Puerto Rico’s power grid in ‘critical condition’; officials fear complete collapse

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
So it appears that Puerto Rico is not the only place with a serious power problem.

Reportedly the coal fired power plants in India only have about 4 days on average worth of coal available to them.

China apparently gets 70% of its power from coal fired plants and because of some kind of disagreement they're having with Australia which was their largest coal supplier, many of their coal fired power plants have run out of coal or are close to doing so and there are a lot of reports of blackouts around the country because there's not enough coal. Apparently in response to this problem the CCP is buying whatever coal it can wherever it can including trucking in coal from Mongolia. They have not yet lifted the ban on Australian coal but some Australian coal that had been impounded has been released.

It seems to me that most of the PV stuff is coming from China. You would think that if they were that desperate they would just keep it and plug it into their grid.
 

AC\DC

Senior Member
Location
Florence,Oregon,Lane
Occupation
EC
It seems to me that most of the PV stuff is coming from China. You would think that if they were that desperate they would just keep it and plug it into their grid.
Maybe they know there items they manufacture are garbage. I'll sell you crap but I won't use that crap :p . Not a crack on PV, everything that comes from China is trash.
Plus China gives two &%$%$ about pollution, and coals super cheap, and more relible in caparison.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
So it appears that Puerto Rico is not the only place with a serious power problem.

Reportedly the coal fired power plants in India only have about 4 days on average worth of coal available to them.

China apparently gets 70% of its power from coal fired plants and because of some kind of disagreement they're having with Australia which was their largest coal supplier, many of their coal fired power plants have run out of coal or are close to doing so and there are a lot of reports of blackouts around the country because there's not enough coal. Apparently in response to this problem the CCP is buying whatever coal it can wherever it can including trucking in coal from Mongolia. They have not yet lifted the ban on Australian coal but some Australian coal that had been impounded has been released.

It seems to me that most of the PV stuff is coming from China. You would think that if they were that desperate they would just keep it and plug it into their grid.
the amount of coal required for a power plant is mind blowing.
One train car that holds about 110-120 tons of coal last about 20 minutes in a power plant.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
There's about 20 million BTU in a ton of coal. Most thermal plants are about 33% efficient. That works out to about 2000 kw-hr of electricity per ton. I know none of these numbers are exact but as back of the envelope type calcs they are close enough.

One train car per twenty minutes is about a 700 megawatt power plant. That's a big coal plant.
 
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Jon456

Senior Member
Location
Colorado
It seems to me that most of the PV stuff is coming from China. You would think that if they were that desperate they would just keep it and plug it into their grid.
Because they know that PV (and wind) can only supplement (in small percentages), but never substitute for, primary power production like coal, gas, hydro, and nuclear.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
There's about 20 million BTU in a ton of coal. Most thermal plants are about 33% efficient. That works out to about 2000 kw-hr of electricity per ton. I know none of these numbers are exact but as back of the envelope type calcs they are close enough.

One train car per twenty minutes is about a 700 megawatt power plant. That's a big coal plant.
It is. There are several still around.
I believe both of SoCal Edison’s Mohave generators are about 800 each, or were.
I’m not sure if they have been retired yet or not.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
It is. There are several still around.
I believe both of SoCal Edison’s Mohave generators are about 800 each, or were.
I’m not sure if they have been retired yet or not.
I don't think I've ever been in a coal plant that big.

I was at one that had a machine that picked the rail cars full of coal upside down and dumped them. Only saw that one time pretty cool.
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
I don't think I've ever been in a coal plant that big.

I was at one that had a machine that picked the rail cars full of coal upside down and dumped them. Only saw that one time pretty cool.

I have been to #12 on the list to pick up a load of fly ash with a friend of mine years ago. They sell it to concrete companies as an additive to concrete.
 

GeorgeB

ElectroHydraulics engineer (retired)
Location
Greenville SC
Occupation
Retired
I believe both of SoCal Edison’s Mohave generators are about 800 each, or were.
I’m not sure if they have been retired yet or not.
@Hv&Lv, you don't have to travel far to see larger. Duke Energy's Belews Creek station is a 2 unit 2.24 GW station, each unit 1.12 GW. It's one of the top efficiency stations in the US with thermal efficiency in 2006 of 37.8%.

Each unit has separate HP/IP and LP turbine generators, the HP/IP at 3600 rpm, the LP at 1800 rpm. I don't recall the power split.

Duke emphasized efficiency in their station designs. Until Belews Creek, their Marshall station held highest efficiency ratings in the USA for almost every year IIRC. I worked for the "steam production" department from 1973-1978 and was in every operating and under construction coal, gas, and nuclear facility.
 

domnic

Senior Member
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
PUERTO RICO POWER GRID PROBLEM , IS WAY BEYOND THIS ELECTRICAL FORUM OR ANY OTHER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Hv&Lv

Senior Member
Location
-
Occupation
Engineer/Technician
@Hv&Lv, you don't have to travel far to see larger. Duke Energy's Belews Creek station is a 2 unit 2.24 GW station, each unit 1.12 GW. It's one of the top efficiency stations in the US with thermal efficiency in 2006 of 37.8%.

Each unit has separate HP/IP and LP turbine generators, the HP/IP at 3600 rpm, the LP at 1800 rpm. I don't recall the power split.

Duke emphasized efficiency in their station designs. Until Belews Creek, their Marshall station held highest efficiency ratings in the USA for almost every year IIRC. I worked for the "steam production" department from 1973-1978 and was in every operating and under construction coal, gas, and nuclear facility.
That’s the one I went to. It was #12..
😉
 

tortuga

Code Historian
Location
Oregon
Occupation
Electrical Design
PUERTO RICO POWER GRID PROBLEM , IS WAY BEYOND THIS ELECTRICAL FORUM OR ANY OTHER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Are you sure? Just from my occasional reading of this forum in this one thread so far we have a line up of experts:
  • synchro, petersonra and others are all experienced seasoned expert engineers
  • ggunn seasoned PV engineer with very large PV systems.
  • GeorgeB another expert engineer with experience in Hydraulics
  • AC\DC and Dennis are expert master electricians whom works in coastal areas.
  • Jon456, Fred B and hillbilly1 all seasoned electrician experts
  • Hv&Lv our resident expert lineman
  • electrofelon another PV expert and has experience in low cost 1500v - 2400V distribution.
Thats just the people in this thread, I bet if we had complete access to the distribution maps, specs on the existing generation plants and demand load information this team could come up with a workable plan.
Then fly this team out there and they could oversee the various projects.
 

Todd0x1

Senior Member
Location
CA
Because they know that PV (and wind) can only supplement (in small percentages), but never substitute for, primary power production like coal, gas, hydro, and nuclear.
If only our leaders understood the same. California just passed a law banning all new small gas engines in the near future. Yeah I can get a battery powered leaf blower but how the heck do I replace a 7k generator and can of gas with batteries?
 

tortuga

Code Historian
Location
Oregon
Occupation
Electrical Design
I am not sure any of us could actually fix it. The problems with pr, china, and India's electric systems are mostly political and not technical.
Probably the biggest technical hurdle is how to best design systems for places prone to extreme weather like that? I wonder if they are switching from overhead distribution to underground.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
Occupation
Field coordinator/ technical support
If only our leaders understood the same. California just passed a law banning all new small gas engines in the near future. Yeah I can get a battery powered leaf blower but how the heck do I replace a 7k generator and can of gas with batteries?
Solar panels. But if you don’t have the acreage, your sol!
 
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