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Half of India Without Electricity As Power Grid Crisis Deepens

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the india's-population-is-1.2-billion dept.

Power 413

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that a massive power breakdown has hit India for a second day running, leaving more than half the country without power as the northern and eastern grids have both collapsed. The breakdown has hit a large swathe of the country including Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan states in the north, and West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand in the east. Power cuts are a common occurrence in Indian cities because of a fundamental shortage of power and an aging grid. The chaos caused by such cuts has led to protests and unrest on the streets but the collapse of an entire grid is rare — the last time the northern grid failed was in 2001. India's demand for electricity has soared in recent years as its economy has grown but its power infrastructure has been unable to meet the growing needs. In the weeks leading up to the failure, extreme heat had caused power use to reach record levels in New Delhi and on July 30 a line feeding into the Agra-Bareilly transmission section, the 400-kV Bina-Gwalior line, tripped, triggering the collapse. The second grid collapse occurred on 31 July as the Northern, Eastern and North-Eastern power grids of India tripped/failed causing power blackout in 19 states across India. The crisis was allegedly triggered after four states — Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and UP — drew much more than their assigned share of power."

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413 comments

Wind Electricity (-1, Troll)

Doctor Matt (2697573) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827317)

The line feeding electricity to Agra-Bareilly transmission section (400-kV Bina Gwalior line) is in a bad condition. Engineers at Microsoft Research [microsoft.com] most likely have a solution to this, and it is wind power.

If people in India and around the world would use more local wind power this wouldn't happen.

Cheers, Dr. Matt

Re:Wind Electricity (5, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827345)

Is this another example of "all or nothing" attitude?

I use a bit of solar on my own house and I wish that I had a way to put up a wind turbine. They are great supplementary forms of power, but it seems like the attitude is that if they aren't perfect then they are worthless.

Re:Wind Electricity (1)

Doctor Matt (2697573) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827375)

In my honest opinion the best solution is to use combination of wind power and solar power. Then it's also unlikely that you don't get electricity. Save some of it to battery and voila off you go.

Still too limited!!! (5, Interesting)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827731)

My 'perfect' carbon neutral electricity source is 40% nuclear, 20% solar, 20% wind, and 20% hydro/geo/other.

20% solar is a 'perfect' fit for the average 50% increase in power demand during the day. 1.5(day) + 1(night) = 2.5 * 20% = .5. 40% nuclear gives you a good amount of stability, while the 20% wind doesn't make you strain too much if power demand happens to increase when the wind isn't blowing ideally. The remaining 20% is for peaking capability(which hydro is good at), and niche electrical providers where they're just the best answer for that spot.

Best yet, since you have a variety of sources, you're nicely diversified and not likely to be as screwed by unusual situations.

Re:Wind Electricity (5, Insightful)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827381)

It's not all or nothing. If a lot of people had some form of distributed power it would mean less has to be produced at a central location and then transmitted for long distances, thus easing the burden on the ageing infrastructure.

Re:Wind Electricity (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827445)

A few of them don't but in general black people suck.

Now from your armchair you can get all offended at how horrible that sounds. Fine and good. But you do agree with that. You, yes you, you sure do. Here's the test. You feel outraged I said blacks generally suck? Ok. Tell ya what. Why don't you go live where there are mass numbers of them. Say, Harlem or South Central. What's the matter? Don't want to be among them? Rather stay where you are, where you can walk outside without worrying about stray bullets from drive-bys?

Or maybe you would like it if lots and lots of blacks flooded into your area. After all, you disagree they suck so what's the problem. Right? Maybe you can put bars on your windows and get an alarm? Oh and do remember not to make eye contact. The gangsta types think it's a highly advanced form of aggression and they are known to get violent over it. Hey maybe you can try the ol' "hello neighbor, good to meet you" spiel on them. If you're lucky they will only take your wallet.

If you would not yourself move to Harlem and would not yourself stick around if Harlem moved to you, then just shut up. They suck and we both know it. Stop pretending they don't so you can prove how open-minded you are. Your hypocrisy is worse than any "racism".

Re:Wind Electricity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827529)

While I don't disagree with you I'd say your rant is in poor taste. Additionally you seem confused as to what it is we are talking about. BlackOUTS not Black people. Do try to stick with the group hmmm?

