Ultimate Electrical Guide – Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic

Ultimate Electrical Guide – Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic 1 - steamclue.com
Ultimate Electrical Guide – Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic 1 - steamclue.com

A more advanced guide to electricity with thorough explanations of the game’s electrical systems, and the design requirements for operating a stable and reliable electrical network in your Republic.
 
 

Disclaimers/Preamble

I don’t own Workers and Resources Soviet Republic, which is the property of whoever owns it.
 
 
I did make this guide though, so I’d appreciate being credited if anyone wants to use it in their work, if they want to translate it into non-English languages (I certainly won’t be; sorry, but not really), or whatever they want to do with it.
 
 
This guide is up to date for v0.8.7.8 and is accurate as far as I can tell from numerous tests, but I did not call this guide “The Complete Guide to Electricity” because I don’t know everything about the system. I also don’t do betas because this game is buggy enough on the stable releases; I mean no offense to the developers, but the number of bugs it has is one of a few reasons the game is in early access.
 
 
That said, don’t take my guide as me crapping over the developers’ game; I think they have done an admirable job in making probably the most realistic simulation of an electrical power grid of any game to date, while keeping the game fun (and that’s coming from an electrician). If you are a new player, I’d recommend playing the tutorial for electricity if you haven’t already; it is a good crash course on setting up a basic electrical grid.
 
 
Having looked at the now very outdated help section on electricity, I decided to this guide as a reference for people who want to know how the current electrical system works in all its glory or just some aspects. There are sections for explaining the basics to beginners and sections for teaching more experienced players the subtle and obscure nuances of the electrical system (Did you know that there is energy storage in the game?). Hopefully you or someone else will find reading this to not be a waste of their time.
 
 
There is some terminology I use for brevity’s sake, which is all defined in the “The Basic Concepts” section, so I’d recommend reading that part before the others.
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Disclaimers/Preamble - 115AE4F37
 
“Soviet power plus electricity equals communism” -Comrade Lenin, probably.
 
 
I dedicate this guide to Gin. I couldn’t have done it without you.
 
 
 

Basic Concepts and Definitions

Basic concepts, units, and terms are explained here.
 
 

Power, Voltage, and Energy Defined

 
 
Energy is used in the game to make buildings and some vehicles work and is used in some industrial processes. Megawatt hours (MWh) are used by the game as a unit of energy.
 
 
Power is used by the game to show the flow of energy leaving or being consumed in a building. The game uses Megawatts (MW) and kilowatts (kW) as units for power.
 
 
The game lists the amount of MWh and/or MW a building will need or output and record how much power you used, sold, & bought as MWh. Smaller loads and electric vehicle power ratings may be listed in kilowatts (kW) which are 1/1000th of a MW. Note that the building’s MWh rating is for one “day.”
 
 
To convert between a building’s listed daily MWh and MW, simply divide MWh by 60 hours (a “day” for facilities is 60 hours, with an hour being a real life second. Citizens follow their own “days” which are not the same; don’t think too hard about time in this game.)
 
 
Voltage is used in the game to simulate the level of energy a building currently has, and is very useful for troubleshooting electrical supply problems. The game only uses two units for voltage; the Kilovolt (KV) and the volt (V), while having three levels of voltage: Low voltage at 240V, Medium Voltage at 22KV, and High Voltage at 110KV. Voltage will vary a bit depending on supply and loading (see below under meters) as the game will use it to determine where energy (and thus power) should flow. See the “Multiple Source Grid – Basic Theory” section for a more thorough explanation.
 
 
Conversion Formulas:

  • MWh = MW x time; typically this will be MWh per day, so time will usually be 60 seconds.
  • MW = MWh / time.
  • MW (or MWh) = kW (or kWh) x 1000; that is, 1 MW = 1000 kW & 1 MWh = 1000 kWh.
  • kW = MW / 1000; that is, 1 kW = 1/1000th of a MW.
  • KV = 1000 * V; that is, 1 KV = 1000 volts.

 
Players should be aware that a little bit of fluctuation in voltage and power is normal and fine.
 
 

Other Terminology

 
Some terms defined for convenience:

  • Grid – An electrical system of power sources, nodes, and loads. I am not referring to the a collection of all a republic’s electrical equipment/facilities when I use the word “grid”.
  • Node – Parts of a grid where power is split or joined. Examples include the HV and MV switches, the transformer, and the substation. I am not talking about the connection points where power lines begin and terminate at (the yellow triangles). Power plant switch gear are not nodes.
  • Load and Loading – This is anything that consumes electrical power. For multiple power sources, the power the load draws from the grid will be referred to as “loading” to avoid confusion.
  • Brownout – A condition where buildings are still receiving power, but the voltage is much lower than usual. This is typical of a grid or portion of a grid under heavy load. Power issue warnings may be issued by the game.
  • Blackout – A condition where buildings on a grid are receiving no power. Voltage may be entirely absent or periodically spiking up and down from zero. This is typical of a severely under powered grid.
  • Transient – A rather large and sudden change in power/voltage on a grid.
  • HV, MV, or LV – Abbreviations for High Voltage, Medium Voltage, and Low Voltage, respectively. Typically used to denote the voltage of a switch, power line/cable, or connection point.

 

Unplugging the Grid and Plugging it back in

 
You can press E+C+L to reset the energy levels in all buildings to zero (except producers, who will just dip a bit), but the game cannot be paused for it to work.
 
 
Be aware that this is literally throwing away energy that you bought or produced, and that you will need to buy or produce more energy (watch your power plants when you do it) to refill your building’s energy levels. Don’t do it unless your grid is acting up and you think resetting it will help (it probably won’t).
 
