Russia Continues to Escalate Electrical Grid/Infrastructure Attacks; Charges Over Attack on Poland Shift Focus from Damage

We’ve been saying for some time that both the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Western press have been saying peculiarly little about Russia’s ongoing attacks against the Ukraine electrical grid and other supposed dual military/civilian use infrastructure.

But sometimes things get too obvious not to notice. Russia’s attacks all over Ukraine yesterday local afternoon time, which included the heretofore spared Odessa, fell in that category. The initial reason was the scale and scope of the bombing, but the focus quickly shifted to accusations that a missile hit on a truck in Poland was Russia’s doing; as we’ll explain shortly, Biden has said it’s unlikely, plus the photos show the weapon to be a S300 anti-aircraft missile, which is used by Ukraine.

The media widely reported that these were the biggest infrastructure attacks so far, deploying nearly 100 missiles. The included a hit on the building that houses the headquarters of Ukraine’s army, the first time Russia has targeted a decision center. This image is from Military Summary, with the orange plane thingies signifying targets (find the one in the Odessa region if you are unsure). If readers know of an easier-to-read map, please advise and I can add it or swap it out:

Generally speaking, since they started on October 10, most have gotten barely a mention despite the fact that Russia appears to act roughly twice a week; for instance, Russia launched a barrage mid last week.1

However, the media has sat up and paid notice to the big strikes, typically a barrage of cruise missiles and accompanying drones, with the drones sometimes launched the following day. Those took place first shortly after the Kerch Bridge bombing and then the strikes on Sevastopol. The second barrage was bigger than the first and the one yesterday, the largest and most extensive yet.

Note also that the hits yesterday, unlike the earlier big rounds were not retaliatory. Yet these “massive” strikes have been getting bigger over time. Rybar’s early take on the last round:

Rybar’s team continues to analyze the consequences of systemic fire damage to Ukrainian energy system facilities.

In Kyiv, they said that today’s raid was the largest such attack since the beginning of the NWO. According to Ukrainian resources, cruise missiles and kamikaze drones damaged 15 critical infrastructure facilities.

We have repeatedly written that strikes have a cumulative effect, when each subsequent raid leads to more and more serious consequences for the Ukrainian energy system. This is what today’s events have demonstrated:

▪️Arrivals at the Zmievskaya TPP in the Chuguevsky district temporarily completely de-energized the entire Kharkiv region.

▪️Attacks on objects in Kiev led to massive overloads in the power grid and the operation of emergency automatic frequency unloading, which was clearly visible in the frames with pulsating power on and power outages.

▪️Repeated strikes on substation Zhytomyr 330 led to a power outage in this regional center and areas around it.

▪️Voltage fluctuations and temporary power outages were recorded in the western regions of Ukraine after regular attacks on the Lvov-Yuzhnaya 330 substation in Lviv and the Kovel 330 substation in the Volyn regions.

🔻For the first time, Moldova also experienced the consequences of Russian missile strikes : paradoxically, they were the result of the policy of the authorities themselves in Chisinau.

➖Restrictions on gas supplies to Transnistria led to a decrease in the generation of the Moldavskaya GRES, which, with its capacity, stabilized the situation in the south of the Odessa region and fed energy-deficient Moldova.

➖Due to a decrease in capacity and increased consumption by Ukraine, aggravated by a possible strike on the Artsyz 330 substation , automatic protection worked at the GRES. The station switched to work for its own needs, which provoked a shutdown of consumers in Moldova and Transnistria.

➖Also, a section of the 750 kV transit high-voltage line on the territory of Romania was disconnected, which may indirectly indicate possible short circuits from the 750 kV outdoor switchgear of the South Ukrainian NPP.

🔻The lack of objective data from most of the impact sites did not allow us to accurately determine which specific elements of the energy objects became the target of each attack.

However, thick black plumes could be seen in the photos and videos from the arrival areas. This indirectly indicates that, with a high probability, the strikes were again inflicted on power and automatic transformers, and not on general plant control points (OCP).

❗️Their safety once again will allow Ukrainian power engineers to assemble emergency schemes and eliminate damaged equipment in a relatively short time. Yes, this will cause even more severe restrictions, but the electricity supply to consumers will be restored.

Rybar seems disappointed that Ukraine will be able to regroup from much of this damage. What they miss is the cumulative impact. The system was estimated to have lost 40% of effective capacity due to the destruction of difficult to impossible to replace transformers plus long distance lines and line junctions making it hard to load balance and to move power to areas of the grid not in close proximity to a generating facility. As reader Greg pointed out, even a 60% level combined with the >10% increase in demand could move the system into a catastrophic collapse, an that was before the barrage yesterday:

I believe the Helmer post mentioned it a little, but there’s a fairly complicated engineering discussion to be had about how degraded capacity plays out. It’s not about gradually reducing the grid by subtracting percentages, it’s about keeping it continually stressed below the point at which load balancing becomes impossible. The destruction of the central balancing facility in Kiev during the attacks immediately after the Crimea bridge bombing is part of this.

So what we’re likely to see is that the continued degradation of the grid keeps it around 60% generation capacity, because the nukes provide a big chunk of generation. But the ability to supply that 60% generation to consumers is going to collapse because the fluctuating frequencies around the grid combined with the inability to step supply down to local needs will cause destructive load imbalances at the remaining facilities.

It seems likely that the onset of truly cold weather will trigger this load-imbalance collapse, because of the increase in demand (although caveated that a large amount of heating in Ukraine is provided by the power plants, so winter energy increases aren’t as big as in more electrically-dependent countries).

We’ve seen at least one report already of a facility that wasn’t targeted by Russians catching fire, indicating load problems.

So is Russia now moving to making ever larger degradations of Ukraine’s infrastructure on a periodic basis, whether or not there is a provocation? Perhaps Russian officials will state otherwise, but this volley seems unlikely to have been executed in connection with the Kherson withdrawal…particularly since the Russian left Ukraine holding a deflated balloon.2 Per Ukrainian News:

Before fleeing, Russian occupiers in the south of Ukraine blew up an energy facility that provided power to the de-occupied territory and a large part of the Mykolayiv Region and shot the batteries.

Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, the chairman of the board of Ukrenergo, said this on Facebook.

“Two auto transformers, each weighing 250 tons, were blown up. The relay protection hall, compressor, battery – which, according to the terrorists, did not make explosions, were additionally shot and crushed.”…

As the Ukrainian News agency earlier reported, in Kherson, the occupiers blew up the CHP plant, regional power plant, and water canal. The city was left without electricity and water.

