1. We are exceedingly sorrowful to report that one of the Founding Members has passed on. Dee (Righthand) is well remembered as contributing much to the operation of SurvivalMonkey, and is already greatly missed. Little lady, big person.

"Off grid" in the heart of historic San Juan

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by DKR, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Image of the roof-top solar installation at Casa Sol, in San Juan, PR.

    The B&B and the owner was recently featured on the LSM as he was able to support his closest neighbors with power (for their 'fridges).

    This matters why?
    The solar installation is invisible from the street. This mostly owing to the nature of the buildings in that part of San Juan.

    The solar installation survived the recent hurricane. Because the system was engineered and professionally installed.

    The system was originally installed to give the B&B Green/Eco cred, it turned out to be a life/business saver as the owner is still able to host guests.

    My point is that 'off grid' does not have to be something related only to the wilderness. In this case, the urban power system was...erratic, shall we say. The solar system allowed the business owner to cut ties to the deteriorating central power system and still run his business.

    Lesson for the rest of us? As power systems in the CONUS become more unstable - and they are - the instillation of a modest solar system can allow you to live a relatively comfortable life when (not if) the power browns out/drops altogether. If engineered and installed professionally, most systems are very disaster resistant.

    As with all of this - YMMV.

    see link for more photos-
    Redirect Notice
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Yep, Saw this on the National News.... This whole thing is caused by a lack of Preparedness on the part of the .GOV in the Island, AND the majority of the People on the Island..... and then they whine to the rest of us that they are "So Mistreated and forgotten"...
  3. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    All of what BT has posted is correct.

    My point is that too much of the US power grid is the product of 1030's technology.

    You can look at the current "system" as - centralized power plant, long (or very long) transmission lines, the local distribution grid for the so-called last mile.

    Much of the current transmission piece is both old ans in many areas, overloaded.
    (Just How Unreliable Is the U.S. Electricity Grid? - Investment U)
    "Not only does the U.S. suffer more blackouts than any other developed nation... The number of U.S. power outages lasting more than an hour has increased steadily for the past decade. That’s according to federal databases at the Department of Energy (DOE) and the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC).

    Those outages cost about $500 for every man, woman and child in America. That adds up to an estimated $150 billion per year, according to the DOE.

    In fact, the U.S. power grid is surprisingly unreliable at the best of times, especially when compared to those of other developed countries."

    Data: Explore 15 Years Of Power Outages This database details 15 years of power outages across the United States, compiled and standardized from annual data available at from the Department of Energy.

    Power Outage Map | National Grid Interactive, fairly current. Zoom out and see what it looks like over your region....

    Americans like to think we have a Grid system superior to say, China or India. It is. For now. But will it stay that way or become (more of ) a mess - failure prone, slow to recover and unable to support any growth in your area? As more 'green' power (wind, solar) is added to the National grid, the more unstable it will become.

    The culprit is, in large part, FedGov social engineering.

    Are you ready?
    Ura-Ki, UncleMorgan and Dunerunner like this.
  4. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

  5. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    (Very Important Post.)

    Everyone should know that we do not need the central power grid--we have mostly just been horsed into accepting the idea that we do. Or forced outright.

    No one who has a finger in the money-pie of commercial power generation wants the public to break their chains and produce their own power.

    That has been demonstrated countless times.

    If the US Gov wanted people to have free power (which they don't because it would reduce there governmental authority, and they'd also have to give back the bribe money) every residence in the entire United States could be made energy-independent for less than the cost of exactly one (1) nuclear power plant. That's counting the cost of construction and end-of-life decommissioning.

    But not the cost of destroying all life on this Planet.

    Funny thing: the only way you can have Chernobyl and Fukushima style nuclear disasters is when you have nuclear power plants.

    And, statistically, if you have enough nuclear power plants for long enough, you'll have 200 of each.

    Just the thought of that is almost enough to make me glow.

    A pale green.

    At night.

    I'm not anti-nuclear power, BTW, I'm just anti-stupid-use-of-nuclear power.