 
 

Meters and Overlays

Meters

 
Each building with electricity will have two electrical meters for voltage and power, and each meter has two portions: an analog gauge with a needle, and a “digital” output below the gauge.

  • The gauge portion will display the building’s operating range (from zero to the building’s maximum), and it will display the reading with the needle.
  • The digital portion will display the exact reading present and also tells you what units the meter uses; voltage is displayed in either KV or V, while power is always displayed in MW (even if it isn’t very practicable).

The maximum voltage spec on the gauge will also be black if a decent supply voltage is present and will be red if insufficient voltage is present.
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Meters and Overlays - 2F1CE10E3
 
*Note that the heating plant is “operating without issues” despite having no power. I think this bug has been fixed, but if you have other buildings not working as intended, check the electrical meters.
 
 
Voltage meters and the voltage overlay in the game help give you an idea as to the state of the grid that the building is connected to. Keep in mind that these meters are displaying local information so nodes further away may not be accurately represented.

  • With voltage reading at its maximum, it means that the building is connected to a powered grid operating well within its limits (discussed below).
  • If the voltage falls a little bit below maximum (say 90-95% of maximum) then the grid is nearing a limit in supplying energy to the meter’s building.
  • If the voltage falls to 80% or less of its maximum, a limit is definitely being reached, and the game may start issuing power outage notices.
  • If the meter reads zero, then either the building is not connected to a powered grid, or the grid is severely overloaded.
  • If voltage is oscillating severely, then the grid is unstable or possibly undergoing a power transient (discussed in a later section).

 
Power meters and the wattage overlay can be used to determine the output of power producers and the demand of power users. Keep in mind that for the voltage switches and transformers, this number denotes the net power leaving the node or building, which may seem screwed up sometimes due to the way the game simulates electricity (explained in a later section). Power meters and the wattage overlay are also useful for troubleshooting, mostly to see if a power line or node is at capacity or using more current than it should be getting.
 
 

Overlays

 
 
Overlays are best for viewing grids at large for troubleshooting purposes, yet more experienced players can use it to see the flow of energy a la matrix style.
 
 
The game provides two overlays for electricity under “Building properties” in the overlays menu; one for voltage and one for wattage (power). The overlays will only display in MW and Volts (V), but are more precise than the meters; power will be displayed down to the 1/10,000ths of a MW (i.e. tenths of a kW), while voltage will not be rounded up or down to KV.
 
 
The second, more important function of the overlays is the ability to see the conditions of power lines and cables though the use of color highlighting.

  • Voltage overlay: Green denotes the line can transmit energy; no other colors are used.
  • Wattage overlay: Color denotes how close a line is to its power limit; closer to dark green means far from the limit, while closer to dark red means it is at or over the limit.
  • Both overlays: No color highlight means the line doesn’t connect anything to another node, or that the grid it connects to has no power. Use this to find or check for disconnected lines or Ghost Gates (explained later).

Keep in mind that you need to let the game run for it to highlight the lines.
 
 
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Note the uncolored and unconnected 1.5 MW line, the green unloaded 2.35 MW line, and the fully loaded red 18 MW line.
 
 
Be aware that rebuilding cables can hide problems…
 
 
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There is also an electrical option for “Buildings networks connections” under the “City planning overlays” in the overlay menu. This overlay will display low voltage connection points for buildings and will highlight connected buildings in green.
 
 
 

Tracking Power Usage

The game tracks electricity usage in two places:

  • Under the Economy and trade tab.
  • At local accounting offices

In both cases, you click on “Domestic production and consumption” and then click on “overall” under the “Production of resources” heading.
 
 
The Economy and trade tab will show you all the power usage in your republic and it can even show how much was used over various periods of time. You can also look to see power usage by citizen’s facilities or by industrial usage.
 
 
The accounting offices will show you the power used by a “city/area” since its creation, regardless of whether the accounting office was built then or any time after. Like the Economy and trade tab, you can also look at industrial facilities usage or citizen facility usage, but sadly, there does not appear to be an option to look at usage over time.
 
 
You might use the economy and trading tab to calculate how much you spend on electricity while the accounting office can be used to track electricity usage over time by placing a new city/area and deleting the old one to “reset” accounting office statistics (old data will be lost forever though!).
 
 
 

Grid Components – Functions and Information

This section explains the functions of the various electrical buildings included in the game. Modded buildings should follow suit, but could be different.
 
 

Power Sources

 
Buildings that produce power. There are a few different power sources, but as far as the game cares there are three types:

  • Fuel Based Power Plants – Power for fuel. See gas, coal, and nuclear plants.
  • Renewable Power – Power for free, if it’s there. See windmills and the solar plant.
  • The Foreign Power connections – Power for money.

 
Fuel based plants need fuel and workers to function but they are compact for their power rating, reliable (provided you can keep them supplied), and can supply grids independently. Be aware that the nuclear plants also need a cooling tower for each reactor.
 
 
The renewable powers’ outputs depend on the weather, the current conditions for which you can find at the top of the gui near the speed buttons. Their power output, while free, is varied and so may need a backup power source to prevent power shortages. They also have some odd quirks:

  • The percentage of a windmill’s output power to its maximum power rating is the same as the percentage of the current wind speed to the windmills’ top performing speed. This top speed for a large windmill is 35 m/s while the small’s is 25 m/s, so the small windmill is much more efficient than the large one (especially from a power output to material cost viewpoint), but the large windmills do produce more power per connection point though, which is a constraint for reasons explained later in this guide. They both have a place.
  • The solar plant in game looks like a concentrated solar plant, but functions as a regular photovoltaic plant, which converts sunlight directly to electricity and stops working at night.
     
