Monday, December 1, 2008

Ice Pressure Ridges in Lake Erie - Part II

Now, I know you have been pushing all my buttons for me to get back to my very interesting story. So, in 1980 or so, Hydro was willing to sink big bucks into a line, to export all that surplus power we had. This was no ordinary line, this was a DC line! You are familiar with our everyday transmission lines which use alternating current or AC. In that line, the electrons just go back and forth in the wire, and the power is transmitted by 60 Hz electromagnetic waves. This is very efficient for distribution, since the voltage can be stepped up or down using simple transformers that blow up. It does make the cows tingle a bit, but these lines are all over the place.

A DC line is just like hooking up a battery to a light. The electrons travel at a constant velocity, so there are no electromagnetic waves, and no loss to the ground. This has an even greater benefit when going under the lake. All the heavy, ocean-crossing lines in Scandinavia are DC.

Except, away from the ocean, DC has a tiny problem. When it all juices up, with its huge inverters, and maximum electron momentum, it stores enough energy to fry a small city!! What happens when there is a sudden fault, like the Loch Erie Monster chomping the line?

This energy has to be dumped, and to do this you need huge grounding pads. You need good conductivity to ground, or all the cows for miles around will be shishkabob on four sticks! And that was a problem, since ground conductivity on limestone in fresh water approaches that of rubber! I gave a hurrah to the cows, when this project was canceled.

But I digress. Conductivity is good geology, but the real story was in the water!

To be continued, when I count all my money!

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