    Nuclear batteries (electric batteries) that are essentially safe because they have no moving parts are old hat--and absolutely not allowed by the US Gov.

    Free power might beget an unacceptable number of free people.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Are these the thermionic devices that have been used in space (and a couple terrestrial applications along the way)?
    Ura-Ki and UncleMorgan like this.
  7. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Seven radioisotope thermoelectric generators are lined up aboard an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III after being removed from Burnt Mountain, Alaska, and transported to Creech AFB, Nevada, July 24, 2015, in preparation for permanent disposal at the Nevada National Security Site. The RTGs, which contain nuclear material, were once used as a power source for the Air Force Technical Applications Center's seismic array, which monitors seismic activity in the region. The RTGs were replaced with a hybrid power source. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

    Master Sgt. Kevin Sanger (left) spots forklift driver Tech. Sgt. Larry Bouchard, both with the Air Force Technical Applications Center's Detachment 460 at Eielson AFB, Alaska, as Bouchard carefully transports a radioisotope thermoelectric generator from its trailer to an awaiting CH-47 Chinook July 17, 2015, for transport back to Eielson, while project manager Scott Lattimer (far right) observes. The RTGs, which contain radiologic material, were originally used because of their high reliability and low maintenance requirements to determine if regional seismic activity was caused by nuclear explosions or naturally-occurring events such as earthquakes, mining explosions, volcanic activity, etc. AFTAC’s primary mission is to verify compliance with nuclear test ban treaties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

    RTEGs are about the size of two large garbage cans. Lifespan rated in decades. Of these, I have no idea how many watts they output. Each thermoelectric generator contains between one to three pounds of a radioactive material - strontium-90. The material is about the size of a hockey puck and is securely contained in a vessel with an inner shield made of tungsten inner and a cast iron protective housing, weighing approximately 4,000 pounds. Oh, and the fuel is dangerous for 'about' 900 years.....

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Ivan's version - typical of sloppy Soviet practice, these are left to open access for the most part and several have been cracked open by 'metal thieves"
    Ura-Ki and UncleMorgan like this.
  8. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    I guess some advancement has been made with geothermal especially in places like Finland but unless Solar gets better, a lot better, I don't know of an alternate source that is reliable, plentiful and cost efficient. Wind doesn't appear to be a good option unless you can put one of those huge windmills in your yard.
    Ura-Ki and UncleMorgan like this.
  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    OK, the thermionic thought is confirmed. From the web:
    Radioisotope thermoelectric generator - Wikipedia
    "RTGs have been used as power sources in satellites, space probes, and unmanned remote facilities such as a series of lighthouses built by the former Soviet Union inside the Arctic Circle. RTGs are usually the most desirable power source for unmaintained situations that need a few hundred watts (or less) of power for durations too long for fuel cells, batteries, or generators to provide economically, and in places where solar cells are not practical. Safe use of RTGs requires containment of the radioisotopes long after the productive life of the unit."
    The amount of power is not huge based on the technology of when they were deployed, dunno if they have been improved the output. One of the interesting points is that they are NOT controlled, the electricity generated must be taken and used somehow to prevent overheating. A simple matter with control circuits and a radiator, nontheless there are some serious isotopes involved.

    Would make a helluvva portable ham radio power source if your trailer can hold it up.
    chelloveck, Ura-Ki and UncleMorgan like this.
  10. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Ormat is installing a lot of Rakine cycle gensets all over - mostly for geothermal power.
    Ormat Technologies Inc. - Global Projects

    These have been in use on the TAPS since the mid-1970s with no failures reported. Solid, trouble free. power.


    2 x gensets = 400KW of pollution free power that uses no fuel.

    So, ya, good deal.
    chelloveck, Ura-Ki and UncleMorgan like this.
  11. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I eat vegetables. My friends are not vegetables.

    Actually, I wasn't referring to a thermionic device when I mentioned nuclear batteries.

    The one I was thinking of consists of a Strontium-90 beta emitter on a dielectric, with a collector behind it. One side +, one side -, no moving parts. Lasts a long time.