Re:Wind Electricity (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827571)

The reason most people would not move to these areas is due to the poverty not because the people there are black.

Re:Wind Electricity (1)

durrr (1316311) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827795)

Instead you'd end up with brown and blackouts all the time scattered over local regions due to the variability of wind, also enormous costs for building them to start with and then maintenance.

You could of course connect all the tiny wind-islands so they can pipe away their power to where it's needed.
At the cost of massively renovating and improving the entire grid, which would solve the current situation too.

So your solution is to spend the money that could solve the problem on something that would just improve the situation that arises due to the problem.

Re:Wind Electricity (3, Informative)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827655)

Wind and solar are fine as supplements in areas where you have room for panels and turbines. But I don't see them being a big help in densely-packed areas like India and Japan. For those areas you would still need to build plants far from the city, and that still means you need decent infrastructure.

Re:Wind Electricity (3, Interesting)

Kokuyo (549451) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827365)

Unless the wind decides to take a nap right about the moment when the sun tries to burn people to a crisp. You know, the reason you have to turn on air conditioning in the first place, because there's no wind to cool shit down.

Wind power is a nice bonus but I wouldn't rely on it powering anything of importance.

Localized LFTR reactors, on the other hand...

Re:Wind Electricity (2)

Doctor Matt (2697573) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827405)

Wind doesn't cool things down, it merely makes it feel colder. That's why air conditioners are much better than pure fans. They of course use more power too.

Re:Wind Electricity (0)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827467)

Air cooling is a method of dissipating heat and does cools things down or allows things to cool down. So I've no idea why it doesn't cool things down; but makes them feel colder. My understanding of Thermodynamics is limited to work heat heat work work heat ... look out of window for an hour.

Re:Wind Electricity (2)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827549)

I guess a heat wave in India in the summer doesn't leave a lot of cool air to make use of. Blowing 50c - 122f air about isn't going to feel cool anytime soon.

Re:Wind Electricity (2)

Bagels (676159) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827561)

My understanding is that wind exposure increases temperature change. If the air temperature is below your body temperature, wind will actually cool you down faster (hence the weather report's inclusion of a 'wind chill factor' during the winter months). That said, if it's warmer than your body temperature, exposure to wind will increase your body temperature, and in warm climates (like India) such temperatures are entirely possible.

Air cooling is almost always effective for devices like your computer's CPU/GPU as they're generally much warmer than air temperature.

Re:Wind Electricity (2)

ultranova (717540) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827883)

Wind causes sweat to evaporate faster, that's why it feels cool. It works whether the air is warmer or cooler than your body.

Re:Wind Electricity (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827477)

So your reactor no one has built and used is ok for important stuff but well developed and currently in use wind power is too much of a gamble for important uses?

I think we can all feel free to ignore your opinions on this topic based on that kind of nonsense.

Re:Wind Electricity (2)

Kokuyo (549451) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827605)

Oak Ridge ran a thorium reactor for several years.

Also I'd like to point out that you don't make your worldview look any more credible by being rude to those who don't share it.

Thorium reactors (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827787)

So your reactor no one has built and used is ok for important stuff but well developed and currently in use wind power is too much of a gamble for important uses?

Yeah, we aren't going to be depending on thorium reactors anytime soon, but I'd kind of like to see a manhattan type project, perhaps world wide with cooperation between India, China, France, Japan, and the United States to build 3-5 more or less identical test plants.

Unlike with ITER, we should be able to start designing a electric power producing LFTR reactor today.

Re:Wind Electricity (1)

tomhath (637240) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827421)

If people in India and around the world would use more local wind power this wouldn't happen.

Oh really? What makes you say that? Wind power absolutely requires a grid to handle the extra power when it's generating and supply power when it's not.

Re:Wind Electricity (0)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827673)

Since the link seems to go straight to the Microsoft Research front page, it's hard to say. I'd guess that it's something to do with using turbines to help maintain grid stability.

It's a good idea. While older turbines typically make a grid worse, using a doubly-fed induction generator and so presenting a big inductive load, modern ones with fully-rated power converters can produce reactive power on demand, making them a good tool for maintaining grid stability. What's really needed to make this happen is sort of standard interface between turbine control systems, which control the active power output of a turbine, and the grid operator's systems, which know how much active power is required.

