Mapper's Challenge #16 - December 2017 - Power! Unlimited Power!

Posted by Alessa on 9 December 2017 in French (Français)

Hello, fellow mappers.

Last month's challenge had some very creative submissions! I could never have imagined the results. For this month, we have another interesting topic to tackle even if it isn't all that creative. So, yes, how do we power all those obnoxious holiday lights that our citizens put up? This is a broad challenge that can range from quite easy to quite hard. More importantly, it fills in a huge gap in our map right now. The theme of this month is "Power! Unlimited Power!" The idea for this challenge is to launch your country's electrical grid. This can range from a simple power plant to the transmission lines.

I don't purport to be an expert at this by any stretch of the imagination. I've been doing my homework on it for Mauretia for some time. For most of us, the OSM documentation is going to be invaluable. There is a pretty good write-up there about how things work (not just how they're tagged). Obviously, electricity has to be generated somewhere. This could be a hydroelectric dam, a coal plant, a mine, etc.

An easy version of this challenge might be to simply build a power-plant. Most power plants generate some type of pollution, so you'll want to keep them away from most development other than some industry, like this coal-powered plant. If you're wanting to do something like solar power or wind power, you have to carefully consider your climate. Mauretia is probably not going to be a big solar-power producer. The sea gives it a wind-power potential near the coast or in shallow waters, however. Countries like Spain have a great potential, and can capitalize on it. Those countries with volcanism like Iceland can maybe tap into geothermal power. Be sure to carefully consider what is available to your country and not a pet project that you think is better. Cost and development of the country also matters.

To get more and more difficult, add the transmission lines. Standard wooden poles in North America (Canada and United States) are generally placed about 45–60m apart on flat terrain. Tower distances can vary based on height and regional windiness. These towers, for example, are about 245m apart. Remember that transmission lines sag so they can sway in the wind. If they're too tight, they snap. Your citizens will then snap if they can't play that silly candy game on their uPhones. Also note the wide easement needed for those four transmission line complexes. Next, all that has to relay from somewhere. There's a transition substation just south of where I linked above. These lines extend for miles upon miles, so the complex here needs to be large enough to handle that amount of electricity.

I hope all this makes sense! Good luck tackling this important challenge!

Comment from eklas on 9 December 2017 at 21:12

What a coincidence! Just before reading this, I drew this power substation in Drabantský Kolín. I usually draw the power network of the area I'm working on, but I am not an expert at all though. Mapping power lines isn't my favorite. I know some basics of how electricity works, but I might make mistakes.

Oh and I also have this scheme from my bliki earlier this year:

Alt text

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Comment from zhenkang on 10 December 2017 at 00:36

I have been thinking of power generators, just that I don't know how to design or create them. Maybe I go to OSM then see first.

Besides power, another challenge could also be creating water treatment plants and sewage.

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Comment from dono87 on 10 December 2017 at 18:39

^^ Nuclear power plants are typically thought of as "sensitive" sites and would be unlikely to be placed so close to national borders

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Comment from Leowezy on 10 December 2017 at 21:01

@dono, while Kojo will definitely appreciate it if Ataraxia won't build any nuclear power plants close to our shared border, I just took a look at this map of NPP in France, and I must say I get the impression the opposite is true in the real world ;) Though on a second thought it's probably the availability of cold surface water (i.e. rivers) for cooling the reactors that prompted my dear neighbours to place two plants so close to the German-French border, and not some kind of morbid hatred towards Baden-Württembergians or Luxembourgish.

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Comment from Alessa on 10 December 2017 at 21:59

@eklas: I forgot you had done that. Cool! You'll be in good shape for this challenge. :)

@zhenkang: Yes, water treatment and sewage, along with trash and landfills, are on my future list that I keep offsite. Good thinking.

@dono87, @Leowezy: I think it depends on the situation. Realpolitik seems to dictate that international relations that are strained or potentially volatile would limit building in some areas. Notice that France doesn't have any immediately near Spain. Could it be the situation under Franco, when many of these reactors were built, that influenced this? Of course, there are fewer good sites the closer you get to the Pyrenees. For example, I've been around the Gravelines reactor; it's a strange experience spending a day at la plage de Petit-Fort-Philippe and having the reactor loom right over you. I have long wondered how vulnerable that location is. It seemed like we were always right next to it! Our OGF world doesn't seem to suffer from the same environment that has a perpetual terrorism threat, but I still don't think our countries would be lulled into making places be vulnerable to potentially oppositional powers or groups.

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Comment from zhenkang on 11 December 2017 at 01:18

Another challenge is the location. A coal plant shouldn't be bear any residential area, or else the smog from the plant will result in complaints.

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Comment from Luciano on 11 December 2017 at 04:12

@dono87 & @Leowezy ... I used to live within walking distance of one of two of South Korea's main nuclear facilities. You go over the hill, and there is, one of the largest in the world, in terms of generating capacity, apparently. And it's sitting on landfill, at the sea, a smallish fishing and farming town. You could swear you could almost see China in the hazy distance sometimes, across the Yellow Sea. It seemed quite oddly placed - almost as if the South Koreans had thought: "let's put it somewhere such that if it blows, the Chinese mostly have to deal with it."

I decided to record the work I've done on Tárrases' electric grid to a page in my Sandbox. I actually have done quite a bit - to the point that I consider it more than 50% complete. Here:

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Comment from dono87 on 11 December 2017 at 11:14

Oh, hah good point. In that case, I should go map some nuclear reactors next to Kojo and Wiwaxia then ;)

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Comment from No Way on 11 December 2017 at 18:07

I put a main transmission power line in the first town I mapped and haven't done anything else with power since then. Good thinking.

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Comment from Rustem Pasha on 11 December 2017 at 18:10

@Luciano, I think they were more afraid of North Korea than China, because even if China ever attack South Korea, they would not turn it into radioactive ash land. Kim may try to do it every moment, because he does not take decisions using logic of the rest of the world, he thinks only about his ideology not economy.

What is more important when we put the nuclear power plant is the number of people in the zone of evacuation. Example of Chernobyl and Prypeć ilustrates this problem. About 50k people had to be evacuated but the evacuation zone had a radius of only 30 kilometres, so for security reasons it would be logical to put a nuclear power plant from 30 ro 50 kilometres away from major cities despite energy loses due transportation.

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