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June 18, 2004

Zombification and the power grid

Good question.

After watching Dawn of the Dead, I am left to wonder about one thing: If we were to suffer an apocalypse where most of the living became flesh-eating zombies, how long, assuming I survived, would I continue to receive hydroelectricity from my power company? Is it a mean-time-before-failure situation, or would the system automatically shut itself down after a few days? (I am assuming that most of the people who were supposed to be maintaining things at my hydro company would be out looking for brains, and that the surviving hydro employees would be busy digging shelters, etc.) Also, what's the outlook like for people whose chunk of the power grid is supplied by coal, nuclear, and other types of energy? Just wondering how many solar panels I should be putting on my roof!

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 18, 2004 08:26 AM

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If one presumes that flesh-eating zombies don't use microwave ovens or need task lighting, you're stuffed. The hydroelectric plant would more or less automatically notice the dropoff in load and throttle down until it shut itself off. There's a minimum it has to produce, and electricity produced has to be used simultaneously; you can't save it up for later.

Of course, in Canada you're stuffed anyway the first time it gets cold and rainy. It takes a lot to keep the power lines up and operating, and Brain Eaters almost certainly won't have any interest in such tedium. That's true for any power source, so get cracking on that solar cell installation. And if, by chance, you should become a zombie yourself, the extra ergs from the battery pack should give you that bit of advantage to keep you ahead of the pack.

Ric Locke

Posted by: Ric Locke at June 18, 2004 08:18 PM