Re:Wind Electricity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827537)

Forget all that.

From TFS " ... and an aging grid". I think that says it all. Solar power, wind power, whatever power, is useless without a proper distribution grid.

In fact, solar power and wind power are even more dependent on a well built powergrid than the traditional power sources.

Power in developing countries... (3, Insightful)

Bysshe (1330263) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827589)

This argument also counts for developed countries in a lot of cases as well:

Power is a commodity. This makes the cheapest provider of it the winner. Current technologies are such that coal is still (often by far) the cheapest source of power. In addition it is one of the few base-load options out there (others being biofuel, nuclear, hydoelectric). With these two features of coal, wind is often times too expensive an option for a country such as India and with an aging grid, the power fluctuations from other sources like wind and solar will often overwhelm the infrastructure.

Technology adoption is rarely the only barrier to a solution. Cost plays a major role and when you're subsistence-living you don't give a shit about whether coal will pollute your environment because you're more worried about where your next meal will come from.

Some will also argue that local power like wind requires less infrastructure. This isn't entirely true. You still need to run the wires from the local power station to the residences. You can save on long-distance transmission lines but considering you need those anyways for the base-load... that's a bit of a non argument.

In general, solar, wind etc are first world solutions where we have the option of paying a bit more to make up for the difference in costs involved in producing the cleaner and more local power and even then... these projects have a pretty high fail rate (Solar fields in Spain, Wind farms in Hawai'i).

Re:Power in developing countries... (4, Insightful)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827671)

Excluding externalized costs, yet, including them, no. Economics always sides with dumping the problem on someone else, that is, until that some one else gets angry enough to do something very uneconomical about it.

Re:Power in developing countries... (1)

Bysshe (1330263) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827803)

That's right. Its the same problem that we're all facing in the airline industry: China, Russia and US oppose European airline CO2 tax [bbc.co.uk].

I'd say tackle the problems in power generation, airlines, passenger cars, land and sea-freight and you've tackled pretty much the whole problem. This can be accomplished by regulating and the input (fuel). Of course the income made from these taxes should go to actually solving the problem then instead of random pet projects from politicians. Regardless, none of this solves India's current problem.

Re:Power in developing countries... (5, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827951)

Coal is only cheapest because it can externalize its waste disposal cost. If the Nuclear power plants were allowed to just dump their waste into the air that would bring down costs quite a bit.

The costs are comparable if clean air and medical costs for those impacted have a value.

Re:Wind Electricity (-1, Troll)

Teresita (982888) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827611)

Sure, all we need to do is put a wind turbine in front of the mouth of every greenie weenie with poor ice sight and collect the methane from all the enviros farting around.

Re:Wind Electricity (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827751)

Distributed generation does help unload transmission lines, while allowing for stabilization of supply across a broader region. Unfortunately though, it sounds like every aspect of India's grids are stressed to the point where your benefit to reliability with major wind farms might be very limited. (Environmental benefits are a separate matter.)

The other option is to parallel all the diesel generators in buildings to the grid. Assuming proper protective devices are provided, and that the reduction in air quality can be tolerated, this would also unload substations to restore their function.

But there are so many heads to this problem that it really takes addressing it on many different fronts. The US grid isn't in that much better shape.

lesson learned (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827319)

Don't manage your power grid using Windows Server 2008.

Re:lesson learned (-1, Troll)

Doctor Matt (2697573) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827343)

Actually, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 is extremely good OS, especially compared to 2003 version. There are some unplanned outages, but nothing that causes major concerns.

Re:lesson learned (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827699)

And don't outsource development of the control software to a bunch of smelly indiots.

Everyone's thinking it. (5, Funny)

Revotron (1115029) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827327)

"Dell Technical Support could not be reached for comments."

Re:Everyone's thinking it. (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827659)

It will actually be interesting to hear if any call centers that claimed Serious Redundancy And Stuff were a tad... optimistic... and will find customers going elsewhere in the near future.

It's not like backup power is total rocket surgery; but things that cost money all the time and only prove useful occasionally have a nasty habit of being neglected...

