Power in the Greater Depression (Ch. 6)

EMP, HEMP, SREMP and other robust power design parameters.

We don’t mean to go off the deep end here, but there is a new report out on one of our favorite “unknowns” – namely Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) effects.

This morning, we review not only what some of the baseline data offers, but also present non-EMP factors to consider if you are planning to “keep the lights on” when few (if any) of your neighbors do.

After we look at the soaring market and some passing headlines to get us warmed up.

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12 thoughts on “Power in the Greater Depression (Ch. 6)”

  1. even with the battery storage I have. I have to reconsider my consumption. I should be able to run normally for a considerable amount of time on just one battery bank. The way the new electronics are now there is so much vampire consumption, that I use way to much energy.and with solar now being installed in the USA the power companies are reconsidering how they bill. like for us. no matter what I will have to pay $57.00 and not be reimbursed for any excess. I actually produce as much as I consume but have to pay for everything after the sun goes down.
    the sad part is in two months there will be an annual increase. it won’t be much. a few bucks but after considering if everyone should get a few pennies an hour increase in wages. they of course won’t get the increase instead many will be shortened hours.I see this as resulting in higher prices overall since everyone’s prices of utilities goes up. I personally think that if the utility companies had any brains at all they would embrace small solar. stabilize rates for a ten year period for those that install and opt to not get reimbursed for any extra energy. and then build small solar trees starting at the furthest limits to their lines and work back to the plant.that would improve national security in the event of an emp, or severe weather etc. and the costs of the systems would be paid by consumers installing the units. the solar tree’s, they are smaller take less space would provide power for what three or four hundred households and businesses and cost less. instead of one huge solar farm at the furthest point of consumption. they would be close and cost less do one or two a year.. work your way back.

    but then that won’t happen. My thought is this type of endeavor would be seen as a loss of controll to those that control the power.

  2. George,
    I read ‘looking out of the box’s’ post and afterwards I had a serious question regarding EMP action on connected photovoltaic panels and in particular, the battery bank they are intended to charge.
    I wonder if such a pulse would generate an instantaneous flash of overpowering amperage to the batteries and/or the panels themselves and what degree of destruction would result.
    Used in their intended application it seems the designed voltage rise during the daylight hours would begin gently at sunrise and gradually increase to the designed output during the day and conversely fade down as the sun set.
    The sun is 93 million miles away and we inefficiently capture varying percentages of that energy through solar panels in a measured slow and steady rate.
    So, would a instantaneous spike over-generate through the panels or just burn them out? If that spike traveled forward into the batteries, I could foresee them explosively coming apart.
    I wonder if in-service panels can be protected from EMP without having to take them out of service or if stashing them deep will be the choice for after the EMP. Functional panels would be so necessary to recover from such an attack’

    • “I had a serious question regarding EMP action on connected photovoltaic panels ”

      Great question Ed…

      I worry about the same thing. I have them shielded and diodes attached to stop back flow. On my solar I have flash disconnects hooked up and grounded better than normal.
      Unfortunately I have more serious thoughts about the incoming grid line. That’s where my greatest concerns are focussed.
      I haven’t found anything that would work for a sudden spike in line voltage to disconnect the whole house instantly .
      If you go watch your meters on your inverters you can tell when peak usage or if a line drops from the fluctuation of line voltage.
      My thought is that the real damage from an emp would be similar to a wave and failure would result as the stations collapse.
      Like a nuclear explosion it isn’t the blast that gets you.
      If your in ground zero or in the cone of destruction your toast. Your home is toast. Your battery in your cell phone is like a small hand grenade. If its in your pocket..
      You can play with this to see just what would happen. Go buy a used microwave take out the microwave transmitter drill a hole in an old tomato juice can.or other can then using a non conductive rod place whatever your curious about in front of the beam.
      It’s a shocker.. Wires ignite spontaneously.
      I’m betting that anyone wishing to cause a cascaded failure will do it by best damage scenario.
      A tree.. Relys on the roots to provide the nutrients it needs. It flows up the trunk down the branches to the leaves. The leaves assist this process by taking in nutrients and creating a small electric charge to keep and assist the roots. Our grid is set up where everything Relies on the roots. Every twenty miles there’s a boost station. If our grid was set up like a tree a couple of emp bursts wouldn’t take the whole system down. Right now they basically pile all the eggs in one basket.
      A Carrington event would put us back in time before Moses and estimates are 96 or 97 percent loss of life. More from simple things illnesses there wouldn’t be any technology to back you up.
      This all surprises me to. Why they would basically position the country to fail. We are so busy pumping resources and life so some idiot can acquire what he wants yet fail to keep our own needs met. And what for..

    • OH I do have to add a note to be taken seriously.. if you decide to try the microwave feed horn to see what an emp can do..BE CAREFUL .. the dc voltage in the system can kill you.. make sure to discharge the cap and disconnect it from the power supply..
      I wouldn’t even show anyone I know what this can do.. because I would be afraid they would go and try it.. I wouldn’t ever forgive myself if they did something I was stupid enough to play with and got killed in the process..
      sort of like when I showed the grandkids how to melt stone with the sun.. bad mistake really bad.. don’t do it if you feel like you might not completely understand what you are doing.
      doing it would show you how an emp would work the cone of effectiveness.. I live what I think is about three hundred miles from a major effected area. I am hoping it is on the outskirts far enough that if one was to happen I could keep my basic necessities running. if one was to happen overhead then I would have to let you know if I seen you how those sleeping bags are working..