Needless to say, the timing of this move should dispatch any fantasies that the US and Russia, to the extent that they have been communicating, were engaged in anything more than pro-forma restatements of existing positions:

Russia would not escalate, particularly during the G20, if there were any thawing. Indeed, if there had been anything that could have been dimly thought of as discussions about Ukraine, you can be sure that the party on the Western side would be complainingly loudly about Russia acting in bad faith.

So back to the big picture. As John Helmer described long-form on October 10 (ironically the day Russia launched massive strikes in retaliation for the Kerch Bridge attack), Russia’s had been quietly targeting the electrical grid for some time. Some of the salvos did get noticed, such as when Russia destroyed the transformers serving the train system, which meant Ukraine would be able to use only its comparatively small number of diesel trains to support supply lines. But look at the under-the-radar damage:

According to Ukrainian sources, about 1,700 cities, towns and villages, with about 1 million consumers, were without power in mid-March; the most seriously affected were the regions of Sumy, Chernigov, Nikolaev and Donetsk. . On May 3, Ukrainian and western media reported a missile strike against power plants in the western Galicia region capital of Lvov; sub-stations supplying electricity to the railway system in the region were also hit. The biggest of the Russian attacks on Ukrainian electricity plants was reported in the western press, again quoting Kiev sources, on September 11-12. Power plants in Kharkov, Sumy, Poltava and Dnipropetrovsk regions were stopped.

Russia can prostrate Ukraine solely via keeping up these attacks. Of course, that will happen to cause a humanitarian and refugee crisis. As Helmer pointed out, and we underscored, Russia has spared the train lines that connect the major cities in the West to the border, no doubt to facilitate flight.

And the striking failure of the Western press to say all that much about rapidly deteriorating conditions in Kiev seems to suggest European ambivalence about having to take in and support millions of departing Ukrainians.

The destruction of the grid may also be a fallback in eventually dictating terms regarding Western Ukraine. We had earlier thought controlling the Black Sea coast would be essential in reducing Ukraine to a weak and essentially captive state. But if Russia makes the cities of Western Ukraine unpalatable to all but the Ukrainian analogue to preppers, in so doing has also torpedoed what is left of its economy….and also is the only country with the electrical equipment to rebuild in a not hugely protracted time frame…what happens then?

In the meantime, US and EU leaders are in a lather over the question of whether a shell that hit a truck in Poland and killed two was fired by Russia. Despite the ongoing efforts of Poland to stir that pot, it seems pretty certain not. Russia indignantly said it hit all of its targets and none were near Poland. Images of the missile show it to be from the S300, a Soviet air defense system used by Ukraine. And if a Russian cruise missile had gone astray, there would have been a much bigger impact.

Nevertheless, NATO ambassadors are set to meet and they may still use the Ukraine misfire as an excuse to Do Something. Yet they appear to be continuing to underplay the way Russia is taking Ukraine apart piece by piece…perhaps because they have no way to stop it.


1 Ukraine also announced air defense alerts all over the country Sunday before down and during the day. Ukrainska Pravda claimed it was because a Mig that could have been carrying a Kinzhal took off from Belarus, along with a fighter jet. The number of alerts seems disproportionate to those triggers, but Ukraine has not said there were small scale attacks, say via drones.

2 From reader Karl in comments:

RE: Russia blew some transformers at the [Karkhovka] hydroelectric station

As with this hydro plant, Russia has targeted transmission equipment (e.g. substations) rather than generators. If Ukraine doesn’t have spare transformers and other long-lead-time items to replace those that Russia has destroyed, it’s grid will be inoperable for a long time.

Transformers of the requisite size for this 360 MW plant are typically very long lead time items (sometimes years). U.S. based firms used to make them but now only a few firms in the world do so in this concentrated industry, mostly in Germany, Japan and China. Due to their complexity, transformers are typically ordered well in advance of the end of their useful life, and the queues can be long. A large utility will typically have spares available for contingencies, but sometimes the right spare isn’t always available. In the U.S., transformer failure is such a big deal to system operation and reliability that utilities have cooperative agreements to provide their spares when another utility’s transformer has “blown” if a spare isn’t available in-house. My guess is that most spares that meet Russian specs (different from European) are located in Russia. Bummer.

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  1. Ashburn

    Amazing to see the fast media turnaround on the missile strike in Poland. This morning’s major media is putting it on the front page above the fold in the WaPo, NYT, WSJ, and UK Guardian that it was an errant Ukrainian air defense missile—not a Russian strike. There seems to be a major effort underway to cool any hot takes regarding NATO’s possible reactions. This full court press by the media looks to have been directed from higher officialdom within the US/NATO.

    This also aligns with the media’s under reporting on the damage caused by these Russian attacks on the electrical grid. My take is that Washington doesn’t want to acknowledge Ukraine’s dire position, but also doesn’t want to escalate to direct NATO involvement. In other words, let’s keep this proxy war going (to the last Ukrainian) but make sure NATO stays out of direct involvement.

    1. The Rev Kev

      On the news a few hours ago in Oz they kept on talking about a Russian missile when more accurately is was a Russian-designed missile. But you just know that it was deliberately worded that way on purpose.

      But you do wonder. Did the Ukraine deliberately fire missiles on Poland to try to blame the Russians so that NATO could get involved and maybe bail them out? I wouldn’t put it past Zelensky and Co.

      1. digi_owl

        More like an ex-soviet antique.

        And perhaps the second time an Ukranian museum piece have ended up in the wrong place.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Technically those missiles should have a shelf-life of ten years in their sealed containers, give or take a few. So unless Ukraine makes these things, it was probably way past it’s best before date.

          Nevertheless, I think the point Helmer (and Peskov) is trying to make is that Polish authorities were, or should have been, aware of the origin of the missile almost immediately – given the location, the fragments and the NATO intelligence and yet they chose to make all the noise blaming (or at least framing) Russia.

          Same of course goes for the whole western MSM which did not even pretend to be conveyor of unbiased information but a Ukrainian propaganda machine at full trust.

          There probably is a timeline where an event like this would have caused resignations and ends of careers.

      2. Lex

        Even more accurately, it was a Soviet missile. Very likely a soviet missile produced in Ukraine (I don’t know where S-300 rocket components were manufactured, but Ukraine was very important in the USSR’s MIC and especially for rocketry.) I guess it’s possible that S-300s sold to other countries after 1991 have found their way to Ukraine at this point, but the basic information suggests that all of Ukraine’s stocks are Soviet patrimony.