Re:Everyone's thinking it. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827689)

Meanwhile, Global Call Center Operations routed calls to Round Rock, Roseburg, Waco, Twin Falls, and Nashville. Customer satisfaction increased, even with longer wait times.

Extreme heat? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827329)

What extreme heat? Global warming isn't real! It's a government conspiracy, these electricity grid collapses are all a conspiracy! Catch the truth on Fox News at 6!

Meanwhile, over the border... (4, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827331)

Saw an interesting and partially-related piece yesterday about scheduled and unscheduled power-outages in neighbouring Pakistan [telegraph.co.uk] and the social unrest that can result from them.

We all know the old adage about a civilised society being just three missed meals away from barbarism. In the modern world, I wonder whether something similar could be said for the power supply. And might broadband ever fall into the same camp?

Re:Meanwhile, over the border... (-1)

Doctor Matt (2697573) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827387)

Actually, Microsoft Research has published many papers over this. One of them consist of using cloud computing as heating source [microsoft.com]. This is extremely good for something like the mountains of Pakistan where it can get a bit cold.

Re:Meanwhile, over the border... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827495)

Too bad the mountains of pakistan are a totally worthless place to put a data center.

Great (4, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827369)

Just great. Now how am I supposed to get my cell phone bill corrected?

Re:Great (-1, Offtopic)

Doctor Matt (2697573) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827437)

Microsoft Research has done publications on mobile phone enabled banking [microsoft.com]. Maybe that's the answer.

Re:Great (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827469)

That was an absolutely useless answer. Is that you, Bing?

Re:Great (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827493)

Doctor Matt seems to have created his account very recently. He also seems to have found and be very excited by an awful lot of things that Microsoft Research have been saying. One or two of these things are even relevant to this thread.

Not that I wish to suggest anything but... perhaps Doctor Matt might wish to consider whether he has any particular relationships with Microsoft that might usefully be disclosed? :)

Re:Great (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827565)

You sure do mention Microsoft a lot. You remind me of those evangelical christians, who just have to work Jesus into every conversation.

"I'm not sure if we have finished debugging that code." "Yes, you know Jesus loves you even if you didn't debug that code!" *facepalm*

Help desks down? (4, Funny)

scharkalvin (72228) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827397)

Guess this means that HP and Compaq's phone in help desks are down.

Re:Help desks down? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827505)

our corporate email owa web interface is down.
global fortune 5 company.

as for the outage, one big issue in this country is that power plants require outside power to run. They require the grid to be up and power in order to start unless the plant is a black-start unit, and they are a very very small percentage of the units. If the us infrastructure has this risk I can only image how bad it is in India.

I'm glad (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827609)

Guess this means that HP and Compaq's phone in help desks are down.

And every other company that has off-shored offices over there. And I hope all the software developers over there are also in the dark and all the US based companies that sent their stuff over there are squirming and bleeding money over this.

And I hope this makes all their projects late so that when the customer says, "Hey IBM (or whoever), why is our project late?! You now owe us $Big Bucks in performance penalties!"

IBM: "It's not our fault! It's India's!"

"Our super top secret project that will make us the top dog in our industry is being developed in India?! With no way to check if our trade secrets are going out the door!?"

*Terrified Silence*

I can dream, can't I?

Hold times will increase, but so will (3, Insightful)

Rooked_One (591287) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827403)

your chances of getting an english speaking representative who's name isn't either Jay or Mike.

I know that the people making the big bucks will just take the hit in customer satisfaction over this blackout, but maybe it will make them realize you can't offshore everything.

Re:Hold times will increase, but so will (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827483)

As someone who can't tell WHO IS from WHOSE, you're in no position to make fun of other people's english.

Re:Hold times will increase, but so will (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827735)

Hello, my name is Jay, how am I to be helping you today?

Infrastructure needs restructuring... (5, Insightful)

madhatter256 (443326) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827447)

It goes to show how "developed" India is, when it actually has a sewage crisis, water crisis and now this.

Kolkata's sewage system is literally collapsing in on itself.

The modern India we see on TV is held up by the rickety old infrastructure dating back to colonial times.

India needs to stop funneling their money from into their pockets and back into the streets.

