Tag Archives: solar power

  • Ukraine and Your Gas Bill

    how has conflict in the Ukraine affected Natural Gas transport?

    Have you been following the situation in the Ukraine? Skirmishes on the other side of the globe seem far from our everyday worries, but some parts of the world are already considering possible far-reaching effects.

    At the top of the list is Europe’s energy supply. Roughly a quarter of Europe’s natural gas comes from Russian oil fields. Most of Russia’s pipeline transport routes cross Ukraine on their way to continental Europe. Though experts claim Europe’s reserves are in good shape, and fears of shortages or price hikes are premature, European newspapers like Britain’s Telegraph are already reporting increases in the price of oil and gas.

    Some of you might remember oil and gas shortages in our own country in decades past (is anybody going to own up to remembering the 1970s?). And within my own kids’ lifetime, we’ve seen energy prices fluctuate frighteningly. But along with shortages, embargoes, and depletions, we’ve also seen a fairly miraculous proliferation of energy technology. Just a generation ago, for example, the cost of solar power for consumer use was extremely high. Today, the average prepper can buy a portable solar generator for less than the cost of a laptop.

    Chances seem good that Ukraine’s troubles won’t affect your gas bill—but Ukraine isn’t the only country with troubles! Could you power your home if your utilities were disrupted? Do you have the tools you need to wash clothes, heat your home, or to cook? Have you considered storing fuel? Or maybe you’re looking into generators. Whatever your own energy solution, be sure to do your homework.

    Storms and wars aren’t likely to stop. But that doesn’t mean we have to sit in the dark!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: emergency warmth, generator, emergency preparedness, warmth, solar power

  • London Plugs into the Sun: the Blackfriars Solar Bridge

    solar-bridge-london-network-rail.jpg

    For a city noted for its fog and drizzle, London’s newest distinction may seem like a bit of a head-scratcher. According to Smartplanet.com, the London is now home to the world’s largest solar bridge.

    The Blackfriars Railway Bridge is a Victorian era structure that lies somewhere between the Thames, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Tate Modern. This bridge has undergone massive reconstruction that took five years of planning and construction and is part of a £6.5 million renovation. The Blackfriars re-opened this year with a new roof of over 4,000 solar panels.

    The panels will produce 900,000 kilowatt hours annually, which will cover half of the energy needs of the electric railway station housed under the bridge. This use of solar power will even make a neat little dent in the city’s fuel consumption. Sustainablebusiness.com describes the innovative (and quite dramatic) engineering that went into the project. They point out that “a city doesn’t have to be in the tropics to take advantage of solar energy.”

    You and I can harness the same power on a much smaller scale. As solar technology continues to develop, it becomes increasingly accessible. Our own site features solar powered products providing light and communication. And if the sun’s power can help run a city that rarely sees it, maybe it’s something we should be thinking more about.

    --Stacey

    Photo Courtesy of SmartPlanet.com

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: solar power

  • Living Off the Grid —Could You Do It?

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    Roscoe Bartlett living off the grid

    If you live in the city, there are many luxuries to enjoy—power with the flick of a switch, grocery stores or shopping malls less than five minutes away, constant communication with everyone via cell phone, internet, or radio. So . . . could you ever find yourself living off the grid?

    After 20 years on Capitol Hill, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has taken himself completely off the grid, retreating to a secluded property in West Virginia. We came across Politico Magazine’s article via Instapundit and, whether or not you agree with Bartlett’s political views, we think there are some interesting things he’s done as a prepper that make this article worth reading.

    Bartlett lives without a phone, without a link to outside power, and without municipal plumbing. He has developed quite a few skills that will help him if he gets into an emergency.

    For the past few decades, Bartlett spent his free time up at this property, prepping it for the day he’d go off the grid. He built five cabins by himself, then wired solar panels and ran pipes from freshwater springs to each cabin.

    Living completely off the grid, he rises at dawn six days a week in order to maintain his power sources, food, and way of life. He spends about 10 hours a day cutting logs, gardening, and doing other tasks around the land.

    “People ask me ‘Why?’” Bartlett said in an interview with Politico Magazine. “I ask people why you climb Mount Everest. It’s a challenge, and it’s challenging to think what life would be like if there weren’t any grid and there weren’t any grocery stores. That’s what life was like for our forefathers.”

    Read more of Roscoe Bartlett’s experience living off the grid (and why he chose to do so) in the Politico article, “The Congressman Who Went off the Grid

    What changes would you have to make to your lifestyle if you went completely off the grid? Would you do it?

    Photo Courtesy of Politico Magazine

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: off the grid, emergency preparedness, Survival, skills, solar power, emergency power

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