        I do wonder, mostly because Zelensky’s office went immediately to the media to make the claim and even now is continuing the claim that it was a Russian strike, though couching the wording more carefully than yesterday. The answer to the question is probably info we won’t ever see. The landing in Poland is said to be about 16:00 local time, so was there a missile strike around Lvov at that time yesterday? If not, why were Ukrainians firing air defense missiles?

        1. juno mas

          I’ve read reports indicating the Russian missile attack occurred just before dark (so that repair/damage assessment by Ukraine would be more difficult in the cold and dark).

          16;00 local time seems to be plausible.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Polish mayor is telling. Local governments are the front line of government policies and run by relatively important people. Dam braking attitudes is likely a worry in Kiev.

          -Do you favor a minor inconvenience to protect the white enough from the Hordes?

          -Do you favor major disruptions, people, especially freezing, bankruptcies, a collapse of industrial policy so Azov can shell civilians of their heart’s content?

          As the thinking moves from the former to the latter, Ukraine runs into a problem. It’s a wrecked country, effectively cut off except charity from major economic hubs. Bot farms, crypto mining, and organ harvesting…we have a winner. This is the case if the guns fall silent today.

      3. Lachlan

        I don’t think they deliberately fired it, but they did make the most of the accident.

        I think immediately blaming Russia and clamouring for more support and article 4 to be declared etc was the best thing they could have done in the circumstances, they’d be silly to just straight up publicly take responsibility. Better to try and force NATO into a decision – either back Ukraine up or make Poland and Ukraine look fools for blaming Russia straight away. As we can see NATO called their bluff but it was a decent gambit the best course of action available imo.

        1. Polar Socialist

          Dunno. Where I live the media is saying, for the first time ever, that Ukraine failed in the information war handling this incident. And another expert was allowed to state that Russia could hit Ukraine much harder, if it wanted.

          Almost as if even the propagandist journalists don’t want to deal with the fact that do very bad journalism regarding this war, so to ease the pain in that place where they used to have professional ethics they try something that distantly reminds of unbiased reporting.

  2. voislav

    I’ll add that in Ukraine the while the hot water for heating is produced by the power plant, it is distributed throughout the city through a network of substations, each with it’s own electrically-powered pumps. For example, large apartment buildings will have their own substation in the basement to provide enough pressure to pump hot water to the top floor. So whenever local power is out the heat is out, regardless of the power plant status.

    Furthermore, most of these buildings are post-WWII, so they don’t have any chimneys or other facilities for alternative heating methods, they were designed for centralized heating. Only alternative is electric heaters, but the power distribution system is not designed to handle the load of everyone using electric heaters.

    Having lived through this in the Balkans in the 90’s, it gets ugly pretty fast. You need about 12 hours of power a day to keep the premises livable in the winter. We typically had 16 and had electric storage heaters, but if the power went off for a day or two, it got cold quick.

    I also wonder about the frontline troop morale. Ukraine mobilized their older age groups, so once winter starts and the cities start freezing, what will be the reaction of frontline troops when they start getting calls from their families?

    1. Polar Socialist

      Your comment reminded me: Hungary reported last night that the Druzhba pipeline for oil from Russia trough Ukraine is currently our of action due to pumping stations in Ukraine having no electricity.

  3. Tom Pfotzer

    More on transformers, and their replacement cycle. From the article above:

    Two auto transformers, each weighing 250 tons, were blown up.

    a 250-ton transformer is an over-size, bulky, heavy, monolithic device. No truck can haul that, and even the railcar the does haul it is a very special piece of equipment. Here’s what it looks like.

    And 250 tons exceeds the capacity of even this specialized rail-car. These transformers are very awkward to move. I’m not sure how they’d actually move it, if it’s really 250 tons (assembled)and can’t be moved in sections.

    Destroying one of these transformers means a rather long transport-prep cycle, even if a replacement transformer was readily available. Look at the size of that rail-car; it’d be really easy to identify from the air, and the train that pulls it has to move slowly.

    Remember: Ukraine and Russia’s rail-gauge (distance between the rails) is different than that in EU. So that specialized rail-car has to be in Ukraine’s inventory of rolling stock. Is it still extant?

    Power is going to be out for a long time wherever this type of equipment has been destroyed. Probably for years, not months.

    That fact changes very much the picture for western Ukraine. How can you fight with no power? How can the citizens live without power? And no economy?

    Of course they can’t.

    So when Russia shores up their defensive line, vacates locations that are hard to defend, brings in fresh troops to replace battle weary soldiers…that all makes sense to me.

    Russia is now in position to wait until reality sinks in, and the collapse happens. No further territory is needed until the collapse happens, and then it’s time to take what else, if anything, is needed to preserve long-term security, or obtain useful bargaining chips.


    One thing I would be very interested to hear about is the pace and econ-sector of continued SCO economic integration and trade with Russia as one of the trading partners. The goal of the US’ Ukraine engagement was to derail that integration.

    I wonder where things are on that front, e.g. the economic-integration front. The trade flows tell the long story.

    1. XXYY

      This is super interesting. Thanks for the post.

      As we saw with Chernobyl and Fukushima (as dramatic examples), it is very possible to break things in a way that they can never be fixed under realistic circumstances. This is quite wild.

      The scope of human activities historically has been on a small enough and safe enough scale that damaged parts could be replaced relatively easily and quickly. We have become accustomed to that and assume any damage is only temporary.

      From an engineering standpoint, I would posit that any system that involves difficult or impossible to replace parts is a faulty design since it lacks the crucial property of resilience.

        1. Tom Pfotzer

          Ah. A structural engineer.

          If / when NC takes up the issue of “what would a viable, energy- and materials-efficient household structure look like”, I hope you’ll be around for the conv.

          One of the reasons “economists get it wrong” – and of course they do – is because economists don’t have a lot of technical training, and can’t accurately evaluate the impact on an economy of a major shift in technology.

          Technology has more impact on an economy than politics. Do you doubt that statement? May I ask you to consider the impact on an economy of:

          – electric motors
          – steel
          – fossil fuels
          – antibiotics
          – fertilizer
          – assembly lines (Ford, et. al)
          – light bulb
          – semiconductors and cheap computers
          – telecomm; telephone, cell phone, internet

          Did economists predict these impacts? Nope. They said “who coulda knowed?”

          Were they even able to assess the likely magnitude, velocity, and usages of these innovations once they made the scene? No.

