Electricity is one of those things that many of us take for granted- and I’m as guilty of this as anyone.
But after living through ice storms and several hurricanes (Isabelle, Rita, and Katrina being the most notable), it got me to thinking: What can we do to help ourselves in case of major power outages? The utility people work miracles restoring power after accidents and catastrophes. But they can’t be everywhere at once. And they’re as vulnerable to accidents as the rest of us. Perhaps more so, since they are the ones handling all this dangerous current. Add to that that the price of power has gone up along with everything else, and we have the ingredients for a disaster.
It doesn’t help that all a clever terrorist has to do to paralyze the entire country is hack certain key computer systems to shut off all electricity.
There are alternatives.
Solar power, for instance. It has been known for decades, and even now research is being done to improve it.
Wind power, like solar, is available readily. And unlike solar it doesn’t depend on the sun being in the sky. But it does have its drawbacks: For instance, a wind tower would be vulnerable to the same storms that generate the winds to run it.
I’ve even wondered if it is possible to build and configure a system that uses both. For instance, can we build a wind tower with solar panels mounted on it, with the excess power being stored in a battery pack until needed?
Let us think about it. And more importantly, let us do.