The basic needs of life include, food, clothing and shelter. All of us know that. But we also need light and heat, for which we need fire. This is how we have started our life on this Planet. Today it has been replaced by electricity and gas, which is available to us 24/7. We use it to run anything from our toaster to heavy machinery. It seems like we cannot live without it. We have learned to master its uses by way of its application in all walks of life. We use natural gas to cook and to heat our homes. This is clean energy and is much better than burning fossil fuels which has a negative impact on our environment. Now that we have all basics covered, we can go out and seek to satisfy our inner needs and wants. People have been living off the grid in many countries and their numbers seem to be increasing year over year.
Our grid is a well planned and well connected network of power stations, substations, transformers and above ground or underground transmission lines. During transmission a ton of power is also lost which is in fact dead power. This does not do us any good. The infrastructure cost in building and maintaining these structures are enormous and is usually transferred on to the customers. In most cases there are no options for the customers but to pay and go with the flow. So someone somewhere has the power to dictate the charges for all our utility needs and this seems to be spiking up each year and we have no say in it either.
So in that case is it wise to tap into our own grid by getting off the public power grid. That may not be a bad idea. As the population increases with each passing day, the strain on the existing grid also increases. This may lead to overload and blackouts. Moreover both coal and nuclear power generation plants work round the clock to keep up with the demand. This increases and magnifies the effects of pollution enormously. With increased exploitation of forests, mines, natural gas, oil and coal, for purposes of tapping into natural resources, we are creating massive destruction of our environment in our wake. If we continue to be doing the same what we have been doing so far and expecting different results, nothing different is going to happen. It will be status quo.
We stand a chance in protecting our Planet, and our environment by creating our own self contained grid. We could also create our own self contained ans a self contented lifestyle. We could have solar panels on top of each of our homes, our glass windows could tap in the power from the Sun, We could tap water from deep underground, heat our homes through geothermal action and grow fresh food in our own backyards. If case we don’t have a backyard, we could support the local farmers by giving them our business. In return we get fresh and healthy produce from them. It may also put a smile on their faces which is priceless.
Here are the Advantages of a stand alone grid that is self sufficient:
- It does not strain the entire public grid
- Solar and wind power : from roof top installation
- It is clean energy
- Low monthly bill
- moderate cost of operation and maintenance
- Generally reliable
- Backup power storage, still in its infancy
- Not dependent on external power sources
- We are doing our part in protecting our environment
- Initial capital layout is relatively high
- Replacement costs high
- Battery and storage technology not improved yet
- Zoning regulations and permit requirements
- Red tape
Solar energy is free and plentiful and is available for anyone to tap into. The technology is here. So why not use it? Why are we still dependent on fossil fuels to power our cars, heat our homes and run our industries, even though we are fully aware of its effect on the environment. This tells us that we are not doing our part. Is it because it is the only option that is available to us or because the cost to implement alternative energy is too high? It seems to be both. Monopoly in any field will definitely curtail new innovation and halt the progression towards any new invention. This will lead to the same old same old mindset. With no other options available to customers, they in turn, turn a blind eye to better and efficient alternate energy sources due to its high cost. In the end we WILL continue to be doing the same, the same as what we have been doing for the past 100 years : Getting sucked back into fossil fuels.
Living off the grid is very possible if we wish to do so. It is also a mindset and a minimalist lifestyle. This is simple living at its best. It requires careful planning, downsizing, being frugal and will need the willpower to live off the grid and to lead a simple, healthy life by being self sufficient and independent by staying far away from being dependent on fossil fuels.