  3. George, if you are in line of site of a nuclear blast and your solar panels are facing that direction too, will the flash of light burn out the panels?

    • The flash of light and prompt radiation follow the square law of diminishing in intensity as the square of distance, so that answer is primarily a distance function. If you’re close enough to get incinerated, it won’t matter. If you’re distant enough that you’re not blinded, then there’s a chance that the panels will keep working. I’d not worry about the batteries(flooded lead/acid), since they’re relatively immune to transients. I’d be far more concerned about charge controllers and perhaps inverters. A battery bank will act as a large capacitor to smooth transients for other connected gear, but the charge controllers get the unfiltered output from the panels. EMP is a bit different in that it’s generally not predictable based on a square law. With sufficiently powerful and fast transient suppressors and short cable runs, there’s a chance for the electronics to survive.

  4. George,
    heard some very interesting information regarding the most recent,extremely hot, fires in NoCal. The dope on this one is the dammed new electric smart meters..how smart is it attaching radioactive waste to your house?
    That is correct “doubting thomases, radioactive “smart” meters were the source for the Fires, the means by which they “jumped” so quickly – blue rays of light people reported seeing, and why they burned so hot.

    The best part about the Utilities smart meter business model – in about 1-2 years when these things are “found” to be HAZARDOUS to human health and must be replaced – guess who is going to pay for the replacement cost??
    Another $$ – BOHICA coming at us care of our loving Electric Utility Corporations.

    • “The dope on this one is the dammed new electric smart meters..how smart is it attaching radioactive waste to your house?”

      when we got smart meters.. this was a concern brought up… you have a greater chance of that with your cell phone than the smart meter..
      and nope.. you can’t microwave a hot dog with one…

      now if you made an antenna out of graphine.. and made it similar to that of the mushroom antenna that tesla had originally designed.. isolate it from ground lead a line into the positive of a battery and then ground the battery you can gather electricity to charge the batteries from the free floating ion traffic.. look out at the distance I am betting you can find a microwave transmitter in your line of sight.. not to mention the satellites etc.. to test this take a flourescent light bulb and go to a transformer station your the antenna.. the light bulb will light up.
      you would have a better chance of getting cancer from a cell phone and the energy it expells..I won’t loose sleep over concerns on the smart meter

    • RF radiation isn’t “radioactive”
      RF emitted by smart meters is well below the limits set by Federal Communications Commission and it is below levels produced by other common household devices like cell phones, baby monitors, satellite TVs, and microwaves. In fact, you would have to be exposed to the RF from a smart meter for 375 years to get a dose equivalent to that of one year of 15-minutes-per-day cell phone use.

      No credible evidence shows any threat to human health from RF emissions at or below RF exposure limits developed by the FCC. With over 25,000 articles published on the topic over the last 30 years, scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals.

  5. I’ve never considered a SREMP, because I figure if one is close enough to be affected, AND survives the flash, concussion wave, and fireball, they’d have much more pressing and immediate concerns than power.

    Your “threat domains” are, of course, listed in reverse order to actual likelihood of probability.

    I’m a strong proponent of “doing your own work.” I designed, built, and installed custom alarm systems for a while. The advantages are they’re cheaper to build and install, and NO ONE knows exactly what the alarm is, or how to defeat it. The disadvantage is it takes a lot of planning and after-hours hands-on, because considerations for a warehouse are much different than for a supermarket, a cstore, a liquor store, or an arcade, and what works in one supermarket, or even more so, one cstore, won’t necessarily work in any other.

    Speaking of, one of my tricks for holdup cameras was to build a speaker. In the 1970s, “optically transparent” grille cloth was available. Looking at the Google Earth shot of your PV array leads me to wonder whether such a critter exists today (in the day and age of pinhole cameras — a quick & dirty on Google and Bing wasn’t promising), whether transmission loss would be an issue with a PV unit, and how spendy it would be by the bolt, or even the pallet. It might be possible to disguise a PV array as a pond or a plot of barley…

    I acquired a MIL-SPEC quiet generator several years ago, right before I sold off my petrol gensets. It is continuous-duty, hardened (MIL_188_125-1 & MIL_188_125a compliant), and is rated at <.45gph diesel at rated output and 43db @ 1m. Highly recommended, if'fn you can find one. It's still stinky though, especially [for] the first 10 minutes or so.

    On a calm night with no updrafts, in open country (light foliage) a human can smell tobacco (wacky, or otherwise) smoke from several hundred yards away. More than one Army sentry was offed during the "Indian Wars," by an Indian who was downwind and caught the aroma, then followed it back to its source. Anything "stinky" would provide the same opportunity…

    • I have to second the idea of designing your own alarm, monitoring and response systems! Yes, integrate commercial stuff if it’s verified secure along with your own. Most systems today are well understood by really smart thieves, and such intruders may be prepared to spoof or disable them. They’re designed to document crime, not stop it in real time. Always hold something in reserve.

      Also, the Amazon Ring system has some very concerning privacy implications:


      They’re not being forthright regarding it. In fairness, Ring has documented many intruders, but unless they’re caught and prosecuted, that’s moot.

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