WAPA : History of power in the western United States

pacific-intertie.jpgWAPA (Western Area Power Administration) has fantastic documentation of their existence since 1978 detailing all of the huge projects they've worked on including :

  • The Pacific Northwest-Pacific Southwest intertie providing long distance energy transmission from the Pacific Northwest to Los Angeles (specs)
  • The Dalles Dam (Ever wanted to know how to help protect fish from going through massive turbines in dams? Just use Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes computational fluid dynamics of course)
  • The installation of a phase-shifting transformer at Glen Canyon to deal with loopflow problems. It's 624.7 tons, 46 feet long, 40 feet wide and 24 feet tall. What's loopflow you may ask?

    Power physically follows the path of least resistance. Problems occur because this may or may not be the same as the contract path. Loopflow stems from the difference between scheduled power (the amount intended to flow) and the actual power (the amount actually flowing) on a transmission line or system.

There's tons of other interesting information you can find over at the WAPA site :

Hydropower comes in third among sources of electric energy production, behind fossil fuel with 73 percent of the market and nuclear at 14 percent. Energy drawn from the sun, wind and biomass (agricultural or municipal waste materials) accounts for less than 1 percent.

Now all I gotta find is a high res map of the major transmission lines for the US. I also want to head out to tracy and check out the intertie. I'd like to see a cable speced to carry 800,000 volts direct current. I think I'll also head over to Sylmar next time I'm in LA to see the termination point of this thing.

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