     
     
     
     
    Solar power has three phases of output: 100% power during the day, 40% power when near dawn/dusk hours, and 0% at night. Rain and snow will also reduce power to 25% and 80% respectively. I am unsure if these reductions can compound or if it only rains/snows during the day.

Contrary to popular belief, it is quite possible to prioritize renewable energy over other sources (see later in the guide).
 
 
The foreign power connections are used to buy/sell up to 18 MW of electricity (19 MW if overloaded), but they can only be configured to buy or sell at a time, not both. Typically you will want to buy until you get your own power plant operational. Also notable for being the only source that buildings cannot directly source Low voltage from.
 
 

Power Distribution Nodes

 
These components are used to split, join, and convert power, they generally fall into three types: substations, switches, and transformers. There are mods that combine switches and transformers into a single building.
 
 

Substations

 
 
Used to convert Medium voltage to Low voltage for buildings and to distribute power to buildings. Buildings will automatically connect themselves into these substations provided they are within range. This range is a box aligned to the (F1) wire frame grid with the corners 352m, and sides 249m, from the substation:
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Grid Components - Functions and Information - 86E3E12E7
 
Buildings can also connect to power plants directly but seemingly prefer drawing power from whatever was placed (not built) first.
 
 
Be aware that each substation can only handle 2.35 MW (I know it says 2.5 MW, but the largest medium voltage line can only handle 2.35 MW) and there is supposedly a limit on the number of connections, so use more if needed; its menu can tell you how much load is connected to it and the current amount it shares with other substations nearby.
 
 

Switches

 
 
Used to split or join power of the same voltage level (Medium or High). The game has two vanilla switches: a high voltage switch and a medium voltage switch, each with three connection points. You would use this for branching out from a higher power line to smaller power lines, to switch between power lines and cables, or to join up power sources into a single line.
 
 

Transformers

 
 
Used to split or join power of varying voltages, or to convert power between high and medium voltages. The game has one transformer with one high voltage connection points and 6 medium voltage connection points. Typically this would be used to split a high voltage, high power line into several medium voltage, lower power lines for final distribution, but it could also be used to collect the output of 6 windmills and convert it into a single HV line. You can also do a combination of the two, such as 4 windmills and a HV line feeding into 2 MV lines that supply a city.
 
 
From left to right: Electric substation, Medium voltage switch, High voltage switch, Power transformer.
 
 
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Electric Vehicle Connections

 
The game has electric vehicle networks that need power and you can supply them with the “Trolleybus trafo” and the “Railroad electric connection.” Be careful to connect enough capacity to run the vehicles on the networks. Also keep in mind that they will block other connections from supplying power to the network, so build them in parallel to add up capacity or keep your series segments short enough so that vehicles can not accumulate on them and overload the connections.
 
 

Cables and Power lines

 
These are used to connect the power sources to nodes and some buildings like the Aluminium plant. Each cable and power line has a limit on the amount of power that can pass through it, which may be a good or bad thing depending on what you need. Cables and power lines are further divided into high and medium voltages.
 
 
Power lines are built above ground while cables are built below (usually, barring bugs) and have these main differences:

  • Power lines are much quicker to build.
  • Power lines are generally much cheaper to buy than cables, but cables become cheaper if you only buy the materials needed for construction and then build it yourself (mostly due to the cost of foreign manpower). Paying extra might be worth it to speed up the cable’s long build time though.
  • Cables can travel across any length of water while power lines are quite limited due to their tower interval limit.
  • Cables have less other infrastructure to compete for space with, and you can build them deeper underground if needed. You can cross the wires of power lines with no effects too.
  • Power lines have higher capacity caps, though this can be somewhat mitigated by splitting the power line into two lines/cables.

 
You can save a lot of money/steel/electronic components by splitting out HV lines into pairs of lower power, HV lines. Just build a couple of HV switches and two lines rather than building a single power line. The 18 MW line in particular should be used sparingly due to the roughly 40% jump in price/material from the 15 MW line. The downside is the creation of more potential fire spots and thus points of failure in your grid, especially if you build those switches in a remote area without firefighter coverage.
 
 
You can reduce the materials/price on a power line by increasing the tower interval (place roads where every other tower would go), but this is time intensive and the lines will droop, to the point that they may hit the ground and prevent the tower getting built. Another option is to place each new tower as you can place it slightly further than what the game automatically spaces them out.
 
 

Power Loads

 
Basically these are anything that uses power, including most buildings, industry processes, and some vehicles. In other words, it is the whole reason you are making an electric grid in the first place. You might also sell to a foreign power connection.
 
 
 

Basic Grid Limits and Mechanics

Some hard coded limits that are not really explained by the game but probably should be.
 
 

Node Limitations

 
1) Nodes cannot have more than 19 MW (or more than 20 MW if overloaded) pass through them, not even modded ones. If you feed two 18 MW lines into a modded high voltage switch and try to take two 18 MW lines out, you will only get 19 MW or so at most. The missing power will not be transmitted from, nor generated at, the connected power sources. If you play without mods then you don’t need to worry about this because no vanilla electrical junction has the connection points for this.
 
 
2) Power will also not transmit through more than 19 nodes (however, if you make a substation the 19th node, buildings can still pull low voltage power from it).
 