          Did those technical innovations (forces) affect the economy, and radically change the design of the host economy?

          I’ll let that question hang in the air for a minute.

          Did these forces have greater or lesser economic impact than one or the other of capitalism, socialism, or communism?

          Another moment of reflection is offered.

          The “gateway” event(s) for we humans to achieve a durable peace and prosperity are largely technical innovations. We can “dream it”, but until the products to enable it are present…not happening.

          Remember: technical innovations can enable humans to _fit into_ the natural world; they don’t have to degrade it, as they currently tend to do. It’s about priorities, and it’s about determination.

          1. Karl

            Tom, I generally love your comments but this time I’m going to be a bit argumentative. As an engineer and an economist I have to differ with your characterization (by the way, lots of economists have technical training).

            Economists cannot predict the unpredictable (nor can anyone else) . No one, in any field, could have predicted the impact of any new technology until the “early adopter” phase had established the technical and economic feasibility of a variety of applications. Before this phase, the entrepreneur goes with his gut. That’s why the failure rate of new ventures is so high. The one success pays for the dozen failures, which is why venture capitalists can’t put too much money on any one bet.

            Economists, market analysts, etc. have actually studied the diffusion of new technologies into an economy quite extensively. Most new advances follow the pattern of the familiar logistic curve: initial exponential growth followed by saturation and ultimately decay. The big question is not so much a new technology per se but which horse to bet on and when it’s superseded by something better (initiating the decay phase). Again, you need to bet early and often on many horses to win at the “new technology” game.

            Technology has more impact on an economy than politics.

            Sorry, I think this, too, is overly simplistic. Probably the biggest influence on an economy and technology is national security expenditure (and particularly warfare itself), which are driven by politics. Nuclear power, satellites, the computer chip, GPS, data mining, internet etc. etc.–all came out of government labs funded by DOD, NASA, etc. which are driven to a very considerable extent by the interplay of politics, bureaucrats, lobbyists….

            The economy, technology and politics all influence each other in very complex ways. Which is “dominant” — that depends!

            1. Tom Pfotzer

              Hey, Karl – I hope you circle back to see my reply.

              First, great comment. Solid stuff. Now for rejoinder:

              a. I don’t care who pays for the technology; I care that it exists, or not.
              b. If it exists, people may use it. If not, they can’t, no matter the politics.

              My point above is that:

              a. it’s important to innovate in highly fruitful areas, and
              b. we (U.S. society) isn’t doing enough of it, and
              c. we’re doing the same amount of resource mis-allocation regardless of the political context we happen to be in. I used capitalism / socialism / communism as the context-segments, but red-team blue-team would be just as good at demonstrating that politics isn’t contributing all that much to our rate and direction of technical innovation at the moment

              To affirm your point: yes, Gov’t $ has made a big difference in some spots in the past, and you identified the seed-capital moments. But the subsequent rounds of investment (effort and capital) came mostly bottom-up from the rest of society. And the money the Gov’t spent…came from the rest of society.

              And consider: the U.S. Gov’t spent about $5T last year, or 20% of GDP.

              What big innovation did they fund / develop in 2021?


              Now about those economists.

              I assert that economists generally do not seem to have sufficient grasp of how the physical economy actually functions in order to diagnose long-term fail-points, ID potential solutions, and advocate for the allocation of capital to strategic tech sectors, like China and Russia are currently doing.

              To wit: where are all the econ analyses, generally entitled “Economy 2.0: Where America Goes From Here”, versions of which _should be coming_ from the CBO, the Fed, major Econ schools, the think tanks…all those nodes of highly trained economists…where are those white papers? Why aren’t they published in the WSJ and the White House website, etc.?

              We’re clearly being vastly affected by reduction in aggregate demand due to automation and outsourcing. We’re not getting any big investment or wealth-creating effect of major run-up in debt at household, industry, and all levels of gov’t. Our global competitors have caught up. We have a major, major competitive strategy make-over needed.

              Most of that stuff has its roots in technology.

              What have economists said about these things?

              So, that’s my case. Are economists producing those sorts of policy papers, and I have blithely missed it?

              Do you think they understand the physical economy well enough to plot course (not pick specific techs) with a strategic plan?

              This is what I’m trying to ferret out, and if you’re an economist with tech training, then I really want to hear what you’ve got to say.

    2. Tom Pfotzer

      Sorry, folks, but my reporting re: capacity of these specialized railcars is not quite accurate.

      These cars could indeed handle 250 tons. Some can handle up to 1,000 tons.

      1. Karl

        For the Karkhovka dam the transformers may have reached the dam (at least part of the way) by barge.

        There are also very specialized humongous flat-bed trucks that can carry them on roads. You’ve undoubtedly seen the conveyances used to transport entire houses. They can span both lanes and require the escort of flagmen and vehicles front and back.

        I assume Ukraine has the equivalent of our “Corps of Engineers”. In warfare, these guys can accomplish amazing things. Moving 250 tons from point A to point B is probably more mundane for them than you think.

        1. Tom Pfotzer


          Yes, going the last few miles from rail-head or barge-terminal to the power plant would be accomplished with the transport platforms you suggested, but not likely for long distances.

          Also need to get a big crane on-location, like this one.

          So, there’s three big, expensive, slow-moving, and likely not-available devices needed to move that transformer. And I wouldn’t expect the Ukraine equivalent of the Corps of Engineers to have that gear; their equipment is aimed at loads like tanks, fuel trucks, bull-dozers and the like. I’ve never seen a Corps of Engineers – owned vehicle, or crane, like the ones you and I are discussing (e.g. 250 ton loads)

          Maybe they have them, but… I wonder. I think they contract for all that stuff.

  4. The Rev Kev

    I guess that the Russians were waiting for the Ukrainians to repair all the electrical equipment damaged during the last wave of attacks and then doing it all over again. Probably after last time, they were monitoring communications and listening to the Ukrainian technicians talk to each other about what repairs were being done and the status of spares and the like.

    But the Ukraine is going to freeze. So is it a matter of Putin doing this to force those people to go west which would further strain those countries supporting the Ukraine? If so, this would be really taking off the gloves to end this war sooner than later. And considering how many Ukrainians are getting killed each and every day in this war, it might end up saving more lives from both sides in the long run.

    1. redleg

      What I’m waiting for is the NATO Ukrainian strike that destroys the stockpiled replacement parts within Russia.

