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Thread: Future infrastructure for residential electric service?

  1. #31
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    Are their publicly traded companies that manufacture a lot of high tension cables? In searching online, it's surprising (to me) to find so many privately owned ones.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Garson View Post
    And the guy making the decisions today is trying to maximize profit so he can get his annual bonus, he'll be long gone in twenty years when the sh*t hits the fan.
    True, and that is bad enough, but it's when government does this with critical infrastructure (roads, bridges, rail, etc) that it's completely reprehensible. Just passing the cost down to the next generation.
    ~mike

    happy in my mud hut

  3. #33
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    I have worked at four PWR's and one BWR reactor plants during both construction and operational phases. I also worked on the replacement steam generators for the Enterprise Aircraft Carrier when the first set of sixteen were replaced. What most people don't understand is the the BWR reactors send radioactive steam from the reactor directly to the steam turbans as Monte referenced above. The US Navy does not use BWR reactors simply because humans cannot live on a ship that has such a radiologically dirty system. I also worked at Surry Power Station (PWR) when we did the first civilian steam generator replacement project and we had plenty of radiation exposure to deal with even though Surry was a PWR. Those who do not know, a Steam Generator is a very big, very expensive dual flow liquid radiator that keeps the radioactive water inside the reactor containment building so that no radioactive material is used in the exterior buildings. There are minor exceptions for systems that are in the auxillary building, mostly systems that filter radioactive waste.

    In the early days of nuclear construction projects we made a lot of mistakes that were costly in time and money. Mostly because we were all new to the business and we had no experience building power plants that didn't use coal or oil. The same learning curve would apply once more should we start building nuclear plants again, almost every person who worked in the industry is long gone so we will surely repeat the same mistakes again over the first ten to twenty years. Honestly I doubt we will ever see another nuclear power plant under constrution again, at todays prices the cost would be astronomical times ten.

    My very experienced engineering friends who know more about power production and operation told me in the 1980's that hydrogen is the fuel of the future. I still believe that its true although I have no expertise to prove the statement. I do believe that the government is intentionally standing in the way of our conversion to hydrogen power mostly for political reasons.
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 09-15-2023 at 12:45 PM.

  4. #34
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    I think the problem with hydrogen as a fuel is it is not a naturally occurring substance in sufficient quantities to be a major fuel source. Thereís virtually no pure hydrogen on Earth because itís so reactive. Most hydrogen is made from methane [natural gas] in a process that produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Hydrogen can also be made from water using electrolysis, but that requires electrical energy. Unless the electrical energy used to produce hydrogen is green, ie wind or solar etc. then hydrogen is not considered green. In a way hydrogen is more like a battery than a fuel, it takes energy to produce (like charging a battery) then you consume it in a fuel cell or combustion engine (like discharging a battery). I think Toyota is the only major car manufacturer that are seriously looking at hydrogen as a fuel source. Here in Vancouver Ballard Power Systems have been in the hydrogen fuel cell business since the 1980's. I think they are profitable but the fuel cell market for transportation has not really taken off as many expected compared to battery powered EVs. I don't think politics has much to do with it.

  5. #35
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    Actually... the neighboring utility is building a hydrogen plant literally right across the road from the hydro dam I work at. They're playing pretty tight to the vest as to the specifics, but my understanding is that they intend to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, similar to what we did in the Navy on submarines, but on a much, much larger scale. That, and where we kept the O2 and disposed of the hydrogen, they'll presumably be keeping both (i'm guessing). Supposedly they're primarily targeting supplying fleet vehicles, which I wasn't really aware there was a pre-existing market for - but again, I'm just seeing the fringes of what they have going on.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    True, and that is bad enough, but it's when government does this with critical infrastructure (roads, bridges, rail, etc) that it's completely reprehensible. Just passing the cost down to the next generation.
    Yes, that's what the voters want - low taxes, so we can complain later.
    Hobbyist