 
3) The junction/switch yards of power plants ARE NOT NODES; you cannot route power through power plants nor foreign connections! If you build a power line to a foreign connection set to sell, and build another line from the foreign connection to supply an area, it will not transmit power nor voltage.
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Basic Grid Limits and Mechanics - 2AD8BC922
 
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4) Electric train/road connections only add capacity to the track/road when placed in parallel. If placed in series, the track/road in between them will only have access to the capacity of the connections at the ends of the roads.
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Basic Grid Limits and Mechanics - B77CB03A7
 
Vehicles on the top network always have access to all three connections, while vehicles on the bottom only have access to two of the connections at any time. Make sure your networks can handle the power ratings of the vehicles on them.
 
 

Cable and Line Power Limits

 
Each cable/line can only transmit power up to its rating. This can be useful for limiting the power going from a power plant to an area, but it can also lead to situations where an area has a brownout or even a blackout while the power plant is idling at a lower power, and the reason why won’t be evident. Be very careful when routing a line with many branches coming off of it.
 
 

Splitting out Power Lines & Cables

 
Using switches you can split the capacity of a power line/cable into two or more cables/lines and then join them back up with another switch. The cables/lines need not have the same power rating (but it looks better when you do). The wattage overlay will show that one line will assume all the load until it’s overloaded (dark red) and the other will assume the remainder of the power. There seems to be no downsides to overloading lines.
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Basic Grid Limits and Mechanics - 94480CB18
 
 
You might do this because you need to switch to cables to cross a longer stretch of water, and since cables have a lower power rating than a large line does, you will need multiple cables for lines above 12 MW.
 
 
You might also do this because you want to save money on construction; two HV switches, an 8 MW line, and a 10 MW line are priced at about a third of the cost of an 18 MW line, and you can start off with just the very affordable 8 MW line and build the 10 MW later when you need it.
 
 
Be aware that switches can burn down and that no power is transmitted while burning. This method introduces two more weak points into your electrical system, so use it wisely. There are also significant issues with doing this in a grid with multiple sources, so avoid splitting cables if you are unfamiliar with the Pathing System the game uses for load division.
 
 

Splitting Power Plant Capacity

 
Because the switching/junction yards of power plants are not nodes and thus cannot transfer power across themselves, you can simply connect multiple grids to the same power plant without connecting all the sources of one grid to all the sources of the other grids.
 
 
Power plants seem to prefer splitting their power equally among all the nodes they are directly connected to, up to power line/cable wattage limits.
 
 
Actual connection of multiple power sources will be discussed in the next few sections.
 
 

Foreign Power Overdraw

 
When you import power from a foreign power connection, you may end up drawing more power than you allow. This can happen when there is more load on the grid than the limit you set on importing.
 
 
This effect is only limited by the line capacity, with the maximum overdraw being limited to about 17 MW. You can also limit it by prioritizing another power source with controlled dispatching (discussed in a later section).
 
 
This isn’t really a problem if you are using foreign power as the sole source on a grid, but it can be a problem if using it to supplement a power source on a grid that you would prefer to maximize before buying power.
 
 
Example:
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Basic Grid Limits and Mechanics - 59FF8DEF9
 
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Basic Grid Theory

This section is for those who want to know exactly how the grid is powered up and loaded and when blackouts and brownouts occur. Actual load division is discussed in the next section.
 
 

Grid Theory

 
This is my working theory on how the grid generally works, feel free to correct me (bring proof!).
 
 
The game simulates electricity by first defining buildings with a voltage rating; Low voltage has 240 V, Medium voltage has 22 KV (22,000 V) and high elves voltage has 110 KV (110,000 V). When you connect buildings together you have a grid with a capacity for energy equal to the sum of the grid’s buildings’ voltage ratings. (The electrically minded among us might think of this game’s grids as a bunch of capacitors wired in parallel.)
 
 
This is the “energy storage” the preamble references, and probably not what you thought of then. Sorry to disappoint you.
 
 
When you load a save or start up a power source on an unpowered grid, energy will flow in this order:

  1. Power producers create energy and fill themselves with energy up to their maximum voltage (110 KV for HV sources, and 22 KV for MV sources i.e. windmills).
  2. Next, every building and node in the grid except for substations, the buildings only they connect to, electric vehicle connections, and factories, will simultaneously start accumulating energy/voltage up to 80% of whatever the highest voltage it can accept is (88/110 KV for HV, 17.6/22 KV for MV).
  3. Then nodes will start accumulating energy with a bias for the nodes farther away from power sources, while loads, substations, electric vehicle connections, and factories will randomly get power (I haven’t discovered the pattern yet, I suspect it has to do with its power or voltage rating and if other similar loads are located on the same branch with a longer string. Line capacities probably factor into the logic too.). There seems to be a preference for the end of a string of nodes being filled first, with shorter and closer strings being preferred to fill first.
  4. Eventually, nodes and buildings all fill up to their maximum voltages and power flow stops.

The size of your grid and the power capacities of its power lines and cables will determine how quickly this process happens. Most simple grids will fill up in seconds at most, while some grids may take a minute or even two.
 
 
If all power sources are disconnected or turned off, the entire grid will quickly bleed energy off until it has none, similar to how E+C+L works.
 
 
Drawing power from a power supply proceeds in this order:

  1. When a load is connected, it fills up with energy to its voltage rating and then starts deleting the energy in its building, which will present as a lowering voltage reading at the building. I think Electric vehicles just transfer their power demand to their road/track network’s power connections/trafo; their road/track network is not simulated beyond that.
  2. The game will check the voltages in adjacent nodes and attempt to equalize them at a rate limited by the sum of the power ratings of the lines/cables that connect them. If the power supply exceeds the demand, voltage will become roughly steady.
  3. If power demand exceeds supply, the energy in the building (and its voltage reading) will continue to decline until it reaches 80% of the building’s rating, upon which the power draw will be throttled to whatever the grid can spare it. This is the point you might see brownouts and power warnings issued.
     
