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ALERT Potential Power Grid Attacks - PG&E (CA) - Cardinal Power Plant (OH) - Ravensdale, WA
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  1. #1
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    Potential Power Grid Attacks - PG&E (CA) - Cardinal Power Plant (OH) - Ravensdale, WA

    I wanted to create a separate thread to track real or potential attacks on our power grid substations. Like the one that happened in Kali yesterday.

    Some of these will turn out to be normal events and not acts of sabotage. I know that these do happen, but since March 25th there have been a number of large substations "fires" or "failures"

    In my opinion (as some others on TB) think this is the biggest story in the last 72 hours. I am not downplaying the other attacks. I am just saying this has the potential for the largest consequences.

    These attacks to not need to look coordinated in one part of the country to be effective. They can target key substation nodes across the country to weaken the system, and then later take out two or three others to cause a cascading effect. They can continue to target them when the grid is down to make the effects longer lasting.

    This is a hard to defend target considering the amount of them in this country. They can also be shoot from longer distances, so just posting someone at a node site is not enough to protect them.

    I would appreciate some twitter search masters like "Lady Kitty" to help identify these events.

    I would like to also identify the capacity of the units once their identified, so we can just keep track of the big ones.

    I would not expect the media to run to hard with these stories considering the consequences.

    I posted this on the American Airlines / PG&E thread:

    GLOBAL GUERRILLA TARGET: The North American Power Grid

    A long term target of global guerrillas in our emerging war, will be the large infrastructure networks that our national economy relies upon (as do all modern developed economies). The most critical and complex network is our power grid which contains over 1 m kilometers of high-voltage power lines between 115 -765 kVs. The network can be further subdivided into the following:

    1,633 generator nodes.
    2,179 disribution substation nodes.
    10,287 transmission substation nodes.


    Network Analysis
    In recent paper, "Structural Vulnerability of the North American Power Grid," Reka Albert (et. al.) analyzed the vulnerability of the power grid based on modern techniques (see "Cascading System Failure" for more on the vulnerability of scale free networks). The key to this analysis is to find those nodes that serve as "hubs" for the network. The hubs, if taken out during an attack, have the greatest likelihood to disrupt the network and create a cascade of failure. They found the following:
    • Highly connected nodes are a mix. Power engineering principles correctly suggest that the majority of highly connected nodes will be power plants (see "Design Flaws: Methods of Attacking Critical Infrastructure" for more). However, contrary to expectations, a small number of transmission substation nodes serve are also highly connected -- 50 have a degree higher than 10.
    • 1% of the transmission substations are high load nodes. These high load substations are nodes with high betweeness (a high load of shortest paths between nodes on the network). These substations aren't necessarily highly connected nodes and some are merely high load throughput for long-haul connectivity (a critical part of the US power grid since 50% of the electricity generated is allocated via the wholesale market, much of it over long distances due to NIMBY restrictions on local power production). High load nodes are best termed the "hubs" of the network.
    • 900 of the distribution substations can potentially become isolated clusters (41% of the total). This means that these substations are only lightly connected to the grid. If the transmission substation that connects them is taken off-line via an attack, they are disconnected from power generation and go dark.

    Methods of Attack
    This research indicates the potential success of different modes of global guerrilla attack against a modern power grid:
    • Attacks on power substations and their direct connectivity will have little impact. The high degree of redundancy at the power substation level prevents major system failure. This is in stark contrast to the simple, production limited system in Iraq (see "Iraq: Electricity Disruption" for more) where the removal of a power plant from the grid will have a major impact. A big caveat on this "finding" is: this analysis doesn't account for "base power" generation from large producers (hydro-electric and nuclear). Power production isn't homogeneous. The elimination of these large systems from the grid would result in major disruption.
    • Attacks on transmission substations yields the greatest system impact. In general, the removal of high load substations is more important than highly connected substations. A loss of only 4% of the highest load transmission hubs disconnects 60% of the grid from power.
    • Cascading failures can amplify the impact of high-load node removal. Cascading failure can shut down 60% of the grid with the removal of only 2% of the high-load nodes. If 1% are removed, 40% of the grid goes dark. I suspect that better analysis based on sorting the high-load nodes by the quality of their connections (based on voltage, with the high quality nodes as those with the largest number of high voltage connections) would radically reduce the number of failed nodes needed for a system-wide cascade.