  7. #37
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    I frankly believe that the standard (a minimum by code at this point) 200 amp residential service will be adequate to support both home needs and electric vehicle charging. Why? It's a combination of the things we use in our homes have become more and more efficient electrically and the bigger part of electric vehicle charging is going to be overnight for most folks while they are sleeping. Those overnight hours typically have lower consumption from other household loads and it balances out. I have 400 amp/320 amp meter service to our home, but it's split 50/50 with the house and my shop. The house does fine and our electric bills have been a third to half what we were experiencing at our old property. Here, we're all electric. There we were electric plus natural gas with the electric split done the same way, but pumping septic and running two large HVAC systems. The bills I'm mentioning are just relative to electric. All the lighting here is LED, the appliances are all new and efficient, and the HVAC system is more efficient than the slightly older ones at the previous house.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Calow View Post
    Yes, that's what the voters want - low taxes, so we can complain later.
    I think the goal is simply to die before it's a problem. Because it's gonna be a problem.
    ~mike

    happy in my mud hut

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Monte Milanuk View Post
    Supposedly they're primarily targeting supplying fleet vehicles, which I wasn't really aware there was a pre-existing market for - but again, I'm just seeing the fringes of what they have going on.
    Fleets are great test beds for all kinds of tech, from engines to suspension. tires and on and on.
    Out here in CA, just about every fleet in involved in some form of testing, some hydrogen.
    https://www.globalfleet.com/en/techn...ydrogen&curl=1
    https://www.greenfleetmagazine.com/1...lectric-trucks
    https://afdc.energy.gov/states/ca

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Outten View Post
    ... Honestly I doubt we will ever see another nuclear power plant under construction again

    ...conversion to hydrogen...
    Agreed. (Whispered) I doubt our SMR study will ever come to fruition, but I find it intriguing nonetheless - and a huge black eye for today's electric providers.

    Hydrogen comes with its own basket of 'deplorableness' (mostly re: storage & transportation), but we will be making a lot of it (blue H2). The waste CO2 will be sequestered onsite (or at least close-by). The US government's H2 pricing structure makes this a no-brainer (your tax $ at work!).

    For transportation, my money is on bio-fuels.

    For electrical power generation, NG still has a long life. All the old EV batteries on the planet are no match for a good peaker plant; the equivalent PV cells are decades away. And need sunshine.

  11. #41
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    I think a new nuke is coming online in Georgia this year. It can be done if the money isothere.
    Hobbyist

  12. #42
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    My old neighbor was a retired electrcal engineer who worked for several big utility companies. He started after a stint in the sea bees in ww2. In his day calculations were done on slide rules. So he always rounded up loads to determine mainline high voltage supply lines. He said they then added 20% for future growth.
    Working in San Jose in the 1960-70's they just kept ahead of the silicon valley electrical demands.
    Bill D

  13. #43
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    One thing I think we will see is some kind of smart breaker system. My last house had a 100 amp service, about 2400sqft with 5 bedrooms, and the incoming main was buried under the paved street with the last transformer or switchbox in my across the street neighbor's front yard.

    To run an EV in that house, I would have to charge the vehicle after everyone went to bed for the night. However, if my cook stove and clothes dryer had some kind of smart breaker on them that could tell the EV smart charger "I am going to draw startup current in 50 microseconds," then the EV charger could let up on current draw until the cookstove/ clothes dryer settled down to run current draw.

    I dunno how many billions of $ of copper we have underground for the grid already, but we are going to have to work with what we got.

  14. #44
    Many places in the country also have time of day rates. No one is charging their cars during this time then, so everyone is charging at the same time, overnight.
    Out here in sunny CA, in the summer, AC runs all day and cars charge all night. It doesn't matter if everything you own is energy smart, the grid will be overwhelmed. It's just not ready to handle the amount of electric cars coming. We already have more than any other state by a wide margin.
    It's not a problem just yet but without generating your own electric through solar, it could lead to issues in the near future.
    JMO

  15. #45
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    I was told that hydrogen fuel can be produced at your home using one solar panel that would provide all of your home and transportation energy needs. The problem is political not physical. The government and big energy companies do not want us to have that capability. Sounds crazy I know but about ten years ago Honda was advertising a new car that came with a hydrogen generator that was capable of providing all the energy one home needed. Honda had a TV commercial but it ran for only a couple of days and the government shut it down. A bunch of guys where I worked were pretty excited about the concept and got pretty mad when it disappeared. Hydrogen gas flashed from a liquid would require a very substantial fuel tank that the government will never approve for the highways.
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 09-16-2023 at 1:05 PM.

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