     
     
     
     
    The method the game uses to decide what amount of power to throttle power demand down to is unclear to me, but it seems to rely on these factors:

    • The power rating of the least limiting path to a power source determines the maximum for the throttled power. Split lines (a line split at a node into multiple lines, then rejoined a later node into one line again) will not limit the throttled power to either of their lines’ power limits, but to their sum instead. Normally this won’t matter, unless you deliberately or accidentally place too many loads on a power line or node.
    • If multiple buildings connected to a node are overloading their power supply, the power supply will be split evenly between them unless one or more of their demands are met, or unless their voltage ratings are different, in which case the lower voltage seems to gets priority, unless the lower voltage building enters a blackout, or unless if between nodes influence this somehow, (the unless train never ends!).
    • If multiple grids connected to the same power plant have overloaded buildings, the power plant may split its power evenly according to the loads or in relation to the power limits of the lines leading to them.
    • Probably some other stuff I’m missing.
  4. If the building’s full power draw would be more than twice the currently throttled power draw, the building’s voltage will fall to zero and you’ll have a blackout or the voltage may cycle on and off rave style.

 
This process is why heavily loaded buildings tend to stabilize at 80% of their maximum voltage rating (88/110 KV for HV & 17.6/22 KV for MV) before plummeting towards zero volts when enough loading is added.
 
 
I suspect that this is one of the potential causes for the wattage readings of connected power plants swinging several MWs of power every second or so; the power draw from the grid should be constant, but the varying voltage levels may pull energy from other nodes and effectively unbalance the grid, causing power plants to “see” a dip or surge in voltage and thus ramp up or down generation to match it.
 
 
Another big question is whether nodes at 80% voltage have their energy refilled solely from connected nodes and sources, or if it refills similar to the startup sequence where it pulls energy directly from the power sources until at 80%. If so, this could also cause the wattage instability of a single power plant on a grid experiencing several MW swings every couple seconds or so.
 
 

Grid Theory Main Points

 
There are exceptions, as discussed later, but generally:

  • Energy (read as voltage) is stored and consumed in every electrified building.
  • Energy is pulled to buildings from higher voltage nodes at a rate limited by the power lines’ rating.
  • Loads will use up to 100% of their building’s power rating until its voltage reaches 80%.
  • At 80% voltage, a building’s power draw will be throttled down, until the building surpasses 80% voltage again.
  • A building’s energy (and thus voltage) falls to zero when its full power demand is more than double the throttled power draw.
  • Avoid having buildings in a grid below 90% voltage to promote stability.

 
 
 

Load Division – The Pathing System

With all that out of the way, we can finally discuss how a grid’s power load is shared by connected power sources.
 
 
The commonly given thumb rule is that the loading of a grid is equally shared with each of its power sources, while power source priority is based on the number of nodes between the load and the grid’s power sources, but there are plenty of exceptions to that rule. Three of which are these unique behaviors: Priority Power, Ghost Power, and Ghost Gates.
 
 
These behaviors will be discussed in greater detail in later sections, but for now you should know this about them:

  • Node Prioritization – Nodes with multiple, directly-connected (no nodes in between) power sources will prefer to load one of the sources before the others.
  • Ghost Power – A condition where energy is circulating between nodes. Generally undesirable as it reduces the node’s transmission limit from 19 MW, but it is not generated at a power source. There must be a “potential” for Ghost power to occur, which depends on the load splitting process.
  • Ghost Gates – A condition where a connected power source will not send power to a load, even if “operating without issues” and being well unloaded (with an exception). Also generally undesirable, but there are a couple of special cases where it can be useful.

 

The Pathing System

 
I highly doubt that the game does this method exactly (and deliberately causes Ghost Power), but the results appear the same, so the method below can be used to predict the behavior of your grid designs.
 
 
When a load is connected to a powered grid:

  1. The game will look for all of the nodes in a grid that are directly connected to power sources and compile a list of paths between these nodes and the load.
  2. The path with the fewest number of nodes in it becomes the base line for comparison. For brevity, this path will be referred to as the “base path.” The base path gets one “share” of the loading (no comrade, power is not a capitalist stock market, stop believing western lies).
  3. The game will determine the path’s behavior by looking at the extra number of nodes it has compared to the base path.
     
     
     
    If the difference in nodes is:

    • Zero – Then the path will get one “share” of the loading. Ghost Power may occur, but the potential for it is very low, possibly even nonexistent.
    • One – Then the path will get one “share” of the loading, but there is a very high potential for Ghost Power to occur.
    • Two or more – Then the path will not receive a share of the loading and a Ghost Gate will occur.
  4. Loading is then split equally amongst the paths with a share. Since most loads and sources on a grid are connected by the same power lines and cables, you will see higher wattage where the paths overlap. If a limit is reached (power source generating capacity, power line/cable wattage rating, or the 19 MW node limit with or without Ghost Power), the remaining load is equally distributed amongst the paths that have a share until they too hit a limit or all loading is distributed.
     
     
     
     
     
    Paths with Ghost Gates will never accept loading from a load until their designation changes. Other loads may or may not find a path through them acceptable (depends on the node numbers for that load’s paths).

