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Climate change and you............ Options
#21 Posted : Friday, July 03, 2009 2:36:56 AM
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I think it's hard to say that high voltage DC power lines are not practical when I get my power threw one that was constructed in 1978

The power is generated at a coal plant in ND and is sent 430 miles to Delano, MN where the ~400-kV DC is converted back into 60 hz AC. From there it travels threw regular high voltage AC lines.

FYI: As I understand it the units at each end are made up of ~500 modules that are connected in series so that each module only has to handle ~1000 volts. At one end you have diodes to convert the high voltage AC into "pulsating DC" and at the other end you have what are basically "switching supply's" that create a 60 hz sine wave.

Back on Topic...

Anyway... There are HUGE amounts of renewable energy available, however without a nation wide Tera watt size grid we simply can't transport the power to where it's needed.

FYI: Switching to Direct current is also one step closer to making a "super conductor" based grid since "super conductor" based power lines need less cooling when they are handling DC instead of AC.

 This forum software sucks and does not use the standard formating tags. It's best to edit your post in a email or some other text based program and then just paste the result into a "Add reply". I've also given up to trying to figure out how to quote stuff right.

PS: I now have my ground water based cooling system running again and that reduces my electric usage.

#22 Posted : Friday, July 03, 2009 4:01:25 AM
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Ah, there is the key, you are riding a DC on an 'baby' AC, first leg, to compensate for the parasitic losses, and to optimize the shielding.  Just a minute, let me check this newest reference we just got finished here at the Librum, the Hawkins Electrical Guides, yes, 'envelopment'.  Then conversion to standard AC.  Now, that does make a lot more sense.  Interesting.  I am going to have to do some more digging in Majere's archives, when he skulled out this huge hydro design, why he did not do something simular.

Congrats on getting the cooling back on line. 



I am glad somebody else is cussing the code changes.  Not to wish ill on anyone, but these people, umm... how can I say this nicely...  Need to read before they talk.  Or should it be crawl before walk?  (sigh)  You would not believe some of the things they are trying to do here now, for their gain, on our dime.  I swear they are writing as they are going, just to get more fees, etc. 

But I still do not think anything other than good old fashioned self reliant production will fix anything, especially anything related to the warming aspects.

BTW: I bet she loves the older material.  Tell her that the Hawkins, it is a 1932 set I think, will have the demos up pretty soon, two to three days, so I would like to extend an invite for her to come over and grab/gorge at will on the demo editions.  Not to try to push a sell, I hope you understand.  I have met quite a few who have begged library cards here to get their hands on them. 

Well, I think it is time to admit defeat on this one, but before I go, a chuckle for the two of you on the electric issues.  One of our neighbors, not on our mini grid, had a mouse problem.  Critters ate into the rigid pipe conduit at the base entry point of the building, up inside the conduit, nested in the meter box, and went all the way up into the service / drip loop.  There is a lot of exposed conductors now.  Here is the chuckle, by code, here, the point of demarkation for repair is the meter.  But do you think the utility will admit that?  No, a lot of hemming and hawing, while our neighbor got more frustrated.  So we stepped in and made the phone call to force them out, as these neighbors are part of our volunteer fire network.  All three technicians on the team got bit, at least twice.   THEN they cut the fence, and the bull got their service truck.  Justice.







#23 Posted : Saturday, July 04, 2009 5:01:20 AM
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Oh boy,that problem again.We have that little problem that becomes a huuuge problem a lot up here,the little cute buggers seem to like the warmth of the conductors plus it gets them inside the house.Ya,I know Sarah every power co. is different,some say their responsibility ends at the weatherhead connection others extend their responsibility down to the customer connections at the meter socket.Ours even tells us (with a little orange sticker)where we're going to put the meter,no if's and's or but's! About the critters,I had to buy 2 new trashcans today,they ate into my old ones,had to replace.ROFL about the bull,bet the linemen will strike that incident up on the cafeteria bulletin board,lolol.As far as large grid work I think like Bill,a large one will be needed not neccesarily for power plants but for the huge wind grids that are bound to spring up by farmers,landowners and  energy companies in the Great Plains.Not 600 MW power plants but thousands of megawatts(maybe millions)that are available in the practically constant wind that blows across the plains.There's a lot of incentive to do this now,even up in conservative NH we have several wind farms built or being built(I've seen the turbine blades,each one takes up one semitrailer!)in the 10-200 megawatt range.

#24 Posted : Friday, July 10, 2009 4:57:21 AM
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There is enough economicly avalible renewable energy in the midwest and western areas to power all of our energy needs with enough power to create syntetic oil, BUT without power grids we can't transport it to where it's needed.

Curently there are lots of tax incentives for creating reneable energy, however there are not any incentives to creating the huge transmition lines needed to transport that energy.

PS: I've now increased my cooling system's ablility to cool my house by running the warm output water up to sprinklers on my roof. I am suprized at how much of a difference it makes to keep the roof cool. I would paint the roof white if the place wasn't scheduled to be demolished. Of course; I am planing on using heat reflectve shingles on the new building.

#25 Posted : Friday, July 24, 2009 3:37:26 AM
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To respond to the original question.  It seems apparent to me from the data supplied by my own eyes and ears-- the only things I really trust-- that climate change is real.  Who/what caused it, I neither know nor really care.  We shouldn't need an unfolding crisis of epic proportions to realize that an institutionally profligate lifestyle is stupid; the fact that we do is just illustrative of how quickly we become mentally lazy given a life of ease.  Regardless, the thing to do now is shift our brains out of neutral and figure out how we're going to deal with the situation. 

cc aside, I think self-sufficiency and local sourcing are the only way to go.  A local economy is the only sustainable economy, and you all know I'm famous for harping that "sustainability" is not just about environmentalism.  A local network is much harder to disrupt and much easier to get up and running again.  It also has less dire, and less widespread, consequences if it does break down. 

