— Jun 22, 2010 —

For the short term, buy a diesel generator for the farm (see farm posts). Since people like to eat, I could see farmers getting a fairly big share of any rationed diesel.

For the long term: commercially built solar electric with home build wind power.

Why home built wind? Unlike a solar panel, wind systems have a lot of moving parts. That means they will break. One needs the ability to fix them without a dependance on parts or custom molds that only exist in other parts of the world.

I think draft horses will make a big comeback in rural areas. An hour ride into town (10 miles?) is very acceptible. At the slow speeds, our roads will hold up for a long time too.

— Jun 28, 2010 —

A generator of some type is probably my next major investment. We own a 5KW gas unit which I’ll be taking up to the farm soon – but thats good for tens of hours only (it will run for about 8 hours on 5 gallons of gas).

I’ve been looking at larger units, in the 25KW range, that could pretty much run the house. A tractor PTO unit is one of the cheaper ways to go – but after reading one of the owners manual, I’m pretty sure I’m not thrilled with the concept of shutting everything down every 8 hours to grease the PTO shaft. Voltage is likely to fluctuate a fair amount as load does unless someone is monitoring it full time.

Standalone diesel is an option, but much more expensive. Still, if people want to eat, they will make diesel available to the farmers, so the raw fuel is likely to be available.

Most of the units I’m seeing are propane/LP based. I suppose I could get a large tank and use that. The biggest electrical loads in my house (based on breaker current) is the Range, the Water Heater, and the GSHP. If I had propane anyhow, I could put a gas range and water heater in to keep the supplier comfortable. Suspect such a tank would run a generator for weeks if not longer. The range and water heater are really optional loads anyhow. The GSHP, at 30amps, is pretty light duty honestly (unless, of course, you don’t have those 30 amps).

Lots to think about.

Long term, one needs a hybrid solar/wind system, but thats another post.