Energy and Water
Elsewhere we have talked about Resilience. One of our biggest Achilles’ heels when it comes to building a resilient way of life is our use of energy — and water. At the moment we are mostly reliant on fossil fuels for our energy: coal, oil, natural gas. We (as a nation) don’t have huge supplies, and we’re pretty much at the mercy of people thousands of miles away. The Chinese could increase industrial output, or the Saudis could restrict oil production, and, hey presto, energy prices would go up, and there’s nothing we (as a nation) can do about it. And there’s even less that we, as individuals, or as a community can do about it.
Or is there?
When this webpage first appeared it was called “Energy Generation”. Up until now the model has pretty much been that big companies generate, or mine, or drill for energy, and other big companies distribute it and sell it, and the rest of us just buy it and use it.
But that is all changing.
Nowadays we can all do some generating, not only of the energy that we use, but we can also sell any excess back to the big boys.
And we can store energy too, and not just the energy we generate. We can even lease some of our storage capacity to the national grid, to help them iron out their fluctuations between supply and demand. Things are gettting interesting!
In this section we will discuss:
- Solar (including generating, storing and grid-sharing)
- Small-scale wind
- Geothermal, including heat pumps, both ground source and air source
- Bio — including biomass, biogas, bio-diesel
- Water: where it comes from, what we use it for, and where it goes
So why are we not discussing hydro and large-scale wind?
Mainly because you either have to be geographically fortunate (on a cliff top with prevailing winds blowing at you, or with a mountain stream gushing through your property, neither of which apply in any site we’re likely to find in Hampshire), or because, even for a village, the capital cost would be too great. We will, for now, leave that to the big players.