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Short term vs Long term

When it comes to self sufficiency and survival there are usually two ways of doing things. One because being self sufficient does not stop you going out into the world and trading for something. Survival could very well mean you are on your own. Sometimes they overlap but that usually works out to be expensive in its own way. Self sufficiency means a problem is short term while survival means long term. Here we will look at both as with power you can use the same systems for both with one or two exceptions.

So dealing with an area like generating power we can clearly can see two quick and dirty solutions to our power problem. First, batteries. Charging them up when the power is on and then using them similar to a UPS on critical systems. Second, a diesel generator. It has limitations in as such it requires fuel to run. Said fuel being expensive if purchased normally but for agricultural purposes a substitute, red diesel, can be purchased which having a much reduced tax rate means it is significantly cheaper. Red diesel is solely intended for agricultural use and can be used in tractors etc. for food production. Red diesel is marked, with strangely enough a red dye, so that if you put it in your vehicle it can be detected and you will get fined. Don’t steal from the government, they hate the competition.

Batteries just switch on when the power goes, powers whatever is on it, recharging when the power comes back on.

A generator can be switched on when the power goes off for short periods to keep things going, freezers frozen, heating for whatever needs heat in the cold hours and light in the dark. You simply buy more fuel when the lights come back on and you can keep on top of it. If you can afford one you should have one for the brownouts that are coming due to our super duper energy policy of relying on wind power. Longer term requires it to run on rapeseed oil or a significant storage of fuel.

In addition you can, when the price is right, supplement your power with solar power, water power or wind depending on your situation. You can do this now while the expertise is around to do it.

If you have a stream on your land and it flows down a hill it may be suitable for a turbine or water wheel. Solar power can go anywhere that has a direct view of the sun while wind power via wind turbine or wind mill is much better on windy areas like moor land or on the tops of hills. I would go hydro if you can, with solar being next and wind power last. Mileage may very depending on your location.

In a survival situation the same kit can be used. Remember, you will not be getting any more fuel for your diesel unless you make it yourself whilst the others should run for a while without major maintenance. Consider spares and maintenance when buying your package.

If things are really bad you will have to remember that the noise a generator makes will travel for miles, wind turbines, wind mills and fires are visible for miles and, depending on installation, so may solar panels. Not forgetting that a light outside at night can be seen for miles as well. Remember OPSEC. This could bring the bad guys to you, or even hungry and cold good guys.

Finally, power used to be generated by heat, steam, coal, wood and gas or energy from animals, horses, cows, man himself, little hamster wheels, etc. There are plans out there which you can use to build your power plants with. It is much easier to get the tools and components now. However, with these you will be very specific what the power is for and not want to waste it.

I have several UPS devices at my house to cover short term brown outs. My intention is to add solar power to this to charge them up for longer term use with lights, freezers and power tools while using solar ovens and heating to provide hot water and food. If I can afford it I will buy a diesel generator and stock upon red diesel. I don’t have the facility for water or wind power here.

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