They can be light years ahead of neighboring countries if they concentrate their efforts into massive public works projects.

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827543)

Sounds alot like the USA.

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827825)

True to some extent. In Florida, people buy gas generators for when a Hurrican knocks out power lines. Business owners in India buy generators for frequent blackouts. NPR did a bit on it yesterday.

However, India is working on their infrastructure. Kolkata's sewers are being revamped and was featured in a recent ASCE's publication Civil Engineering Magazine. However, Kolkata's sewage problem isn't the exception.

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827845)

1. Insult the USA when any other country is mentioned even if you can't put any meat to your statement.
2. Get modded up.
3. ???
4. Profit!

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (3, Informative)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827919)

As someone who's been both overseas to Asia and much of the USA, you haven't got a clue. Sincerely and honestly. If there's one thing you must remember, it's that culture has everything to do with how a nation manifests it's own productivity. Americans and Europeans have a high demand for a quality of life. We as a society work hard and play hard. It's why we are so organized to get shit done and places like India and China are now just catching up as they become more "westernized".

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (0, Troll)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827563)

The country needs Population Control. When population explodes as it has in India, what else can you expect.

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (-1, Offtopic)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827599)

Go away Malthus.

They need to invest in infrastructure, less people able to pay for that is not going to help the issue.

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827783)

Go away Malthus.

They need to invest in infrastructure, less people able to pay for that is not going to help the issue.

More people who are not able to pay for that is also not going to help the issue.

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827587)

India needs to stop funneling their money from into their pockets and back into the streets.

Sadly, rampant corruption in both the public and private sphere is something all too few companies factor in when they decide to do business there. We take certain things for granted in the West that you can't in India, and many western companies that try to outsource there find out the hard way that you had better factor in the additional costs of bribes (LOTS of bribes), crime, infrastructure problems (which will also include bribes), etc. I had a personal experience involving a company that had to give their workers special "bonuses" during every crunch time or they would just basically lay down on the job. Not to say there aren't good people there, but there is also a LOT of corruption.

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827721)

I had a personal experience involving a company that had to give their workers special "bonuses" during every crunch time or they would just basically lay down on the job.

Sounds fair to me. Why should they work extra hard to reach your deadline if they're not going to get any extra benefit from meeting the deadline? Not everyone sells their soul to their employer like we have to in America, nor should they. If you don't like it, plan better so that there is no crunch time.

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827621)

Hey how's New Orleans doing there in your "developed" country? Doing OK yeah? Movie theater shootings on the menu for this week?

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (1)

Bigby (659157) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827915)

The shooting weren't anywhere close to New Orleans.

The New Orleans area was the only place affected by the under-engineered barriers.

A better example might be the blackout of 2003, when most of northeastern US were out of electricity for multiple days because of a cascading failure that started in Cleveland.

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827939)

Fuck off, strawman.

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827819)

who said India is developed?

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827821)

The burning question is why is one of the world's most desperately poor country North Korea have cities that look like Tokyo, and is quite competitive in the London Olympics, while the anointed world's next superpower festers in heat waves with no electric power?
I'm starting to suspect that our western governments have not been telling us the entire truth.

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (0)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827839)

The thing is that like the rolling Enron blackouts this isn't likely to change a thing.

As long as the corporate bastards at the top are all right, jack, they could give a rats about anyone else.

Re:Infrastructure needs restructuring... (1)

Threni (635302) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827945)

Kind of. But we in the west benefit from cheap stuff from India and you'll be hard pressed to find anyone here who even pretends to give a shit about life over there, much less who actually does, so really it's the same for everyone.

For the "It Can't Happen Here Bunch" (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827455)

Those paying attention are probably aware that our power generation capabilities are being neglected. As has been well-documented on this site, new technology nuclear power generation has been left off the table due to irrational herd panic. But the recent neglect of our infrastructure by profit-minded electrical distribution corporations is even more disturbing. Getcher gennyrater.

Re:For the "It Can't Happen Here Bunch" (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827867)

I agree with what you are saying minus the profit motive. It is economics--the investments can't be made while providing electricity at the current costs. The regulators and consumers are just as much to blame as the power companies. Nukes aren't really commercially viable today compared to gas-fired combined cycle plants in terms of time to market, cost per MWh when operational, or general risk. When natural gas prices go back up to $3-4 then alternatives make sense again... But today generating from nat gas during peak summer hours only offers something like a 5 year payback. Going 24x7 brings you down to 4 years or so.

