Daniel Sinclair @_DanielSinclair Building for young people. Not reading @danielsunread. Lurking behind likes and thinking about social media, communication, & China. Oct. 10, 2019 2 min read

"The place that helped make the Internet the center of our lives may have to live offline... AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile said the shutdowns could interrupt service... Some people had lost cell coverage as of Wednesday evening"  https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Northern-California-blackouts-may-mean-mobile-14505312.php 

"Tesla [sent] out an in-car alert to the dashboard display warning owners to charge their vehicles fully ahead of the outage... [They are also] activating the 'Storm Watch' feature on its PowerWall to store excess electricity before things go dark."  https://www.fastcompany.com/90415333/tesla-owners-in-california-get-a-warning-to-charge-their-cars-before-the-power-goes-out 

Solar will never meet energy demands alone, but The Purge happening in California right now — which is really just PG&E's lawyered-up theatrics to gain immunity from the state — will be the largest test of micro-grid resiliency ever.  https://www.fastcompany.com/90415303/to-keep-the-lights-on-during-californias-blackouts-people-are-using-solar-power 

By next year, all new-built homes in California will have a solar mandate. Given the framing that these blackouts will become the new normal, a seasonal escapade like a hurricane season, California homes will likely be built & wired differently as a result  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/09/business/energy-environment/california-solar-power.html 

Storm Watch is a really neat leading indicator of what a forced smart-grid adoption looks like. We are still in the early phases of batteries, largely because EVs will gain priority; cells in cars today will live out more years in the grid, after recycling  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-08-03/a-deluge-of-batteries-is-about-to-rewire-the-power-grid 

This debacle will also highlight just how problematic the 'dumb' grid is right now. A lot of those residential panels might have problematic installations that allow them to back-feed into the grid post-outage — and so many dummies are about to plug generators into the grid too.

One of the bureaucratic failures that will make you want to scream is the inspection mandates. After these lines go cold, every single one needs to be visually inspected before a reboot. That means helicopters buzzing around & feet on the ground everywhere  https://www.sfgate.com/california-wildfires/article/why-pge-outage-lasts-so-long-wildfire-14501389.php 

There is some adoption of drones for inspection, largely led by DJI & China, but for the most part: this is fieldwork with Mosquito and Bell helicopters flying around with dudes dangling from them. Autonomous drones & smart inverters are the future there.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj5ByZKVNao 

They call them Helicopter Linemen, and it is one hell of a job. Because of the nature of a shutdown, these guys will be out in the field endangering their lives, all because of this game of chicken with the state, and the country's broad failure to climate adapt infrastructure.

Some of the lines they discover will likely need repair, and understanding that process will turn you into a doomsday prepper. Replacement pole transformers obviously need to be built, & we're not that great at that anymore, but then they have to be tested & inspected too.

Most countries don't actually have any reserves of transformers, nor the local supply chains to build them. DHS is still supposedly trying to create one, but it wouldn't be nearly enough to restore the grid when the inevitable global events & wars happen.  https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/space/how-we-ll-safeguard-earth-solar-storm-catastrophe-n760021 

We should hope the flood of second-life lithium ion cells and hashtag IOT shows up quickly I guess?


You can follow @_DanielSinclair.



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