27 Sep 2016

The Coming Financial Storms

Lara-Murphy Show 9 Comments

Sorry for the technical problems last night; I realized I took down my post without telling you guys what happened. It’s a long story but we were all set way ahead of time, our tech guys were testing everything, it all worked perfectly and then, when we were about to “go live”…it just didn’t work. The video that the user would have seen was unacceptably choppy. Still trying to figure out what happened.

In any event, here’s the video presentation:

9 Responses to “The Coming Financial Storms”

  1. guest says:

    How to weather the coming financial storms?

    You Get To Higher Ground, that’s how.

    You weather it in style by Getting To Higher Ground in Multitrack.

  2. Tel says:

    Since we are getting into prepper territory here, take note of Adelaide last night.

    As background: they have been moving extensively over to wind and solar power, while shutting down coal power stations and there’s an interconnect link going from Adelaide into Victoria where they can pull power from the neighbouring state if they need it (which happens often because the wind is unpredictable). So Victorian power is mostly driven by brown coal and they have scheduled to also shut down one of their major generators. In turn I’m sure the Victorian power will end up needing to borrow from New South Wales (also coal fired) when the time comes. All of this while regulations in Australia make it impossible to build any new hi-tech coal power stations and the ones we are running are decades old.

    There has been work on a second interlink between Adelaide and Victoria as a redundancy for the first interlink, but that’s not finished yet.

    Well, yesterday there was a storm in the Great Australian Bite which just barely achieved Cat-1 cyclone status with winds of 120 kph (75 mph). That’s a bigger than average wind but any city infrastructure should handle that easily. The windmills have to shut down because it’s higher than their rated wind, and turns out a bunch of pylon towers were pushed over. Without any redundancy the whole city of Adelaide went dark (estimate 200,000 premises without power). Kind of serious if you are stuck in a lift between floors.

    They are still cleaning it up today, so guess we can keep an eye on reports about how it went.

    A lot of cranky people asking whether this stuff really works.

    • guest says:

      lol. You called it a “lift”.


      • Tel says:

        elevator, whatever. It’s hard enough translating measurement units over to an American blog.

        By the way, turns out the entire state of South Australia was offline for the afternoon and part of the evening. During the transport peak the electric trains were stationary.


        Come to think of it, the banking system and the electrical grid have a lot of similarities: highly interconnected systems, geographically distributed, some elements are very stable (e.g. spinning coal fired reserve) while other elements unstable. Many secondary consequences when they fail.

        • guest says:

          Sorry to hear that. And just when you guys are trying to recover from the greenie policies.

        • Scott says:

          I think guest was making a joke — not much of a ‘lift’ without power.

          More like a ‘stationary.’

          Hopefully not a ‘free-fall.’

    • Harold says:

      The experts are saying that the energy mix made no difference. There would still have been a blackout if the coal powered stations had still been there.

      • Tel says:

        Which experts say that ?

        There was (until recently) a big coal fired plant at Port Augusta, you can see it in this video:

        As a consequence the power has been dead at the Whyalla steel works ever since the storm, seems like you need electricity to run a steel works, so the entire place is shut down. Instead of Arrium being in receivership but still running a business they are now losing $4 million per day with a cold blast furnace plugged with solid iron (at least a week’s work to strip it clean before it can be restarted). I would guess their coke ovens need new refractory linings too (that’s normal when a coke oven cools off). This will continue for some time to come… economically Arrium will be a write-off unless they get yet another government bail-out (and South Australia can’t afford that so it will become a Federal bailout).

        The Port Augusta power (if it had been operational) could easily have supplied those towns on the north end of Spencer Gulf including the Whyalla steel works, so that’s just the start of the incompetence.

        I could go on to talk about the further incompetence of having two redundant links into Victoria but only one of them working, but you have to ask yourself why the entire state is so very dependent on a neighbouring state for power? Oh yeah, it’s because wind power is fundamentally unreliable. If the spent the same money building modern coal plant, they could have easily been self sufficient for energy.

        Then there’s the problem that they use AC links, which must be synchronous at all times, and a certain percentage of baseload spinning reserve is required as a stabilizer. Yeah, that’s right, the links are pretty much useless unless you have some heavy coal plant spinning away operating as a flywheel in order to make these systems stable.

        Try finding an actual expert who knows something about how power grids operate.

  3. Tel says:

    Just a review of the old topic of what happens with no electricity.


    * Most communications gone (mobile towers only have limited battery backup).

    * Electronic transactions cannot process (credit cards, EFTPOS, etc) many stores cannot trade.

    * Generators require fuel, most people only keep small reserves at home.

    * Fuel is not available because pumps require electricity, no manual fallback. Also no transactions.

    * Refrigeration is expensive to operate so cold goods are first to be unavailable.

    * Most useful items are gone from shops within 48 hours.

    * In that area households have water tanks, but would be much worse for other areas were tanks not allowed.

    Note that the person describing this “Bart D” lives in the North of the state and would have been powered by the Port Augusta coal plant, if it had not been demolished (see video URL above). Without this plant, Bart is depending on the very long leg that ultimately links right back to brown coal plants in Victoria (Bart estimates the distance at 1600km or 1000 miles) so it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that transporting electricity over very long distances must increase the risk of a line failure somewhere along that link (and presumably also increase transmission loss).

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