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Power grid goes down for millions of Americans as Mother Nature reminds us all to get prepared

(NaturalNews) Mother Nature has a way of interrupting our lives with not-so-subtle reminders to pay attention to reality. Over the last 48 hours, a blistering heat wave has swept across nine U.S. states, causing the power grid to fail for millions of residents. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency.

"Millions of people across nine states were reeling without power Saturday to deal with thermostat-popping temperatures after fierce thunderstorms pounded parts of the Midwest and Atlantic Seaboard," reports CNN.

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Well, prayers have been

Well, prayers have been answered. The heat wave broke today, at least where I live. The downside, it broke hard, with a storm that ripped limbs off trees in my yard. Luckily nothing was hit...but it's still going on as we speak...

Wow. Them musta been some serious thunder storms

I read an article the other day that most grid-tied solar energy systems are absolutely useless in power outages because the charge controllers and converters all switch themselves off in the event of power failure so people aren't back-feeding juice into the system which could injure the line workers.

That makes sense but wouldn't it be just as easy to have the unit switch itself off from feeding the grid? Even just a simple throw-switch can take you off grid in that scenario. And what's to stop anybody from simply grabbing 12V right from the panel outputs themselves?

Wish I could find the link but the article went on to make the point that offgrid systems are PHENOMENALLY EXPENSIVE over their whole lives because lead-acid batteries don't last forever, they have a predictable life span in terms of charges/discharges. OK that is true if you buy batteries new. My kinda toy little system, well I get used batteries from a local mechanic and they still hold some juice.

However the article ignored the fact that there are hybrid systems that do exactly that.

So I kinda got the idea the author was against solar electricity overall. No big deal, there are other arguably better ways to make juice. Wind and hydro can be done on small scale to great effect. I once saw a youtube of a solar steam turbine and that little thing was actually putting out mechanical force! There's no way photovoltaics can product that kind of power. Like real horsepower. The thing with the turbine I saw was it was as noisy as a fire engine's sirens. But that was few years back and I imagine they might have found a way to quiet the crazy thing down.

Here's the thing to me: EXPECTATION MANAGEMENT. A lot of wealthier people install systems that would allow them to have pretty much the same lifestyle. My little scrapped-together system will run a light bulb and a boom box for a day or so. It's just there to make power outages a bit more liveable, not allow me to run the TV, microwave and blender for frozen maugaritas.

The poor man's method is to have some solar for lights, have the wood stove or thermosiphons for heat and a solar hot water heater for hot water. Separate systems working together to provide you with some basic comforts. I keep meaning to make another solar oven...not even sure I know what happened to the last one but they work pretty well. Not so great in winter and not at all with clouds but I live in a desert with an inexhaustible supply of sun. And I got a propane system.

So my advice is a "not all yer eggs in one basket" kinda thing. And I do hope my rambling is useful to somebody out there. All the stuff I mention here is AMPLY documented online so....read, learn and build while you can.

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.

Oh yeah a bit off topic but HAM radio

Good HAM stations are expensive and you need a pretty serious stationary antenna to really get the range (global) but they don't need much juice to operate. You do need to pass a test and get a license to legally use good frequency ranges but you don't have to learn Morse Code anymore. Plus, people have been using HAMs to transmit data for some years now. Yup, you can send and receive "emails" and the like, even access the web with the right gear.

Me and what's-his-name on the chats were discussing this and he presented a way where we could begin to replicate many of the functions of internet (TCP/IP). There are permanent bandwidth limitations to this but hey, in the utter absence of "inernet" there are at least partial solutions. What it isn't is convenient or easy. With regular internet you guy a computer, the cable guy comes over and hooks you up and you can be online the very same day. Even more so with WiFi.

But a HAM station is totally something to be on the lookout for at garage sales and Craigslist and old HAMS are usually more than willing to advise the newb.

Something to consider....

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.

Thanks

Thanks for such informative comment.
This apple juice is to you -- cheers!

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How awful. I am thankful Texas is on it's own grid

Sometimes we may have a brown out, but it usually doesn't last more than an hour. They longest I've gone without electricity--2 days, was caused by ice storms.