Hydro-electric energy crisis

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The Hydro-electric energy crisis is the predicted widespread energy shortage that would occur if LV Hydro Generators were ever balanced to reduce their power output proportionate to the effort required to produce them.

Background

A hydro LV generator can produce as much as 1575 EU/tick at 100% efficiency, and can be produced with only the following raw materials:

  • 2 wood planks
  • 4 marble
  • 6 paper
  • 8 iron ore (4 if ground)
  • 5 copper ore (2.5 if ground)
  • 1 zinc ore
  • 1 diamond

All of which are not difficult to obtain after a single mining session even with basic hand tools. Some harder products might need to be obtained by purchasing them, but will not be too difficult.

Hydro-electric generation is the backbone of any serious factory on LinuxWorks. Large 'hydro-towers' are often seen in the biggest bases. The hydro-tower is constructed of a single water source block atop a column of LV cable. Attached to all 4 faces of the LV cable are LV Hydro Generator blocks. A 5 metre tall hydro-tower will produce more than 30 thousand EU/tick. There are losses associated with stepping this power up to MV or HV, but they are negligible.

Effects on society

The effect of the crisis would be felt both in public infrastructure terms and in terms of the private sector and private factory operation.

Public

The crisis would not only effect private equipment but also public technic stations that depend on hydro-electric generation. This would make life harder on some noobs who depend on such stations, possibly resulting in more begging or more commerce in favour of those who have the equipment and have secured alternative power.

Private

Most factories would be crippled instantly due to a severe power shortage. In particular, the first fault would probably occur where the supply converter demands more power than the LV system produces, resulting in 0 power output. Most effected would be factories with large baseline loads that are continually operating, such as redwood tree farming machines or cobble generators. These factories would struggle under lack of power and operate very slowly. The owners would have to cut power to different areas of their factory in order to start producing plant for an alternative to hydro.

The disablement of most private factories would increase the value of goods that are frequently automated, improving the economy from the point where everything is worthless, which is its usual state. This is mostly because MineGeld is a fiat currency with no usefulness. Alternative currencies have been proposed: Blockhead has proposed potatoes as they are intrinsically useful for food, though not in limited supply as they can be farmed.

Finally, after an alternative power source begins to become widespread, the economy will re-balanced itself around that major source. This will result in less demand for diamonds for generators. In the case of solar power, there will be more demand for gold and silver in order to produce panels. In the case of combustion there would be even greater demand for fuel, above the already present baseline demand for digtron fuel.

Alternative power sources

In the aftermath of the energy crisis, one of the other available generation methods would likely arise to become the dominant method.

Solar

Solar power is the second-most powerful method of generation. Solar would probably become very popular in the event of a hydro-electric crisis. Solar power requires a much more advanced crafting process, using doped silicon wafers (gold, sand and coal), glue (from saplings or latex), LV cable (paper and copper) and silver wire. Additionally, to achieve sufficient power over a surface area, the solar cells must be arrayed, requiring additional materials to construct transformers, cabling and carbon steel or composites.

In the event of solar becoming the most preferred option, the server would likely enter a perpetual state of day, where users without sufficient battery storage would teleport to Spawn to press the Day Button every time the sun began to set.

One of the biggest advantages of solar is its ability to remove power losses from Supply Converters by directly generating MV or HV.

Combustion

Combustion is the simplest power source to create plant for, but the hardest to manage effectively. Combustion of flammables to produce power is most popular for digtrons, where electric energy usage requires tedious use of batteries. In permanent plant however, combustion is not widespread. In most current installations, the battery box storage is intended to remain full except under heavy load. Drain on the battery boxes would usually indicate a need for additional hydro towers.

Fuel-fired generators do not operate on an as-needed basis; excess power generated by them is wasted. Thus micro-management of the generation needs to take place, robbing the factory of automation gains unless an advanced mesecon-based solution were used (is this possible?).

Geothermal

At a guess, most players do not even understand how this power generation method works, so it is not considered.

Solution

The separatist server Tunnelers' Abyss by CalebJ and User:Hume2 avoids this problem entirely by removing all of LV as well as all hydro generators. It is not known how this has impacted factories there.