    End Note: The implication is that an carefully prepared simultaneous attack against 10-20 substations of the right type could take 60% of the US end-users offline for an extended period (potentially weeks). If exploited by additional well planned attacks, this damage could be extended indefinitely.

    The solution to all of this type of vulnerability, isn't a complete rework of the grid. Instead, it's a resilient community. A community that produces most of what it needs locally.

    Latest:


    Developing: Crews respond to transformer fire at Cardinal Power Plant:

    http://www.wtov9.com/news/news/devel...ardinal/nXNyD/

    Cardinal Power Plant 1880 MW - Coal Fired Plant



    Shots fired at PG&E substation

    http://www.mercurynews.com/business/...silicon-valley

    I can't find the capcity, but I found this statement:

    The Metcalf substation serves a large, heavily populated
    area, including major high-tech companies, and provides voltage
    support to the broader Northern California grid, the ISO said.


    Huge transformer explosion causes power outages (March 26th, 2013 Ravensdale, WA)

    http://www.myfoxal.com/story/2179466...-power-outages

    Size: It was a decent sized transformer is all I can find.

    Underground transformer explosions that close Louisville streets

    http://www.courier-journal.com/artic...sville-streets

    Size: Smaller but multiple transformers exploded

    Explosion in Downtown OKC Caused by Transformer Failure

    http://www.kswo.com/story/21896959/e...former-failure

    Substation explosion cuts power to Venango County residents

    http://www.palive365.com/2013/04/17/...nty-residents/
    Last edited by Warm Wisconsin; 04-17-2013 at 04:59 PM. Reason: Changed title

  2. #2
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    Bump

  3. #3
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    Adding this because it doesn't rate it's own thread today but is an incident

    This is a flash fire at a texas refinery - lost because of the West, Texas incident.

    ExxonMobil investigating cause of Beaumont refinery fire

    Updated 18 hours ago | By Dan Wallach & Tim Monzingo | Beaumont Enterprise

    Federal investigators, plant officials and union members today will continue to search for the cause of a rare flash fire at ExxonMobil’s Beaumont refinery Wednesday that injured at least a dozen workers — some critically.

    The workers, contract employees of Beaumont-based Signature Industrial Services, suffered multiple injuries and some severe burns, according to city and hospital officials.

    ExxonMobil spokeswoman Kathleen Jackson said they were working on a maintenance project in a processing unit that was shut down for repairs when a “small fire” broke out around 10:30 a.m. She said on-site fire crews were able to quickly contain and extinguish the blaze.

    The fire was an uncommon event for the Beaumont facility, which has fewer incidents than the industry average.

    Beaumont Fire Department Capt. Brad Penisson said the department responded with two of its trucks at ExxonMobil’s request to help get the injured workers out of the refinery.

    Of the workers injured in the fire, at least six were taken to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, officials at Baptist Hospital and Christus St. Elizabeth hospital said.

    Claude Wilhelm, Signature Industrial Services’ general manager and vice president, said his company routinely does maintenance for the refinery. He did not say specifically what work was being performed when the accident happened.

    Wilhelm said several of the injured workers were long-term employees of the company.

    “We’re just worried about these families and that’s what we’re trying to deal with this evening,” Wilhelm said Wednesday while driving to Galveston to see some of the hospitalized workers. “The task that the guys were performing and the investigation and all that will be done, just not right this minute.”

    The company is looking into setting up a benefit fund for the workers. Wilhelm said an ExxonMobil official was expected to meet with them to help with the families’ needs.

    “The families will definitely be taken care of, and most important the employees themselves (will be taken care of),” he said.

    ExxonMobil’s Beaumont refinery processes about 350,000 barrels of crude oil per day, Jackson said, and the refinery employs 1,200 people. Jackson did not know how many contract workers were at the plant.