From what I am seeing in southern California, it looks like the substations and sub-transmission lines are going to start to be a bigger problem... At least after San Onofre gets back online.

india is no china (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827497)

if half of china's electricity collapsed the guy in charge would be executed within 3 months. this is why america hates china so much. when something crazy like that happens heads roll. in america (and apparently india) it's just "leave those job creators alone if you want any kind of employment, peasant!"

Glass half full (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827513)

I prefer to see it as half of India WITH electricity.

Aging grid (4, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827551)

No, really... the network is fine, and constantly being brought up to the state of the art. The real problem is the rapid increase in demand, caused by households with multiple light bulbs. The utility company plans to remedy the problem by putting special meters on the highest-usage households, that will shut off their electrical supply if they use more than 15 kilowatt-hours per month.

For an additional fee, the customers may switch to the "unlimited" plan, which will cut them off after 30 kWh.

"Rrevolution" show? (2)

wannabegeek2 (1137333) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827613)

Maybe this will be a test case to seee if the new television drama "Revolution" foretells humanity's reaction to a loss of electrical power, or debunks the portrayal.

Here's hoping its the latter...

Re:"Rrevolution" show? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827811)

Sales of used Toyota Prius will skyrocket in India.
They can be used [sandbox.org] as generators.

If you're an optimist (1)

Zubinix (572981) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827625)

This is just what India needs to energise public opinion and motivate politicians and government to actually rebuild India's decrepit old infrastructure.

Government Run Power (1)

SonnyDog09 (1500475) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827631)

So, where are all the folks who were singing the praises of government run utilities over the evils of privately run utilities in the previous articles on power outages in the United States?

Re:Government Run Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827903)

do you remember the wonderful "rolling blackouts" that the Free Market blessed California with a few years back? that's why no one sings the praises of privately run utilities in the United States.

Re:Government Run Power (2, Insightful)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827959)

Probably off being just as dumb as those people who think the private sector to be the magic bullet that fixes everything.

Why? Take a read (Nibiru/PlanetX/Marduk/Wormwood) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827641)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUMAuY32Cjc&feature=relmfu [youtube.com]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvNdtb2ZKRU&feature=relmfu [youtube.com]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCtfTU787w4 [youtube.com]

http://www.google.com/search?sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&site=&source=hp&q=US+Naval+Map&btnG=Search&gbv=1&sei=vNkXUIjuIuq90QHCloH4Aw [google.com]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wALNWwzERQ4&feature=related [youtube.com]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qx20LA4PM0&feature=player_embedded [youtube.com]

Hope the sources are wrong (NASA people, Naval geologists, Google Sky being blocked from the constellation of Leo's direction, US Govt FEMA camps 800 over the USA, US Antarctic viewing stations and IRAS satellites, global warming, gulf stream stalling, magnetic pole shift happening, Gov. Jesse Ventura, John Moore, and others like prophecies by the Hopi Indians, the Book of Revelations, the Chinese IChing, Mayan calendar, Mother Shipton, and Nostradamus which I take into far less stock than that of current scientists and government personnel and what they've seen and told of) and that I am a fool for listening to any of it. Doesn't mean I don't take some stock in warnings and prepare for it. Go on, mod me down, but at least take a look at those. My captcha's neighbor and that's what I am doing: Being a good neighbor is all. I hope this is all total crap, I really do. I don't want it happening anymore than anyone else would.

Just a thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827687)

What if the power company/government invest in solar panels for individual homes that will firstly decrease the load, secondly ensure that even if the grip is shutdown there is some electricity to homes, enough to have some light at night maybe?

Finally, if enough solar panels are distributed this can be used as a mesh network to counteract local brownouts.

Please do the needful (2, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827693)

Have you tried unplugging it and plugging it back in?

Imagine the lines of people trying to microwave tupperware bowls full rice and beans.

Aging grid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827741)

"The modern India we see on TV is held up by the rickety old infrastructure dating back to colonial times."
sounds just like the UK - I'm pleased to realise that the colonial masters at least managed to leave some cultural impact ...