      1. ambrit

        I’ll bet that the Russians have already both dispersed the items under discussion, and hardened the defenses associated with those items, and the factories that make them. This looks to have been “gamed out” in advance. Just collecting the location data associated with this class of infrastructure takes time, even if it is languishing in a data repository somewhere in an old Soviet bureau headquarters building.
        There is now the question of how long the Russians want to inflict this pain on the Ukrainian population. The displacement of populations across borders with the attendant social and economic turmoil that will produce could well now be a part of the Russian overall plan. One does not have to physically blow something up to make it non-functional. NATO falls into that category.

        1. John Zelnicker

          Greetings from the Coast, ambrit. Hope you and yours are staying safe.

          I’ve read or listened to some analysts opining that creating a flood of refugees into the EU is indeed one of the strategies of the Russians. The idea is that the economic and social burdens of taking care of these folks will start to drive a wedge between the EU/NATO and the US. I think the Russians hope that EU leaders will realize that the sanctions, especially refusing to buy their gas and oil, is the source of most of their distress.

          If the European politicians refuse to accept these realities, I’m willing to bet that their citizens will take to the streets in an attempt to convince them to change course.

          Hope springs eternal.

  5. HH

    It is clear that the Russians can destroy Ukrainian infrastructure faster than NATO can replace it. Even an unlimited flow of dollars cannot magically replace costly and highly specialized electrical utility equipment. The US/NATO will either have to back away from this mess or escalate. If the path of escalation is chosen, we are all in grave danger because the Russians will not accept defeat in Ukraine.

        1. Jams O'Donnell

          And artillery shells?

          In any case, they would find themselves with no air cover within a week, similarly to the Ukraine. And they are not trained to fight without air cover. Plus the tank forces would also be decimated in the same time period, similarly to the Ukraine. They are not trained to fight without tanks.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Oh, he made it clear he thought it was a ridiculous idea. But escalating with China while we are deeply involved in a proxy war with Russia is also a ridiculous idea.

        2. redleg

          Troops that have been trained in counterinsurgency ops, not manoeuvre warfare, with supplies of munitions that are utterly inadequate for anything other than counterinsurgency ops, having logistics that are just as vulnerable as the electrical grid.

  6. Andrey Subbotin

    Ukraine has large overproduction of electricity, since much of the soviet-time industry was shut down, and stations supplying it remained in place. Moreover, more than half or generation is nuclear, which Russia dare not touch. In this situation targeting distribution is more efficient.

    I really do not understand what we are trying to achieve with those attacks. They disproportionally hurt civilians, while having only a small effect on Ukrainian war effort. It feels like the second iteration of summer strange war – pretending to be doing something, not willing to take steps leading to actual victory, and hoping something would happen. If this goes on, what will happen is another Russian defeat.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Because this is a blog and not an academic journal, I often skip over giving some key bits of backstory that I’ve gone over more than once. However, as a commentor, the onus to at least a degree is having your facts in order when you criticize a post.

      This piece (and past posts on this topic) made clear that the Russia is attacking distribution. Look at the Nova Kakhovka dam. It was the transfomers that were destroyed. The dam can still generate power but it can no longer be stepped up or dow to feed into the transmission lines. It is the turbines and generators that create the power. See here for details:

      So the power can still be generated at the dam but that is irrelevant because it is now going nowhere.

      Second, nuclear power plants can be disconnected from the grid as far as distribution is concerned. ZPP, which formerly provided ~20% of Ukraine’s electricity, was disconnected from the Ukraine grid (save to get power to keep the cooling systems running) since late August. That also means your figures about the role of nuclear power are out of date.

      Third, there is no longer is an effective surplus due to distribution issues. It was stated in the post that about 40% of Ukraine’s effective capacity is out. That is due to the balkanization of the grid and difficulties with load balancing. Kiev has to have four hour daily blackouts.

      Fourth, as we explained, colder weather will increase the number of hours the power will be off. From Kiev-Novyny on November 13, as in before yesterday’s strikes:

      In Kyiv, they may start turning off electricity for a longer period of time. The reason is a decrease in air temperature.

      This was announced by the executive director of DTEK Dmytro Sakharuk during the telethon.

      “When the temperature drops in our country, consumption will increase. Every 5-7 degrees of temperature decrease is 10% of consumption on the territory of Ukraine on average,” Sakharuk said.

      According to him, if specialists do not have time to repair and increase the amount of electricity that can be supplied to the capital, the periods of power outages may increase.

      “But I am not ready to say now whether it will be six or seven hours, or whether we will be able to fit in four hours, ” Saharuk summarized.

      The article also reminded readers of an outage on November 13, which sounded like all day.

      As for why Russia is hurting civilians, these measures impair military operations. Russia tried kid gloves and it got castrated soldiers, false accusations of war crimes, and terrorist attacks for its trouble. My impression is the leadership has concluded it is dealing with a Nazi state and can rationalize that civilians are de facto collaborators. Or that it has no surgical way to approach this problem given that Ukraine (as in the West) is continuing to make totally unreasonable demands for talks, including Western officials too often still calling for regime change and/or a breakup of Russia. You threaten Russia’s survival, you try to cancel Russia’s culture, no more half measures.

      Intermittent and unpredictable power greatly increases the difficulty of moving troops, resupply, and I assume communications. Having soldier be cold is demoralizing and impairs their ability to fight, even survive. I understand freezing to death is a comparatively pleasant way to go.

      1. Andrey Subbotin

        I agree that Russia targets distribution over generation and was trying to explain *why* Russia is doing it, which I do not remember being mentioned here, at least not prominently. Sorry if I was unclear about it.

        I did forget about ZPP though, you are right, and it makes ~40% of total nuclear generation.

        To reiterate, I do believe Russia will achieve the goal of mostly leaving major Ukrainian cities without electricity (and maybe heat in winter. Central heating requires some electricity to operate the pumps, but maybe they can rig it for independent reliable supply). I do not see how it translates into critical advantage in war. Soldiers in the trenches are not heated by electricity. And I do not think “your families are suffering in the rear” will translate into “let’s surrender” for them. Might be quite the opposite. Logistical difficulties there will be, but given that Ukraine only has to ship donated western stuff from Polish border to front lines, not produce anything, surmountable. Rewheeling extra diesel locomotives to Ukrainian rail gauge is not that difficult, and with some extra expense everything can be moved by truck.

        1. eg

          I suspect the effect of these strikes on Ukraine’s military logistics are much greater than you either know or would care to admit.

          1. Jams O'Donnell

            Most Ukrainian trains are electric, with only a few diesels. Trains are the most effective way to supply troop concentrations. No trains, then smaller loads on lorries, but equally subject to attack, plus supplies of fuel are limited now.