Here is an example:
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Load Division - The Pathing System - 3FB1721F5
 
 
In game comparison; Node B is modded 4 HV connection point Switch:
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Load Division - The Pathing System - B2B287CC1
 
 
Same setup, but with a 4 MW line on the path “Load-b-B-a-A” to show unmitigated Ghost Power; note that node C has almost twice as much power flowing through it (7.281 MW) as the 4 MW line can supply:
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Load Division - The Pathing System - BAEEAAFD3
 
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Load Imbalance via Node Shares

 
In the last picture, you may have spotted that the power plant on the right (power source 3) is producing about twice as much power as the middle power plant (power source 2). This is because there are two nodes that are directly powered by the right power plant and because each directly powered node gets a share of loading. Since there is a total of three shares on this grid for the load of ~18 MW (a Foreign Connection set to export 18 MW), each share is ~6 MW (1/3 of 18 MW), and thus the right power plant will supply 2 shares, or ~12 MW, while the middle plant supplies only one share for 6 MW. (No comrade, this is still not a capitalist stock market!)
 
 
The first picture shows a greater imbalance, but that is due to Grid instability where the sources on a grid will swing 4, 5, or more megawatts; on average, the middle plant supplies around 6 MW and the right plant supplies around 12 MW.
 
 
Providing more paths to a power source is one of the three actual ways of prioritizing sources of power, but the important thing to remember is that these shares are assigned to the nodes which are directly connected to power sources and NOT to the actual power sources. This is because of the Node Prioritization Behavior, which is discussed in the next section.
 
 
 

Phenomenon – Node Prioritization

If you were wondering why the power source was not included in the paths defined above, it is because of the way the game handles power sources that are directly connected to the same node. For the purposes of load division, whenever two or more power sources are directly connected to the same source, the game will interpret these power sources as being one source; so to prevent confusion, paths are defined to end at directly connected nodes instead of sources.
 
 
There are three aspects unique to Node Prioritization:

  • Stable Power Production – Fluctuations in power generation are minimized.
  • Sequential Loading – The majority of loading will go to one of the node’s power sources before the others.
  • Type Prioritization – Loading will be prioritized along categories of power sources.

 

Stability

 
Typically when multiple power sources are on a grid with a constant power demand such as a foreign power connection set to export, their power readings will be fluctuating quite a lot, perhaps even 6+ MW. When you use Node Prioritization, the sources at the node will be a lot more stable and swing up and down by a smaller amount, perhaps 1 or 2 MW.
 
 
This will not fix transients caused by loads starting up or securing though.
 
 

Sequential Loading

 
Whenever loading is assigned directly to a node with multiple, directly-connected sources, the game will load whichever source was prioritized up to its capacity before giving more loading to the next prioritized source, which will only assume ~0.5 to 1 MW of the loading until then. Subsequent power sources will be loaded once their predecessors assume loading up to their generating limit, and this process will continue until all loading is supplied or all of the node’s power sources are maxed out.
 
 

Power Source Priority

 
For Node Prioritization only, power sources are prioritized along these two rules:
 
 
1) For all power sources directly connected to a node (i.e. the only thing between them and the node is a power line/cable), AND ONLY THEN, will power sources will be reliably prioritized in the following order:

  1. Renewable power sources (wind and solar)
  2. Fueled power plants (gas, nuclear, & coal)
  3. Foreign power connections set to import

(I suspect modded power plants like hydro or modded power plants with fuels like wood, coal ore, or fuel fall in this order, but you should test it before relying on it!)
 
 
2) If you connect two or more power sources in the same category, then the power source that was placed first (build order doesn’t matter) will be loaded to its capacity or to the capacity of its power line/cable, then the next built source will be loaded as such, and so on. Even if a power source burns down, the order will not change after rebuilding so long as you did not delete the building.
 
 
So if you want to prioritize a nuclear power plant over the coal and gas plants in your republic, your options are to either place (but not build) the nuclear power plant before placing the gas/coal plants you plan on starting with, or deleting and placing again the coal/gas plants you built earlier after placing the nuclear power plant. I recommend planning ahead comrade.
 
 

Limitations of Node Prioritization

 
Power Source Priority, along with Sequential Loading, is the second of the three actual ways of prioritizing sources of power, but remember that it is limited to the node that the power sources directly connect to.
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Node Prioritization - EA552E4B7
 
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Another issue is that Node Prioritization is limited to 19 MW because of the 19 MW maximum limit for nodes. This can make prioritizing a type of power source harder because many power sources can easily exceed 19 MW, but you can link a source to multiple grids to get around this issue as seen in the next image:
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Node Prioritization - 915A1E37C
 
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The third and final limitation is that since all power sources need to be connected to the same node, the number of sources that can be directly handled by a node is limited to the number of connection points it has. This is especially a problem for the windmills because they have a low power-to-connection-point ratio and thus a lot of them need to be connected to have a decent summed power rating, but there are ways to make it work. Mods help a lot (there are some recommended at the end of the guide).
 
 
Here are a couple examples of prioritizing solar power over coal and nuclear power by using Node Prioritization. Note the differing solar outputs per the light level reading at the top of the gui:
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Node Prioritization - 540193FC1
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Node Prioritization - 30D0AC8C4
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Node Prioritization - 44AFF1FBB
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Node Prioritization - 9AF35CA1C
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Node Prioritization - E975E8662
 
.
 
 
 

Phenomenon – Ghost Power

Ghost Power is a generally undesirable phenomenon where power circulates between two nodes on a HV and/or MV grid where two or more power sources are combined. This results in a reduction of the combining node’s maximum power transfer limit from 19 MW to 9 MW or less which may then limit power transfer to loads beyond it, but as a sop for the player, the low power supply will always be transmitted through the nodes with the Ghost Power.
 
 
Ironically, this ‘bug’ somewhat resembles a real life aspect of the grid known as ‘reactive power,’ which helps to stabilize the voltage of a grid during transients with the downside being a reduction in ‘True Power’ i.e. the wattage we care about.
 