    Richard “Hoot” Landry, international representative for the United Steelworkers union, said he learned from the local operating union that the process unit was undergoing a planned maintenance turnaround. Maintenance on parts of the unit is done every year.

    “It was a planned turnaround, so we see nothing abnormal with that,” Landry said.

    Jackson said fires and hazardous incidents like Wednesday’s are rare events.

    Kim Nibarger, United Steelworkers health and safety specialist, said the union has kept tabs on refinery fires since 2007 and sees an average of 41 a year in the United States.

    The union has raised concerns about longer periods between turnarounds putting workers at increased risk. Refineries once performed scheduled maintenance every three years in process units but has extended those intervals to four or five years, Nibarger said in a telephone interview.

    In 2010, during a national conference before the union negotiated the 2012 contract now in effect with refiners, Nibarger said refiners are downplaying the risks at individual plants.

    “The industry says it’s managing the risk, but in most instances it’s based too narrowly on an individual plant’s history and that creates a false perspective of the risk involved,” Nibarger said at the time.

    The most recent fatality in a refinery occurred at a Valero Energy Corp. refinery in Memphis, Tenn., on Dec. 3. An explosion released a hazardous chemical that killed a refinery employee and injured a contract employee.

    ExxonMobil’s Beaumont refinery participates in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Programs, which “recognize employers and workers...who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries,” according to OSHA’s website.

    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality monitored the air around the refinery for excessive emissions but did not detect elevated readings of any hazardous material, said Terry Clawson, TCEQ spokesman.

    Jackson said the fire will not affect production at the refinery.

    ExxonMobil is required to submit a preliminary report to TCEQ within 24 hours of the incident.

    OSHA requires a report within eight hours of an injury at a plant site.


    http://m.mywesttexas.com/top_stories...9bb2963f4.html
    "It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness" Confucius

  4. #4
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    Richard “Hoot” Landry, international representative for the United Steelworkers union, said he learned from the local operating union that the process unit was undergoing a planned maintenance turnaround. Maintenance on parts of the unit is done every year.

    “It was a planned turnaround, so we see nothing abnormal with that,” Landry said.

    Jackson said fires and hazardous incidents like Wednesday’s are rare events.

    Kim Nibarger, United Steelworkers health and safety specialist, said the union has kept tabs on refinery fires since 2007 and sees an average of 41 a year in the United States.
    When the refinery is in turn around mode two things to remember...This kind of thing gets slightly more common because things are NOT running nor are they "normal" and stuff sometimes gets mixed...
    Second is that it won't change the output since the refinery isn't outputting...

  5. #5
    We lost power here around 11:15 EST (just northwest of Dayton, OH). Came back on about 15 minutes later. While the power was out my cell phone service died also for a couple of minutes. I could not text, and when I tried to make a call I got the message "emergency calls only". I've gotten that message before and i simply take out my cell battery and put it back in to get it working again (and I did that this time too). Just a strange coincidence that power and cell went out at same time.

    DB

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyBarrel View Post
    We lost power here around 11:15 EST (just northwest of Dayton, OH). Came back on about 15 minutes later. While the power was out my cell phone service died also for a couple of minutes. I could not text, and when I tried to make a call I got the message "emergency calls only". I've gotten that message before and i simply take out my cell battery and put it back in to get it working again (and I did that this time too). Just a strange coincidence that power and cell went out at same time.

    DB
    Or maybe the UPS switch on the cell tower didn't kick in the way it was supposed to, and it lost power, too?

  7. #7
    I want to add that we have heavy winds here today...so is probably related to that. I just wanted to note it here just in case..

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyBarrel View Post
    We lost power here around 11:15 EST (just northwest of Dayton, OH). Came back on about 15 minutes later. While the power was out my cell phone service died also for a couple of minutes. I could not text, and when I tried to make a call I got the message "emergency calls only". I've gotten that message before and i simply take out my cell battery and put it back in to get it working again (and I did that this time too). Just a strange coincidence that power and cell went out at same time.