            1. Andrey Subbotin

              As a quick guesstimate – Ukraine currently has 2200 locomotives, 300 of them diesel. This also serviced passenger trains and industry, including metallurgy (mostly dead) and agriculture. Let’s say 1000 will be enough to supply the frontlines. Used diesel locomotives go for ~500000$ each, so we need $350 mil for extra 700 locomotives (admittedly there is a question of whether you can get that many on short notice. And yes, you will have to re-wheel them for Ukrainian gauge)

              Locomotives consume ~8 liters of diesel per kilometer. Let’s assume each train goes 1000 km per day, with unloading and repairs. So 8000 liters for $1.5 per liter per 1000 trains gives $12 mil per day, or $4.2 billion per year to run entire train fleet.

              So keeping Ukrainian railroads running in 2023 will cost $4.55 bn. You think NATO will not pay?

              1. hk

                Will any amount of money be able to get these items delivered, in quantity, in time? Serious question. Mind you that rebuilding rail infrastructure is only the first step, just to get other stuff delivered, which will cost at least an order of magnitude more.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  Sure. The only problem is that the gear that the Ukrainians need is only manufactured in the Russian Federation. So obviously the supply of that gear will have to form part of the eventually negotiated treaty. I doubt that the US or the EU will be interested in paying for it as by then they would have walked away from the Ukraine.

        2. David in Santa Cruz

          Leaving the major “Ukrainian” cities without electricity in winter is very likely to force more of the urban civilian population out of their homes. This would create a refugee crisis in the NATO periphery which can break the Western alliance and bring the Europeans to the negotiating table — which after all was the original goal of the Russian leadership.

        3. OIFVet

          There is a reason why we took out Iraq’s energy infrastructure first in 2003. It definitely hampers military logistics and communications, as well as creating certain amount of anti-regime discontent amongst civilians. All of this adds up and creates advantage for the attacker. As far as I can see, the difference between what we did in Iraq and what Russia is doing in Ukraine is that we destroyed generation capacity whereas Russia is destroying the distribution grid. The latter means that it will be easier to repair the damage once the war is over. Yes, those transformers will take time to be replaced, but cost and time wise generation capacity is much harder and expensive to replace.

          I did write after the Kharkov withdrawal that Russia needs to take the gloves off and go after the energy, communications, and transportation infrastructure. It appears that they are doing just that and in time for winter, too. Assuming that Ukraine does manage to overcome logistics issues with diesel locomotives (a rather big assumption), degradation of the command and control ability really renders the ability to move material and manpower moot.

          In any case, as you Russians say, we shall live and we shall see. But from where I am sitting, Russia is being very methodical in its build-up and in shaping the future battlefield to its advantage, an ability which Ukraine and its NATO handlers currently are unable to counter. Whatever the Stavka’s plans are, I think that they have decided that patience and conserving men and weapons systems will pay off as time passes. I tend to agree.

        4. Greg

          It has become clear that Ukraine is totally dependent on NATO intelligence and surveillance apparatus. Cutting the power in cities makes communications harder, less reliable, and in some cases impossible. Cutting the intel feeds directly impacts troop performance.
          Yes they will be able to compensate locally with generators, but they already have diesel shortages and those supplies are being attacked as well.

          To put it another way, the NATO approach to warfighting is heavily dependent on a well supplied, powered, and connected rear echelon. Attacking the grid is an attack on that.

          1. redleg

            If the electrical grid is out, moving fuel around to power generators becomes exponentially more difficult. Fuel doesn’t move itself around, it requires energy. Usually these are electric pumps and compressors, with electrical control systems. No electricity, no fuel. Gas and diesel generators need to be refuelled. Without electric trains, the fuel problem compounds. Without controls and communications, determining where the (trucked) fuel is/isn’t needed is a gigantic problem.

            War is about movement, communication, and delivering munitions to the intended target. Rendering the electrical grid useless makes movement and communication difficult at best, impossible at worst, and makes weapons impotent at any level other than local.

        5. upstater

          “Rewheeling” diesel locomotives is very difficult. While changing gauges has been done routinely for through passenger trains (eg, the Moscow-Berlin or Moscow-Nice services of a few years ago), the trucks (wheelsets) are swapped out. Diesel locomotives have trucks and the wheels are integral with the electric traction motors (diesel locomotives generate DC or AC current, which is fed to traction motors; there are smaller switching engines that have hydraulic transmissions). The locomotive trucks are huge castings and you cannot simply go from gauges 1435mm to 1520mm. One would need trucks designed for broad gauge, not simply swap wheels.

          On another subject, several years back a 230kv tie line between the large hydro plants in Niagara Falls Ontario and Niagara Falls NY, a distance of 2.5 miles, had a terminal equipment failure (IIRC, a step up transformer). It took 2 years and 8 months to replace and return the line to service. Transmission terminal equipment is very complex, very long lead times, and frequently bespoke design for its role in the grid. Such equipment have a 50 year life span.

          None of the high voltage stuff is made in the US. It comes from ABB in Europe, Hitachi in Japan or China. We can thank Jack Welch for gutting the industry. Once GE quit, Westinghouse soon followed.

      2. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit

        With emphasis on “hurting” and not “killing,” as is more common with other nations. No end of articles here have talked about the surgical and legal bases behind Russia’s strategy.

    2. Cetra Ess

      If you watch footage of the Ukrainians fighting (and there’s lots of non-Ukrainian soldier wannabes fighting (mostly each other) and proudly posting it to YouTube) one thing you’ll notice is there’s usually one person in each unit always on their iphone or ipad. Ukrainian command, control and communication is via these devices, they’re clearly using some app.

      I had assumed the sole reason the Russians were targeting the Ukrainian electrical grid was so they can’t charge these devices.

      Moreover, Brian Berletic at the New Atlas points out Ukrainian units need to traverse over 1000 km to reach the front. That’s a fairly large area with nowhere to charge.

  7. Altandmain

    Scott Ritter thinks that that the Polish government and the Baltic states were deliberately trying to escalate this anti-aircraft missile incident.

    The Polish and Baltic states had access to the same intelligence. They knowingly tried to use a Ukrianan missile that malfunctioned to try to bring NATO into this fight.

    1. Polar Socialist

      I do hope Swedes and Finns are watching carefully the madhouse they are about to enter to “improve their security”. No chance of buyers remorse once you’re a hostage to this level of insanity seeking only escalate, no matter the consequences.

