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Power Grid

  1. Sep 18, 2009 #1

    DavidSnider

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    Say you had a really successful campaign to get everybody to turn off the power in their house at a certain time without the power company knowing it was going to happen. Would this cause something to break?
     
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  3. Sep 18, 2009 #2

    negitron

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    No, but if everyone turns their power back on at the same time, that might cause momentary outages as systems switch over to handle the sudden demand.
     
  4. Sep 18, 2009 #3

    DavidSnider

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    So what happens to the power not being used? From what I understand it goes back to the transformer.. Wouldn't it overheat or something?
     
  5. Sep 18, 2009 #4

    russ_watters

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    Electricity isn't like a river flowing in and out of transformers. If people stop drawing power, the generators will just pull less torque from their prime movers and their prime movers (turbines usually) will just throttle back.
     
  6. Sep 18, 2009 #5

    DavidSnider

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    OK I think I get it. So it's not like something is constantly "pushing" electricity into houses, and the houses push back what they don't use, it's more like the entire system is a water tank that people tap into and power company just has to keep the tank filled.
     
  7. Sep 18, 2009 #6

    russ_watters

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    Yeah, that's closer to how it works.
     
  8. Sep 18, 2009 #7

    dlgoff

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    Not to complicate things. When there is a quick, large drop in demand, the turbines take a little time to wind down. This can result in the grids frequency to increase. I've seen a couple of hertz variation + and - due to decreases and increases of load.
     
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