Just like PEPCO in Washington D.C.. (2)

assertation (1255714) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827761)

Living in the Washington D.C. Metro area, having PEPCO as our power company and reliably having several blackouts a year, last one for about a week, I can relate.

Living near the capitol of what USED TO BE the most advanced country on the planet is sort of like living in a 3rd world country sometimes.

Thank you PEPCO and other 1%ers who are willing to let the US infrastructure rot so you buy yourself islands

Re:Just like PEPCO in Washington D.C.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827933)

Living near the capitol of what USED TO BE the most advanced country on the planet is sort of like living in a 3rd world country sometimes.

Having lived in a third world country (Cambodia) for a few years, and currently living and working in Washington, DC, I can tell you that living in DC is nothing like living in a third world country. Residents in a third world country tend to capable of adapting to a troublesome situation much better than folks in the US. They don't assume the power will simply work. They don't wait for the county trucks to show up after a storm to clear trees. They deal with problems themselves, directly.

Now that might not be the best solution to a problem. You might end up running your saw through a live power line. But don't think for a moment that living in DC is anything like living in a third world country.

Some facts (just to avoid all the BS flying about) (5, Interesting)

khoonirobo (1316521) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827823)

Background:

I'm an Indian, presently in Gurgaon (within National Capital Region) and yes, there has been a blackout since past few hours.

As to homes and office, situation is not so bad because blackouts are such an everyday occurrence that diesel generators in apartment complexes and offices are *very* common. The immediate real effects are to infrastructure i.e. Railways and Delhi Metro (mass transport).

Now to address the system, a good reading : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_India [wikipedia.org]

relevant parts from first paragraph:

The per capita average annual domestic electricity consumption in India in 2009 was 96 kWh in rural areas and 288 kWh in urban areas for those with access to electricity, in contrast to the worldwide per capita annual average of 2600 kWh and 6200 kWh in the European Union. India's total domestic, agricultural and industrial per capita energy consumption estimate vary depending on the source. Two sources place it between 400 to 700 kWh in 2008–2009. As of January 2012, one report found the per capita total consumption in India to be 778 kWh.

India currently suffers from a major shortage of electricity generation capacity, even though it is the world's fourth largest energy consumer after United States, China and Russia. The International Energy Agency estimates India needs an investment of at least $135 billion to provide universal access of electricity to its population.

India's electricity sector is amongst the world's most active players in renewable energy utilization, especially wind energy. As of December 2011, India had an installed capacity of about 22.4 GW of renewal technologies-based electricity, exceeding the total installed electricity capacity in Austria by all technologies.

We do have a major problem on our hands.
1. Demand *far* outstrips supply.
2. Distribution losses are high. Illegal tapping, faulty meters, old equipment and corruption being leading causes.
3. Free/cheap electricity provided to agriculture sector and collection of dues waived due to vote-bank politics.

But we are working on it:
1. Looking into renewable energy like wind and hydro in a major way. (see quote above and wiki)
2. Major investment into Nuclear energy.

Environmental groups are slowing down development of the above though.

People there are used to this (3, Interesting)

pmathew (1597155) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827875)

The media is giving a lot of hype to this .. and half the nation is a big number and and grid is a big thing so i guess its important .. but India always had power shortage ..Bangalore used to have 6 hours load shedding in summers every day in city and 12 hours in rural .. but life just moves on .. it never really mattered .. almost every apartment has backup power generators and same with corporate offices as power is not so reliable .. and for others who dont have backup its not critical and no power means slight inconvenience .. nothing comes to standstill .. not even traffic light breakdown .. really those never worked and no one followed them anyways .. India is like that .. i am not proud of this and i am an indian .. i am just telling its no big deal .. and regarding the uprising this .. unless its on the final over of world cup india is wining .. no chance .. we are peaceful creatures ..

better than earth hour (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827889)

This should save way more energy than turning off the eiffel tower for an hour.

Have they tried (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#40827949)

unplugging it and plugging it back in?

homer simpson messed up the power grid (-1, Troll)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#40827997)

homer simpson messed up the power grid and he is union so they can't get rid of him.

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