Lessons from the India Blackout
August 28, 2012 | 2 comment(s)
|Image Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/slideshow/idUSBRE86U0C520120731#a=1|
India experienced one of the biggest power outages in history from July 31 to August 2 leaving over 700 million people without electricity for several hours. An outage of this scale seems unimaginable in the U.S., but only one month before India’s blackout, storms knocked out power for over 3 million customers in the Eastern and Midwest U.S.[i] We’ve all experienced power outages of a few minutes or hours, but what about a few days? Are you prepared? Despite the scale of the India blackout, those with alternative energy sources were virtually unaffected. As one news story informs us, “Five of India’s biggest electricity users generate 96 percent of their requirement.”[ii] These companies collectively spent billions of dollars building their own private power stations. [iii]Even though the average person lacks the funds to build a full scale power plant for his or her personal use, having a backup portable generator is in reach for most of us.
One village in India was unaffected by the blackout because they were completely off-grid. Meerwada is a remote village that received electricity for the first time last year, generated by a solar power station.[iv] With the price of solar panels dropping each year, having some solar power is a real possibility for many of us. Solar powered generators like the [GoalZero™ Yeti 1250 Solar Generator] store enough power to run larger appliances like refrigerators and freezers and don’t use fuel. Goal Zero™ also makes smaller [solarpowered battery charging devices] that can power smaller devices and charge rechargeable batteries and cell phones. Large or small, some type of solar backup power could prove invaluable in a power outage.
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