    Atom battery.JPG
    chelloveck likes this.
  12. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    "TAPS"? Undefined term. No idea what it is.......
  13. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Anyone with enough land can do ground source geothermal.
    It can't generate power (or maybe very little) but it can reduce air conditioning power use by up to 70%.
    A watt saved is alost as good as a watt generated.
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  14. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    This is interesting. Have a look at the locations and States where most of the electric power is generated for use and or sale. OR, Wa, generate a huge amount of hydro power and much gets sold to Canada under terms of treaty! Not sure how it works, but i know a lot of that power is also sent to Idaho, Montana,Cali, Nevada, Utah, and i believe Az. I had a chance to look at the hydro plants during a security review, and was surprised at how fragile the entire system is. Another thing I noticed was the numbers of generators vs the amount actually being used during peek demand, less then 50% of the capasity was actually being generated! And that's for the entire demand area of responsibility. Grand Cooley was especially eye opening, the sheer number of generators vs actual power production was way lower, even when the system is in the pumping mode!!!!
    Most of the modern hydro power was built just prior to or during WW2 for production of every thing needed, and a lot of that power was sent to the Steel mills, auto manufactures, and aircraft plants, and shop yards, And that was before the upgrades to the turbines and generators that took place in the 60s and 70s! The system is supposed to be more then triple WW2 peek production and distrubution. Where the real problems are I do not fully understand, but i believe the gov should be taken out of the final distribution and the states need to have a lot of oversight
    One other thing, Some thing even more scary is the age of these hydro power plants, all were only supposed to be certified for 50 years, while most are over 70 years old. I had a chance to see many of these plants and you can plainly see the issues we have with the age of these plants, the concrete is failing, the spillways and control gates are at risk, and the penstocks are showing signs of exasperated erosion! All are a serious risk, and they could be seriously damaged or destroyed with out a lot of effort! Much of the up keep and repairs being done are only band-aids, many need a major overhaul to be brought back to compliance, which isn't likely. Several hydro plants in the Columbia Basin would be next to impossable to repair due to their design, it would take a hurculian effort and astronimacle cost, not to mention a loss of navagatio, irrigation, and power generation! Wanna see really scary, take a boat trip to the spillways gates of Bonneville dam and have a look at the concrete that holds it all together! Even worse are the dams that use the gravity pivot gates, the anchors are crumbling! GreenPeter Dam has been retro fitted partially, but beyond the flood control, it's one of the more at risk dams in the entire PNW due to its size and type of flood gate! Shasta, Trinity, and other major dams are in serious need right now!
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017
  15. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    Hydro power is the most deadly form of power generation.
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  16. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Odd - my bad. Given the amount of raw hatred spewed out of the mouths of Greenies over the decades, I thought it was a household term.

    Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. TAPS

    Ura-Ki likes this.
  17. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Ah! Gotcha. We Florida boys ain't always the sharpest. (y)
  18. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Strange they are on the same bedding & in the same building .
    I ve been on a few BAD designs of twin gas fired turbines (no /low bypass turbines [jet 4 some] engines ) that would create an harmonic vibration & kill the building & the bedding if left both on . .

  19. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Rankine cycle is simply a steam turbine engine driving whatever you want it to drive. That said, unless a serious vacuum is drawn on the system, 165 degree geothermal water just won't perform in those UTC machines pictured. Methinks I'm confused.
  20. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    The working fluid isn't water. Isobutane maybe? Something with a low boiling point. The Ormats have been on line with TAPS for decades....
  1. martha_mill
  2. DKR
  3. SurvivalJester
  4. Dunerunner
  5. Asia-Off-Grid
  6. CodE BluE
  7. Asia-Off-Grid
  8. Asia-Off-Grid
  9. Asia-Off-Grid
  10. Asia-Off-Grid
  11. Asia-Off-Grid
  12. Asia-Off-Grid
  13. Asia-Off-Grid
  14. Asia-Off-Grid
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary