Monday, October 14, 2019

California's main electrical utility is now cutting power to millions of customers. The reason is, due to years of poor maintenance, they are worried about the power lines starting forest fires. Rather than do maintenance, they simply shut down when winds are high.

One of the interesting things to come out of this is that a lot of people who went all in on residential solar power are finding that it does them no good in an outage. Most of the solar systems are connected to the grid and do not have local storage. When the grid is down, so is the homeowner's residential system.

Kind of like what we found out about our windmills 2 years ago. Unless they have grid power for energization, they cannot generate enough power on their own to light a flashlight.

Speaking of windmills, the Naguabo wind farm is still dead. There seem to be no plans whatever to repair it. All the money in windmills seems to be in building them, not actually operating them.

Another scam on us long-suffering taxpayers.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

22m PREPA Customers without light/ MWs of power on pier 4

In a recent Caribbean Business article

Reporter Eva Llorens Velez says:

"Some of the senators noted that if Puerto Rico wants to be resilient and produce 30% of the energy with renewable sources, system redundancy must be in place. Bruce Walker, the assistant secretary of the U.S. Energy Department’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, spoke at length about strategies to make the grid more resilient."

I find that most of the time "renewable" is code for solar and wind, although there are other renewable alternatives (nuclear, landfill gas, OTEC, waste to energy, cogeneration, to name a few).

Getting people to switch from electric to propane for cooking, water heating and clothes drying would save a lot of energy each year even though propane may not be renewable.
I've posted enough on solar and wind that I won't go into why they are bad ideas again.

Whatever else they are and are not, they are NOT resilient. Not in the face of a hurricane. 

Yes, we need reliable, resilient, power. Yes, we need the power distributed around the island. It is ridiculous that Fajardo gets its power from Peñuelas. Not just for resiliency but for the cost of transmitting that power all that distance. We need a large number of smaller, 100-500MW plants, perhaps even smaller than 100MW widely distributed.  

Many manufacturing plants would like to build microgrids and there is no reason why they can't do it safely and effectively. 

Except PREPA:

“We have not been able to do that in the past because typically Prepa protects its invoices. We are the biggest invoice. They may be concerned about this kind of threat,” he [Rodrigo Masses] said.

Longer term, I am hoping to see some of these small, package, nuclear power plants in PR in the next 5 years. Now that would be resilient AND renewable. They can put the first one in my backyard at Roosevelt Roads.  

I won't feel threatened at all. But perhaps that is because I know something about the safety of nuclear power.

Udate on Sta Isabel Windfarm

A week or two back I noted that, even though there seemed to be plenty of wind, the Sta Isabel windmills were not turning.

I drove past last night and most of them were spinning merrily around. 3-4 were stopped but the rest were running.

So perhaps they are undamaged and/or repaired after all.

John Henry

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Open Thread

This will be an open thread to discuss anything energy related in the comments.

Have at it!

PRASA Gennys

Forgot the picture of Luquillo

This is in Bo Fortuna

PRASA generator

Why does PRASA still have generators (and 24/7 guards) at pumping stations?

All three of these were running today and have been for months.

These are in rio grande, Luquillo and Fajardo.

Power has been restored at all 3 locations since jan/feb

Anybody know?

Monday, April 23, 2018

I was coming home from Ponce Wednesday and decided that rather than take the expressway as I normally so, I would drive up and around the coast.

I drove through Guayama and drove up close to the AES coal plant. There was some steam venting but, looking closely at the heat plume, or rather the lack of a plume, it appeared that the plant might have been offline.

I also drove close to the Aguirre plant. Again, a bit of steam venting but not much of a heat plume.

In Yabucoa, at least 2 of the 3 gas turbines were running and, from the plumes, running fairly hard. Ditto the 2 GTs in Ceiba.

Santa Isabel Windfarm

Thursday I drove past the Santa Isabel windfarm. As you can see from the flag, it seemed fairly windy. As you can see from the windmills, only 3 of the 30 or so were actually turning. I have no idea why. 

In a letter to the PR Energy Commission last year, the owners of the windmills said that there was no apparent storm damage but they could not be operated for two reasons:

1) The transmission lines were still down so they had no way to get the power into the grid. That seemed reasonable in October, not so reasonable today. 

2) The other reason, which took me aback, was that they cannot operate the windmills unless they can receive utility power to energize their generators. I can understand needing some power to energize controls, get the windmill pointed in the right direction and energize the generator coils. That would not seem like a lot of power and a relatively small diesel generator should be able to supply it.

One more reason the whole idea of using wind to generate utility scale electricity seems harder and harder for me to understand.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

A brief history of PREPA

Been meaning to post this for a while and not getting around to it.

This is a history of PREPA and its antecedents in the electric game. Interesting throughout.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

50mw factory nuclear generators

I've said before that I think we need to keep an open mind to nuclear power.

These modular nukes are built in a factory and erected onsite. Perhaps these or something like them is the key to acompact, hurricane proof and sustainable future.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Warehouse 5 fake news update

El nueva dia was on the warehouse 5 story right away and got it right. See my post below. The justice dept just issued their report.

There were no materials hidden in warehouse 5. It was fake news. I don't know who ginned it up or why but am happy to see it put to sleep.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Naguabo windmills update

The regional weekly Presencia has an update on the totally destroyed windfarm in Naguabo. The owners say they will rebuild as soon as they get the insurance money.

Me? I doubt it. I expect that 5 years from now the will still be unrepaired. A good thing too as their output is horribly overpriced. 18 cents vs 10-12 for guayama's coal fired and Penuelas' gas generated juice. Us long suffering prepa customers just can't afford it.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

PREPA Warehouse 5

A couple weeks ago there were reports about PREPA squirreling away parts and supplies in a Cataño warehouse. Big headlines: ARMED FEDERAL AGENTS RAID WAREHOUSE!!! and so forth.

Turns out that this was just more fake news. Yes, ARMED!!! federal agents did go to the warehouse but pretty much all federal agents are armed so there is nothing unusual about this. It does works as a headline to get people spun up, though.

El Nueva Dia went to investigate (Good for you, END, for doing your job properly) and here is what they found:

PREPA “Warehouse 5" was no secret

The public corporation attributes federal intervention to a communication problem

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 10:05 AM

However, the Director of Transmission and Distribution of PREPA, José Sepúlveda Aponte, showed this newspaper documents that prove that, shortly after the passage of hurricane María, crews from PREPA and from private companies hired by the public corporation, as well as the Corps of Engineers, started looking for materials at that warehouse.
"All the new metal (transmission) towers that have been installed came from warehouse 5. It is the only warehouse with that material," he said.

Between September and October, about 200 requests were made, mostly by PREPA crews, according to the logbook shown to this newspaper. There are also entries made by Whitefish and Cobra companies.

As of October 28, there are entries of private crews hired by the Corps of Engineers, such as one made by Flour-Pike on October 28 for works on line 36800 in Canóvanas. There is also an entry on November 11 for that same line.

Meanwhile, on November 18 a crew of the New York Power Authority, also subcontracted by the Corps of Engineers, appears. In another document he highlighted that Fluor was also in the warehouse in December, as well as Con Edison.

There was no information available about entries made after December.

Read the whole thing. My guess is that this was a political "SWATing" designed to gin up controversy. Much like the fake controversy that was ginned up over Whitefish.

Saturday, January 27, 2018