 
You can tell Ghost Power is present when:

  • A switch or transformer has a wattage reading higher than the connected power sources (or the sum of their connecting power lines/cables) can provide it.
  • When downstream power readings (closer to loads) are significantly lower than upstream power readings.
  • You might also see voltage cycling up and down by a few hundred to a thousand volts (you will probably need to use the voltage overlay; meters aren’t precise enough to see it.)

 
Ghost Power happens under the following conditions:

  1. There is a potential for it, as denoted by the pathing system.
  2. The path has a comparatively low power supply compared to the sources of the other paths it overlaps with. Possible causes include:
    • A low generation capacity like windmills.
    • A low wattage rated power line/cable.
    • An overloaded split power source.
  3. The power lines/cables connecting the two nodes are rated for a wattage higher than the low power supply.

The severity of Ghost Power is limited by a couple factors:

  • Average Ghost Power is limited to the capacity of the line connecting the nodes mentioned above.
  • More Ghost Power will occur with a higher disparity of available power source supply. Ghost Power really starts to happen when one source can supply twice the power or more as the low power source can.

 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Ghost Power - E5B31DECF
 
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Fixing Ghost Power

 
There a few options to deal with ghost power:

  • Add/remove nodes on the grid to force the pathing system to remove the potential for Ghost Power.
  • Build a power line/cable with a lower wattage rating between the nodes experiencing Ghost Power. This will limit Ghost Power while the actual power is transmitted.
  • Increase the power supply’s capacity (more powerful source, better transmission line so the source isn’t limited, etc.)
  • Don’t fix it. If you don’t need most of the 19 MW of the node’s transmission capacity, then you may not need to care (as can be seen in the second MV example image where line capacity is maximized for the power plant). Ghost Power is not generated at a power source, and so doesn’t cost you resources.

 

Examples

 
Medium voltage Ghost power examples:
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Ghost Power - 1A400D03D
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Ghost Power - 22F2A4D1A
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Ghost Power - 4C6BC6A56
 
.
 
High voltage Ghost power examples:
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Ghost Power - 6D438646A
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Ghost Power - CA72D1738
 
 
 

Phenomenon – Ghost Gates

Ghost Gates are a grid phenomenon where a power source and a set of nodes will not conduct power, even it is connected to a load (hence the term “Ghost Gate”). Similar to Ghost Power, Ghost Gates occur at the first node in a path connecting to a node shared by other paths. Ghost Gates occur exclusively in the paths that the pathing system designates, but it must be remembered that they occur on an individual load basis; other loads may ignore the Ghost Gate.
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Ghost Gates - 5C21D027F
 
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Power Pulses

 
A Ghost Gate will generally not conduct any power, but small spikes of power may leak through at a frequency dependent on the power supply (source 1 in the image above) on the load side of the Ghost Gate with higher frequencies at very low powers. The power spikes can be stopped at a certain load side power, but this seems to depend on the wattage rating of the power line crossing the Ghost Gate. A few Ghost Gate power lines/cable ratings and their respective load side power minimums to prevent the Ghost Gate from spiking are listed below:

  • 4 MW – at least 0.5 MW
  • 6 MW – at least 0.7 MW
  • 8 MW – at least 0.9 MW

I haven’t really tested this aspect of Ghost Gates, so these numbers may be inaccurate, but it would appear that every MW of line/cable rating may require an additional 0.1 Load side power to prevent the spikes.
 
 

Backup Sources

 
If no power is present on the load side of the Ghost Gate, then one could say there is an infinitely small frequency of spikes occurring (i.e. it’s constantly transmitting power); you could also say that since the load’s path list changed, that the Ghost Gate’s Path no longer qualifies for a Ghost Gate.
 
 
This is the third and final actual method of prioritizing power, but be warned that power must be completely absent on the load side for this to work. The load can only draw power from one source at a time, so brownouts will not be shored up by sources blocked by a Ghost Gate.
 
 
You might use a Ghost Gate to designate a power source as a backup source for another power source in case the main source fails for some reason (fire, no fuel/workers, accidentally deleting a wire/node, etc.). Once the main source stops producing power, the backup source will assume its loading.
 
 
Ghost Gate Example:
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Phenomenon - Ghost Gates - 85CE95B48
 
If the power plant stopped working, the windmills would start transmitting power to the load.
 
 
 

Grid Stability and Loading Variables

Factors that determine why the power readings at your power plants jump all over the place are explained here.
 
 

Grid Stability

 
Normally a grid will have some fluctuation in power which you can see at your power plants, but there are numerous factors that can make it much worse.

  • Connecting multiple power sources to one grid, but not directly connecting them all to the same node (Node Prioritization). This gets worse with more complex grids.
  • Overloading the grid – This can cause wattage to cycle between full power and throttled power at 80% voltage. Planning and using proper power line/cable ratings will determine if this happens frequently.
  • Transients – Loads that do not run constantly can disrupt the stability of the grid.
  • Renewable power – By its nature it is unstable, though solar isn’t too bad.
  • Day/Night Cycle – Most buildings will consume extra power at night.
  • Seasons – Some buildings only use power during certain seasons. Most of these buildings do not consume much power though, but mods may change that for you.

Theoretically, there is no real issue with having unstable grids in this game, but practically speaking, finding issues on an unstable grid will be a lot harder with readings jumping all over the place. You might have power issues at certain buildings but the swinging power readings may mask some of the indications you would use to find the issue.
 
 

A Word on Transients

 
Probably the biggest swings on the grid will be caused by loads that do not run constantly. There are many sources, but these are the biggest offenders:

  • Vehicle loading stations – Many stations, like the Railway liquids un/loading station, can consume almost a MW on their own, while a couple can each exceed 2 MW on their own.
  • Electric trains – Probably the worst offender, a set of electric trains can easily reach the output of a gas or coal fired power plant when accelerating from a stop.
  • Large Industries – The aluminium smelter, aircraft factory and many other industries consume respectable amounts of power, which will stop and start depending on resources and storage availability.