      1. spud

        they have the same leadership as canada, new zeland, modolva, and the trampoline jumper in germany, etc. and as tulsi gabbard says, hillary is a very dangerous person, and should not be allowed in power.

      2. Kulaber

        You are right. In Turkiye, there were 3 military coups being; in 1960, 1970 and 1980 and a failed attempt in 2016. The one in 1980 smashed the left and right wingers, opening the way to the liberals and religious extermists serving Carter’s the green belt project against communism, trying to keep Turkiye as servant to West and as outpost of NATO against Soviets/Russia. The wealth and assets of our country has been transferred to West financials and Multinational Corporations since then. Many jounalists, academics, bureaucrats and soldiers not in line with the doctrine were either murdered or had fatal accidents. I think the people of Sweden and Finland should reject the idea of being a NATO member, they should focus on regional alliances instead, if security is their concern.

    2. Tom Pfotzer

      Key phrase:

      to try to bring NATO into this fight

      I think this is the main wild-card factor that Russia has to manage, and it’s the hail-mary pass that Ukraine and Poland in particular want to complete.

      Here in the U.S. it may actually be the main thing that the U.S. military wishes to avoid, and that the NeoCons wish to achieve; it may be the only way to delay the NeoCon’s day of reckoning.

      And I think that explains well the the deliberate, measured Russian response to all the provocations.


      Don’t forget to remind people, as RevKev did the other day, of the immense cost to the world of the NeoCon evil.

      Please consider posting, from time to time, your tally of the horrors-to-date. To get the message across, deft use of repetition is very helpful.

  8. Bsn

    This electrical grid destruction is interesting and may determine how wars are fought over the next couple of decades. A country (or even large band of insurgents or “terrorists”) could destabilize large cities or small countries by destroying a grid in this same manner, a multitude of highly explosive drones taking out transmission capabilities. Drones being relatively less expensive than cruise missiles, much less aircraft carriers and large armaments. So ……. seems like a good defensive measure is to out-fit a society with non-integrated solar capacity. Essentially leave the antiquated large scale “power grid” in the past and create localized solar capacity. Obviously the scale is not here yet, but it is inevitable and a good defensive measure.

    1. GF

      The best idea I have heard as far as preparations for disaster. Unfortunately only the rich will be able to do it as our government is not capable of doing things for the benefit of the population. Water treatment and nat gas facilities will need to harden their infrastructure to in order to keep functioning. Community micro-grids!!

    2. Greg

      While the details are under court ordered suppression, the leaks I’ve seen suggest that this series of sabotage actions by a local MAGA-hat equivalent were attacks on transformers.

      The rants the perp was posting prior outlined exactly the same sort of “transformers are weak point in grid” logic that we’re seeing Russia apply here. Happened last year, so not copy-catting.

    3. Lex

      My city of 20,000 is tied electrically to the wider grid by one line running over a river into a substation. We do have a gas plant (used to have a coal plant) and some hydro. But grids aren’t designed to be independent. I was involved in a project that required shutting that link down for a few hours to disconnect something else; the city power company demanded the project be delayed several months because of the outage lasted more than the planned two hours it couldn’t guarantee the city’s electrical supply.

      It’s a huge weak point. In the scenario of say a IS insurgency, the amount of transmission cabling that could be brought down by a couple of people with some basic tools is astounding. There are a lot of places where oil pipelines are only a few feet below ground or where the pump stations (needing lots of electricity) are located in the middle of nowhere but also easy to find.

  9. Boomheist

    The next four to six weeks will be stark, I think, because we have two basically immovable objects (this is a bad metaphor or phrase, I know): a greatly reduced Ukrainian electric grid, already suffering blackouts, and the certain onset of winter. This may have been a warm autumn over there, but it WILL get cold, well below freezing. This is a certainty. Leaving aside the impact on the soldiers in the field, on both sides (no fun, I am sure), consider some of the civilian imnplications. All those multi story Soviet style apartment buildings, heated with electric pumps and furnaces, will go cold. Water pipes will freeze, and break. Water supplies will cease in many cases. There will be a nearly immediate – as in, two or three days – population crisis, people fleeing to find warmth and safety, anywhere, anyhow. The West will howl about Russia being genocidal, causing this, and maybe this will stick in the West, but such howling will have no relation to the refugee flood. I expect the Russians will try to take in as many as they can, maybe Belarus, too, after making sure they are not Azov types, if only to show Russian empathy as compared to the certain howls from European states who are not likely to want more refugees. This is all going to bubble up into a major European crisis before Christmas, maybe even before December.

  10. David

    It’s been obvious from the very beginning that the Ukrainian regime has decided that its best, and probably only, chance of survival is to somehow get the West directly into the war on its side. The West has manipulated this way several times in the past (Bosnia and Kosovo for instance) but that was against weak opposition with no real risk of escalation. This time it’s different, and the West realises, at some level, that it is inferior to Russia where it matters, and is determined not to get involved. I wonder if the moment of truth is now approaching, and there is going to be a nasty contretemps between Ukraine and the West as it becomes unmistakably obvious what Ukraine’s plan actually is.

    To that extent, the Russian plan is quite clever. NATO has no assets that it can usefully deploy against Russian missiles and drones, and I suspect that AWACS aircraft, for example, can be fooled by decoys. In any event, if it’s a hypersonic missile coming at you all you can do is run. So as long as Russia stands off and uses missiles, and puts its main ground effort into the east of the country, there’s nothing much that NATO could do even if it wanted to. I have a feeling that the next few weeks are going to be increasingly tense between Kiev and Brussels.

    1. Stephen

      The irony of course is that Zelensky was prepared to negotiate back in March but was stopped by Biden, Johnson, Neo Cons et al. Now he is not able to win the war but NATO does not want to help so much, and is likely not capable of winning it for him either. NATO just wants to do enough so that the war continues.

      Geez. The life of an American / western client state leader is a bit of a no win situation! I chose not to use profanity but one could. Of course, this no win situation at the personal level is alleviated by hoped for money, residence rights and so forth if you survive.

      My comment below also made pretty much simultaneously with your note makes a similar point about fighting in the east from the Russian perspective. I think you are right.

    2. Retired Carpenter

      “In any event, if it’s a hypersonic missile coming at you all you can do is run.”
      Surely you jest.
      Retired Carpenter

      1. Greg

        Do you mean because you can’t outrun a hypersonic? Of course that’s true, but Ukraine is big and you can definitely run away from likely targets in the time a hypersonic takes to get from the first detection at the border and wherever you happen to be in the west of Ukraine.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Good points those. May I add that relations may also get tense between Brussels and Washington too?