    DB


    Actually this doesn't surprise me.

    The cell sites are powered by the electrical grid. Yes some have battery power, but some don't and those that do may only have an hour or two of backup power. Some may have a standby emergency generator backup but even that maybe limited or may have not autostarted. Contrast that with the landlines where they power the phone lines themselves and have a much more robust system because they were at one time considered part of the military defense system and majority of mil comms used AT&T long lines.


    A reminder to the group:
    Cellphones are great if one person has an emergency they can get help, but in a disaster cellphone system gets overloaded very quickly. The Boston Marathon bombing and cellphone use prompted some discussion in the news media in our area concerning a 5.6 quake back in Nov 2007 and how the whole cellphone system collapsed. My personal AT&T cell and work issued Verizon cell worked only for the first 5 minutes after the quake, I immediately called the plant where I worked and ordered the Sec guard to punch the buttons to shut down the factory if the seismic monitors hadn't. There was no calling back on the cellphone after the surprise of the quake was over. Everyone had got on their cellphone and crash the system came down. My landline however never had any problem.

  9. #9
    Thanks for the info, D_A. Apparently, my cell carrier is affected by power outages as well. Good to know.

    A few years back when we lost power for five days in those wind storms, I kept my cell phone charged from my car and it worked fine throughout the outage. However, I used a different carrier then. I guess that's not the case now.

    DB

  10. #10
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    I had a little surprise yesterday that caused me not to add to this thread. I will try and add more soon.


    April 4th
    ‘Large’ explosion at U.S. power plant — Reports of holes in cooling towers — Homes shook, vehicle airbags set off

    BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. -

    A thunderous explosion rocked Georgia Power's Planet Bowen in Bartow County on Thursday. People who live nearby the plant told FOX 5 that the explosion sounded like a bomb went off, but only two minor injuries were reported.

    Georgia Power said the explosion occurred in the generator of a unit that was being brought down for a maintenance outage when the explosion took place around 4 p.m.

    Mark Williams of Georgia Power said the explosion was believed to be mechanical. He said they are investigating the cause of the explosion.

    Georgia Power said that there was no fire when the explosion occurred. After the blast, all non-essential employees at the plant were sent home, according to the company.

    According to Georgia Power's website, Plant Bowen, a coal-fired power station in Euharlee, Ga., is the "second largest generating plant in the Western Hemisphere."


    My Comment:
    I believe Cardinal Plant is number three.


    Williams said that the cooling towers were not affected.

    The explosion knocked the plant out of commission, forcing Georgia Power to use other plants to cover the electricity that would have been produced at Plant Bowen.

    "This is not a peak demand time for us. It's not the middle of the summer when we need more generating needs. We have more than sufficient generating needs to cover it," Williams said.

    It is not known how long it will take Plant Bowen to get back online.

    http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/21...-bartow-county

  11. #11
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    Cell site radios run off of their batteries 24/7, shore power runs the chargers. Whent power drops there is no "switch over" to battery power. Battery backup is usually good for 4-8 hours.

    Generators are a different story.p
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

    Its gonna get a lot worse before it gets better.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyBarrel View Post
    Thanks for the info, D_A. Apparently, my cell carrier is affected by power outages as well. Good to know.

    A few years back when we lost power for five days in those wind storms, I kept my cell phone charged from my car and it worked fine throughout the outage. However, I used a different carrier then. I guess that's not the case now.

    DB

    Some sites are well protected against power fail and others are not even within the same Cellular carrier, so changing carriers may not be a solution.

    Glad to hear you have a car charger cord, that should one of the first accessories people buy!

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Millwright View Post
    Cell site radios run off of their batteries 24/7, shore power runs the chargers. Whent power drops there is no "switch over" to battery power. Battery backup is usually good for 4-8 hours.

    Generators are a different story.p
    Battery life depends on usage. 4-8 hrs under infrequent use will pare down to 2hrs under heavy cell traffic.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Kayak View Post
    Or maybe the UPS switch on the cell tower didn't kick in the way it was supposed to, and it lost power, too?

