a few along the coast outside Atlantic City, talk about off shore wind farm, but a lot of NIMBY flak.

The PJM grid has held on so far this year; only time will tell.

Re: Idiocy from the WP inre the Indian grid collapse.. [Re: Tesla] #206723 08/02/12 10:36 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,569
gfretwell Offline
I hear the Dutch are rethinking their offshore wind farms. I understand it has been a maintenance nightmare. Owning a salt water boat, I am not surprised. Salt water is sudden death on anything with moving parts. You start finding out that even stainless steel is not all that "stainless".

Greg Fretwell
Re: Idiocy from the WP inre the Indian grid collapse.. [Re: Tesla] #206732 08/03/12 11:42 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
Tesla Offline OP
While I think that PV systems have their place -- and will be ever more economic as the methods advance -- I'm convinced that wind power is destined to be forever a niche source.

What cripples it is the absolutely extreme nature of wind energy. Engineering has to build for the worst, most intense winds... which are brutally strong. Having done that, there's no way to recover the over-engineered designs at any competitive power rate -- to include PV systems.

And then, windmills kill birds -- and self-destruct at rates that are kept hidden from the public. The truth is that windmills need immediate repair after any serious bird strike. They mess up rotor balance to the point of ruining the transmission -- the single most expensive item of the mill.

Further, every location with favorable characteristics is also a bird migration highway. The birds like the same winds that the mills do.

We can't live without birds. Without them we'll be overrun with insects and mice. It's not a pretty picture.


As for PV: it's a mistake to retail them. For overall system reliability PV needs to be integrated and distributed by the big bad power company.

Further, PV makes the most sense when it's ground mounted -- and no one is falling off the roof. That's no joke. The workman's compensation insurance for roofers is through the roof -- for just that reason. They're not burning themselves on tar.

Now that electrical contractors are clambering all over America's rooftops -- you can BANK on our workman's compensation insurance to absolutely explode. Roofer's rates are fantastically high -- like ten to twelve times the worst seen by electrical contractors.

And then, wait until the lawsuits breakout: now ECs will be sued for water damage and leaks. And just how will roofers attend to their warranties when an EC has been trooping all over their work?

Plainly, our trade is under reserving funds for the lawsuits awaiting in the near future.

PV out in the American Southwest has merit. Areas of New Mexico have cloudless days put near forever -- and at high altitude, too.

This is open, dry high desert -- typically Federal land -- large enough to power the entire nation with PV power if the price was right.

There are 3,097,600 sq-yds in a sq-mile...

At 15% conversion and, crudely, 1kWe-peak/ 1 sq-yd...

You get 464,640 kWe-peak / sq-mile...

Ten miles on a side = 100 sq-miles ...

One hundred miles on a side = 10,000 sq-miles

Or, crudely, 4,646,000,000 kWe; 4,646,000 mWe; 4,646 gWe...

A seriously big nuclear plant is 1.3 gWe...


Of course, nothing like such a scheme will ever be built. The calculations just show that New Mexico, alone, would never run out of collection area.
And it has the best collection statistics in the nation; high altitude collection beats sea level numbers.

Re: Idiocy from the WP inre the Indian grid collapse.. [Re: Tesla] #206733 08/04/12 11:21 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,569
gfretwell Offline
How much would be lost to I2R if you tried to move all that power east of the Mississippi?
The west already gets plenty of cheap hydro power.
That real; estate issue is still going to be a problem in the east and you do not have the great weather.
I am still waiting for a PV array salesman to pitch me a system that will pay back in my expected lifetime.

Greg Fretwell
Re: Idiocy from the WP inre the Indian grid collapse.. [Re: Tesla] #206737 08/04/12 02:51 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Before I try to put this thread back on track, I want to thank Tesla for sharing his cynicism in an area where press coverage often sounds like a middle-school cheerleader squad.

"Wind power! Sun Power! Go .....POWER!" laugh

Nevada has presented itself as the "Saudi Arabia of Solar Power." Indeed, the Nevada utility (NV Energy) produces quite a bit of power from 'green' sources.

One would think this progress would be welcomed by the green crowd; but it is not. Instead, NV Energy is continually castigated and opposed at every turn.

Part of the criticism is because the green advocates claim that the 'wrong' green energy is being used. There are active efforts underway to remove hydro-electric generators and "restore nature." (Bear in mind that many of these generating turbines would fit in the back of a pick-up truck, and sit alone atop a flume that catches mountain springs as the emerge from the rocks). NV Energy has also been castigated for having 'too much' geothermal power in it's "green" mix.

Proposals to build solar farms are opposed as being disruptive to the 'unspoiled' nature of the 'wilderness.'

These issues should make it clear that the problems are not technical ones. Nor are they the result of some 'big oil' or 'power company' conspiracy. Rather. the obstacles we face are purely political, driven by parties whose actions only make sense if you accept that their goal is the destruction of modern society. They don't care a whit about the cute little creatures.

This is why I say that India's quagmire is our future - if we let this silliness continue.

Re: Idiocy from the WP inre the Indian grid collapse.. [Re: renosteinke] #206740 08/04/12 11:00 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,379
Trumpy Offline
Please, folks, this thread was originally about India.
Could we keep this thread on topic?

Having been through India, I'd hazard a guess and say that the problem isn't really the poor distribution system, but the fact that so many of the users on that system are making illegal, un-metered connections to this system.

While I was over there, the figure of 29% of the total capacity of these grids are supplying "installations" that are not supposed to be connected to it.
Add to the fact that these connections are more than likely not fused at all, so any short circuit that happens has some pretty hideous results, namely fires and grid failures.

What should be happening here, is the authorities in charge of these grids, should be going around and lopping off any un-authorised connections, as this sort of thing is tantamount to theft.

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