      1. Kulaber

        If they were serving their people’s interests but obvioussly both Washinton and Brussels are serving other interests, not people’s and whats desired is happening. May be gets tense between Washington/Brussels and European Capitals,

    4. Polar Socialist

      In the light of recent events it’s obvious that the Polish regime is also very much into getting West directly involved.

    5. Cetra Ess

      It seems so strange to me. Who in their right mind would want to start a war between Russia and the Collective West. It’s so illogical. Even removing nukes from the equation this would result in worldwide misery.

      But then I remember there’s ideology about purity of bloodlines at play here, what started this was a large number of Ukrainians believing they are “pure”, wanting to pogrom “impure” Russians, Roma, Poles, etc.

      And on the American side it’s neocon ideology about American exceptionalism and hegemony.

      Even if the Minsk accords were signed tomorrow these two ideologies are now married, it won’t be the end of it, whether NATO has assets now or later, they’ll be wanting their crusades.

  11. Stephen

    I thought that Brian Berletic’s video from two days ago that was in Links yesterday was particularly insightful.

    In case anyone who is interested did not see it yet:

    Made the point that Russia is likely quite happy to be demilitarizing the Ukrainian army by fighting in the east, close to her own borders and logistics. This also complicates Ukrainian logistics, given that for certain things they trail back to Poland and beyond. It is an obvious point once it is said but like a lot of such insights it has not been made so much! Was a very helpful comment, I thought.

    Once you remove the mindset that war is all about a mad, rapid, glorious (or tragic) dash for territory but rather about destroying the enemy’s will and capacity to fight then Russia’s “patient” tactics start to fall into place.

  12. Boomheist

    Brian’s video is excellent. He makes the point that Russia has not taken out all the Dneiper bridges because the intent is to force Ukraine to use long supply lines, which makes them vulnerable, running materiel from the Polish Border all the way to eastern Ukraine. I think there is another reason those bridges (which essentially bisect the country north and south with the river) have not been removed is this retains Russia’s option to strike east (over those bridges) to take the rest of the Black Sea shore and Odessa. Running east across the flat frozen plains i]will be a lot faster and easier than crossing several deep inlets and waterways between Kherson and Odessa.

    We shall see…

    1. Jams O'Donnell

      Any self-respecting army holding a bridge will have it rigged to blow when a retreat is ordered. Russia will not be depending on those bridges.

  13. ChrisPacific

    I was going to bring up that point on the grid that Greg made. Degrading transmission capability without reducing demand puts you in a position of having to run a stressed system beyond its operating parameters. In theory, transmission grids have the capacity to shed load and degrade gracefully in a way that protects infrastructure and doesn’t cause cascading failure. In practice it’s kind of hard to test this in a way that anticipates all eventualities. Also failure conditions often require human action and oversight to rectify – for example if you have a big load imbalance you might need to take some generation offline – and that’s all dependent on good market systems and communication infrastructure which are likely all in question in a wartime situation. They are also big calls to make – shut down power to a city or suburb to manage load, and you can expect to hear plenty about it in the media, whether or not you were right to do so.

    Cascading failures due to a system fault, in which mitigating actions could have been taken but weren’t, are relatively common even in peacetime situations. The Northeast blackout of 2003 (in which downed lines from tree branches in Ohio ended up taking out power to the northeastern US/Canada for up to half a day) was one of the more high profile examples, but by no means the only one.

  14. Karl

    RE: Ukraine’s loss of Karkhovka hydro plant

    Yves raises an interesting issue:

    …[what is] the point at which load balancing becomes impossible…?

    The loss of Karkhovka could have effects on the grid well beyond the Kherson region. Hydro plants are generally superior to any other form of generation for balancing. They can go from zero to nameplate MW in seconds to balance the grid (e.g. when a neighboring plant that is attacked suddenly goes offline).

    Most of Ukraine’s generation (by far) is nuclear and coal. Nuclear plants generally operate only within a narrow operating “baseload” range; coal plants respond to load changes only sluggishly. Only gas plants have balancing capability comparable to hydro (if designed for this purpose). Unfortunately, Ukraine has few gas plants compared to coal and nuclear, and fewer still hydro (much fewer still now that Karkhovka is offline). Assuming Russia has given priority to attacking gas plants, there may not be much balancing infrastructure in Ukraine left (hence increasing curtailments like brownouts, etc.).

    Ukraine is seeking replacement equipment from the West. Even if by some miracle the West had appropriate equipment on hand (unlikely) Russia would just destroy it again. And again.

    Infrastructure aid dollars will not mitigate the suffering of General Winter’s onslaught. But the Lame Duck Congress may try anyway in its next aid package.

    1. Steve

      I think you are correct as the latest USG $37.7 Billion aid package to Ukraine does include more money for non military stuff.

      1. $14.5 billion for direct budget support.
      2. $626 million would go to providing nuclear security support for Ukraine.
      3. $900 million would go to help with health care and support services to Ukrainians.

      1. MILLER

        Of course, we don’t know what the current “cut” of the Ukrainian military and civil bureaucracies out of these monies is nowadays, or how Zelensky and his immediate entourage are fattening their offshore accounts at the expense of the American taxpayer.

  15. Lex

    According to the IAEA, several reactors in Ukraine had to be shut down today because of grid issues. Going to diesel for emergency cooling during the shutdown procedure. That’s a very big deal on top of all the other transmission issues the energy attacks are creating.

    It’s not easy to stop and start a coal unit. Startup of a coal unit is super dangerous too (blow back of the fuel into supply lines is just a thing that happens and turns them into bombs). If a turbine is shut down and isn’t kept spinning at least a little, it can take anywhere from hours to weeks to get back to generating rpm’s because the shaft deflects and tolerances in a turbine are super tight. But coal startups are child’s play compared to restarting a nuclear reactor and you still have all the other equipment issues like turbine shaft deflection.

    Also, Lvov has said it may take a year to get their electrical system back to 100%. I’m guessing that we’re close to seeing the full collapse of Ukraine’s energy system. I’m also guessing that part of the punctuated attacks is so that it fails in a somewhat controlled manner rather than catastrophically. That is, the Ukrainian engineers are forced to shut it down rather than have it collapse.

    1. Greg

      I just dropped a comment on the watercooler about this, but telegram is reporting the shut down of parts of the grid in advance of tonight’s round of missiles landing. Your guess seems pretty good.

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