If you have grids that randomly have power issues, yet when you investigate you find everything seems to be working fine, check to see if there are any of the above loads that may be overloading your grids.
 
 

Night Loading

 
When night falls, citizens will turn on lights everywhere in the republic, which will result in an increased power draw from every building that citizens interact with. Generally each building may experience 20 kW of extra loading, while residential buildings will about double in power. If you are paranoid about having power issues at night, the max circuit breaker rating and the maximum daily MWh the games lists for each building will account for this, but you may find yourself overbuilding your grids.
 
 
Another aspect about the night are the roads with street lamps. Street lamps will use roughly ~0.02kW per meter or 0.4 kW to 0.417 kW per street light. To get the roads to actually light up, I think part of each road segment must be within the box range of an electrical substation, but some finagling may be required.
 
 
Ultimate Electrical Guide - Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic - Grid Stability and Loading Variables - 35F85AC4B
 
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Seasonal Power Variability

 
Buildings whose functions are dependent on the temperature will draw reduced power or even none at all outside of their functioning temperature range. Normally this is isn’t an issue because such buildings typically consume little power (on the order of kilowatts), but you may experience some changes in power if you separate the hot buildings (outdoors sports, attractions, etc.) and the hot buildings (heating plants, indoor sports which suddenly see more people, etc.) into different grids. Normally not a problem though.
 
 
 

Cheat Sheet

For your Exam comrade. Yes, you will be tested.
 
 

Conversion Formulas:

 

  • MWh = MW x time; typically this will be MWh per day, so time will usually be 60 seconds.
  • MW = MWh / time.
  • MW (or MWh) = kW (or kWh) x 1000; that is, 1 MW = 1000 kW & 1 MWh = 1000 kWh.
  • kW = MW / 1000; that is, 1 kW = 1/1000th of a MW.
  • KV = 1000 * V; that is, 1 KV = 1000 volts.

 

Unplugging the Grid and Plugging it back in

 
You can press E+C+L to reset the energy levels in all buildings to zero (except producers, who will just dip a bit), but the game cannot be paused for it to work.
 
 

Node Limitations

 

  • Maximum of 19 MW of power per node
  • Maximum of 19 nodes in a load’s path (the 19th node may be a substation though).
  • The power plants and foreign connections aren’t nodes and power will not flow through them, only from them.
  • Trafos and Electric track connections only add their transmission capacities to the track/road they connect to.

 

Grid Theory Main Points

 
There are exceptions, as discussed later, but generally:

  • Energy (read as voltage) is stored and consumed in every electrified building.
  • Energy is pulled to buildings from higher voltage nodes at a rate limited by the power lines’ rating.
  • Loads will use up to 100% of their building’s power rating until its voltage reaches 80%.
  • At 80% voltage, a building’s power draw will be throttled down, until the building surpasses 80% voltage again.
  • A building’s energy (and thus voltage) falls to zero when its full power demand is more than double the throttled power draw.
  • Avoid having buildings in a grid below 90% voltage to promote stability.

 

Pathing System

 
Look at the actual section for it; it is too complicated to condense further.
 
 

Node Prioritization

 
Requirements:

  • Only prioritizes sources directly connected to the same node.
  • Only affects loading assigned to the node directly connected.

Power Priority Order:

  1. Renewable Power
  2. Fueled plants (that consume a resource like coal or oil.)
  3. Imported foreign power.
     
     
     
    Sources in the same category are then prioritized by time of placement (not the time they were actually built).

 

Ghost Power Conditions

 

  1. There is a potential for it, as denoted by the pathing system.
  2. The path has a comparatively low power supply compared to the sources of the other paths it overlaps with. Possible causes include:
    • A low generation capacity like windmills.
    • A low wattage rated power line/cable.
    • An overloaded split power source.
  3. The power lines/cables connecting the two nodes are rated for a wattage higher than the low power supply.

 

Ghost Gate Conditions

 
Occurs solely when the Pathing System says it does, and one load may draw power through another load’s Ghost Gate.
 
 

Three Methods of Power Prioritization

 

  • Give a large source more nodes to directly connect to so that it has more load shares to supply than other sources (i.e. A power plant with 5 nodes on a grid will have five shares, while another source with only one node will have 1 share. If no other viable paths exist for the load, the power plant would carry five sixths of the loading, provided no limits interfere).
     
     
     
  • For wind power, you would do the opposite; have a main power plant directly connect to only one node on the grid while there are many other nodes that directly connect to wind mills. This way the power plant would supply a tiny fraction of the load unless the wind stills and the windmills’ outputs dropped.

 
 
 

Recommended Mods

Some recommended mods for those with a good understanding of the game’s electrical simulation and want some more flexibility for their grid designs.
 
 
If you are new to the game, I highly recommend not using these mods until you get some experience as these mods bypass some of the protections inherent in the vanilla buildings.
 
 
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2309772553 – [steamcommunity.com] 
 
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2301631525 – [steamcommunity.com] 
 
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2567838366 – [steamcommunity.com] 
 
 
This mod is safe for beginners:
 
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2012239920 – [steamcommunity.com] 
 
 

Written by Silent_Shadow

 
 
Here we come to an end for the Ultimate Electrical Guide – Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic guide. I hope this guide has helped you with your gameplay. If you have something to add to this guide or believe we forgot some information to add, please let us know via comment! We check each comment manually by approving them!
 


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