    Yep I've had that happen at work, we fixed it. Next power outage it failed again.

  15. #15
    Radio reports today that a huge reward of $250,000 is being offered in association with the Fiber Optic lines that were cut nearby. This occurred minutes before the San Jose Calif, Metcalf Station power transformers were shot up.

  16. #16

    close to 2 hours without power here today

    we have underground lines where we live so not sure why or where it originated. I checked the local news sites once I was able to get back online but there's nothing. The last time we lost power for any length of time was during the ice storm a few years ago. It's just strange is all. I can't even remember the last time we've even had a power flicker...
    I once was blind but now I see!...
    Acts 9:11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

  17. #17
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    what state are you in Straightstreet?

  18. #18
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    someone else is posting the same events we have and is wondering the same thing.

    http://daswire.blogspot.com/2013/04/...ure-under.html

  19. #19
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    Industrial explosion in Shakopee forces evacuations; no injuries

    An explosion rocked a grain facility and energy plant Thursday afternoon along the Minnesota River in Shakopee, shaking buildings blocks away and forcing evacuations, a witness said.

    Article by: Susan Feyder and Paul Walsh , Star Tribune staff writers

    Updated: April 25, 2013

    An explosion rocked an energy plant that supplies power to a neighboring grain facility Thursday afternoon along the Minnesota River in Shakopee, shaking buildings blocks away and forcing evacuations, witnesses and a company official said.

    The blast occurred where Koda Energy and Rahr Malting operate in a joint venture, located at 800 1st Av., just south of the river. There were no injuries among the seven Koda employees at the site, a company official said. They were all safely led from the scene.

    Fire crews and other emergency personnel were called to the area shortly before 1 p.m. Nearly two hours later, fire crews were still training their water hoses on the source of the explosion.

    The city on its website said that everyone within a 1-mile radius of the explosion should stay indoors until further notice, but also added that “there is no immediate danger.”

    http://m.startribune.com/?id=204718501

    non mobile link

    http://www.startribune.com/local/south/204718501.html
    Last edited by Warm Wisconsin; 04-25-2013 at 10:16 PM.

  20. #20
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    There appear to be too many explosions going on, for my taste. Sadly, I expect more and more injuries that the authorities will find a way to not tell us the truth about them.

  21. #21
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    Too much at one time.
    "America is at that awkward stage, to late to work within the system, but to early to shoot the bastards"-- Claire Wolfe

  22. #22
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    WW, good work piecing this all together. I had no idea all this was going on.
    marymonde
    +++++++++++++++++++++

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    even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

  23. #23
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    Our power was out Wednesday evening from around 5 pm until... well, it was back on when we shut the generator down after milking at 8 pm. It was slightly breezy out, but nothing more. It's pretty rare for us to have an outage, even in really bad weather- our rural electrical cooperative does a great job of keeping trees trimmed, and maintenance done. We're in southwestern NY state.

    (I wish they'd have a page for outages on their website- even if they only told what happened after the fact, it would be interesting and educational)

    Summerthyme

  24. #24
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    http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region...-paper-company


    Phoenix paper company fire: Massive fire sparks at Valley paper company

    PHOENIX - A firefighter is recovering after a massive fire that broke out at a Phoenix recycling plant, sending thick plumes of smoke into the air on Tuesday.

    Phoenix Fire Department spokesman Tony Mure said an initial call came out Tuesday morning for flames at the Arizona Pacific Pulp Paper company at Grand Avenue and McDowell.

    According to Mure, there was believed to be a large amount of cardboard and other materials inside the building which fueled the flames.

    Video from the scene showed crews extinguishing the blaze as thick black smoke poured over the Phoenix skyline. As of around 12:30 p.m. Air15 footage from over the area showed the flames under control.

    A firefighter was taken to the hospital after suffering minor injuries from a piece of equipment that fell.

    Officials told ABC15 crews at the scene that the fire started in a paper bundle outside the building. It is unclear at this time what sparked the flames.

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