Friday, February 5, 2021

Remnant: Reaction

The Governor of Michigan did not get as much prime-time exposure as she thought she deserved.

Domestic terrorists attacked major interstate natural gas and electrical transmission lines just north of Hartford, Connecticut at the Farmington River. At least one terrorist had paid close attention to the Sergeant when trained on “tamping”.

The explosive bundle had been deposited on the bed of the river beneath six feet of water.

Explosions are like electricity. Like electricity, the energy created by an explosion follows the lines of least resistance. The way to direct the force of an explosion to your intended target is to tamp earth around the explosive so the path of least resistance is through the intended target. The terrorists came to the conclusion that you cannot beat 6 feet of water for tamping and it is there, waiting to be used.

The result of that attack deprived Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massechuttes, Rhode Island and Northern Connecticut of most of their electrical generation capability.

Southern California interstate lines were also attacked near Blythe, Topock and Roach Lake. Economics dictated that the pipelines be packed into the existing road right-of-ways, not so much for property reasons but for the logistics involved in massive construction projects through mountainous terrain. The terrorists found the publications of the California Energy Commission extremely useful in identifying the routes of the power lines and natural gas pipelines. 

Late February is not peak power demand for California but every disruption hurt.

National media found it much more convenient to interview governors from the east and west coasts as opposed to the Governor of Michigan. Additionally, there was the matter of “production values”. The Governor of Michigan was notorious for sweating like a sinner in church and her makeup disintegrating and then migrating in massive, slab avalanches.

By nine in the morning Michigan’s governor signed an Executive Order shutting all industry in Michigan except for food production intended for local use, retail and gambling. Night-time illumination was made illegal as were the use of clothes driers and electric water heaters.

In round numbers, one third of Michigan’s power budget is used by power-intensive industries like foundries, steel mills and automobile plants. One third is used by less intensive industries like light assembly, insurance and retail. The remaining third is used “domestically” for heating and running house-holds.

With a simple stroke-of-the-pen, the Governor had “fixed” the problem.

While the Big-Three domestic automotive manufacturers understood the necessity, they also deduced that they were going to lose at least 4% of their annual sales to competitors whose factories were outside of Michigan. If the shutdown lasted more than a month, then the sales drop would be more like 10% and the companies would be totally shellacked in the stock market.

The Big-Three’s Boards-of-Directors had emergency meetings and the realestate divisions were authorized to execute options to secure sites in Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and other states with better energy security than Michigan. It is all well and good to be socially responsible but not to the point where your enterprise becomes extinct.

One fall-out of the Governor’s heavy-handed edicts was that retail sales of food to individual households was curtailed. Domestic cooking is EXTREMELY energy inefficient. Much energy never hits the pan. Much energy is expended bringing the pan or oven up-to-heat. Industrial cooking is much more efficient than the typical pan of Mac-n-Cheese over the stove.

Compare that to industrial cooking. The oven, once at-heat, has a continuous flow of food through it. Very little heat is wasted as “over-head” compared to typical domestic cooking.

Additionally, the cost of energy is a very small part of domestic cooking so energy efficiency is not a design priority. However, the cost of energy can be the difference between profit-and-loss in a commercial concern. The heat wasted in an oven also adds cost during the summer as it increases air conditioning load. Energy efficiency is a VERY big deal in commercial food preparation equipment.

If Jarrell thought the emergency would reduce his work load he was sadly mistaken.


1 comment:

Readers who are willing to comment make this a better blog. Civil dialog is a valuable thing.