What am I doing??  I grow about a third of our veggies; I'm increasing that incrementally every year as my capacity to manage it improves.  I'll be prepping for grapes and berries this fall and adding them in the spring.  I buy most of the rest of our fruit and veg in bulk local in season and preserve it to use until local in season comes around again. 

One weakness there-- I keep lettuce around all year and indulge a mad craving for zucchini in January.  I'm not even gonna try on the zukes until I get a greenhouse going-- my experimentation project this winter-- but does anyone have any suggestions how I could cat-proof a couple big pots of lettuce for indoor winter gardening????  

We catch all our fish except the very occasional can of tuna.  I plan to add beef back into our diet this fall since I've found a local grass-fed source, and probably subtract the CAFO pork we've been eating.  I'd like to go to primarily wild meat, and I will if I can work out a deal with someone whereby they'll kill and skin if I butcher and pack.  

I'm trying to talk my in-laws into moving away, away, away from Ft Myers FL.  They'll be about the second ones screwed by rising sea levels and anyway they're not wealthy enough to sustain living there.  In good years they tread water; in bad years they get deeper in debt.  And just guess who is going to have to clean up that mess???? 

I'm building knowledge to acquire about 10 acres and build up a small farm.  If things hold together for about another 3 to 5 years, we'll be there.  Optimistically anyway.

And speaking of local sources and deals and in-laws and farms...

...does anyone have any suggestions in the area of community-building???  I would feel like a real leech asking an established group to take us in.  I work hard, and I take direction, but I'm kinda stupid.  My husband is actually smart and coming along, but he's still a mentally lazy suburbanite-in-recovery who doesn't take direction well unless delivered with utmost tact.  My kids are also coming along, well if I do say so myself, but they are 7 years, 2 years, and 11 weeks.  It will be a long time before we would be anything but a burden.  I would rather organize a group of my own and fight our way up from the bottom together than coast on what others have already done.           


#26 Posted : Friday, July 24, 2009 8:49:15 PM
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MC, I think your sentiments and commitement to 'not being a burden to a developed community' is noble but wrong-headed.  In fact, it is silly.  First off, all the established communities I am aware of seek and desire 'new blood'.  Part of it is just the interest and the energy that newbies bring but part of it also the simple fact that all these small, independent group/communities need people.  The school needs students, the store needs customers, the trades need jobs and the markets need contributors.  And every community project needs extra hands.  You may be 'new' and need help in some areas but you are also a bona fide asset from the get-go.  So, stop with the 'martyr' thing.  Just get on with it.  Trust me, if you become a pain after the first year (everyone is a pain in the first year), they'll tell you.

And, of course, sometimes someone wants to leave to go to other things.  So there is always a turnover. 

I agree that community building is the right response to the way the world is heading.  We are doing that but it is not easy.  Typically, it was the independent, self-determining type of person that ventured out from the city to the rural lifestyle in the first place.  They didn't expect to be 'in community' so much.  In fact, many still try to do everything themselves and wait until the last second to ask for help. 

But, as things developed, the need to cooperate evolved and grew.  So, people out my way have adopted a quasi community.  They socilaize, trade, hire and purchase from one another whenever they can and, of course, help out on virtually any request.  But they don't initiate community gardens, plant community crops, run community institutions or even expect to be 'represented' by any communit organization.  They speak for themselves 99% of the time.  The nature of western culture is to encourage and respect independence and to avoid órganizations'.  And I feel much the same way.  People out here still cling to that to some degree.

Having said that, we get more 'community-like' every year.  The school is the focus point (we have eight kids in the K-7 grades, all different ages and we get about 100 people attending the annual Xmas show!).  It is, of course, boring as hell but kind of sweet in a Norman Rockwell kind of way.  Plus, after the kids have stumbled through their roles, everyone chats and the event becomes a Xmas party in a way.  But it is the school around which we gather.  I think every community has to have some kind of community focus other than just living in the same area.   

In a nutshell, I say, "don't hesitate.  If you want to do it and have the means, then seek out a small community and take the plunge.  You can always move again if you make the wrong choice." 

I am partial to our province - BC (Canada).  But it is very expensive.  Western Oregon and Washington are just as ideal and a great deal less expensive.  If I was an American, I'd move to the Olympic peninsula in Washington state.  Or the San Juan Islands.  Both are fabulous. 

#27 Posted : Saturday, July 25, 2009 5:04:13 PM
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 jd is spot-on with his advice for seeking community. It just about describes what I did twenty-some years ago now. I settled on rural SW Oregon. It wasn't so much an organized community all on one piece of land, but rather just a place where hippies came in the sixties and seventies. Communes flourished here back then. The communes are mostly gone now, life and times change. Some of the folks stayed on here and it has evolved into what it is today: An area of artsy craftsy, environmentalist, alternative lifestyle, tourism community. Several other nearby towns are similar in temperament. There are a few co-operative living groups sharing properties here, but not like the old commune days. Mostly we are independent rural eccentrics, living on our own properties, who support each other. I'm so glad that I didn't just go to some podunk-nowhere place!  You should seek out the right sort of community.


Coming here wasn't easy. I had to travel/commute out of state, to my old haunts and customers to be able to work and support myself for maybe the first five years I was here. Now, I've got more work than I can do if I want it. Welding has been my ticket to making it here. Every little community needs a metalworker, no matter what kind of changes are coming. I've spent years accumulating the inventory, tools and hardware such as nuts and bolts in my home shop here.  Now, I don't need to advertise. It comes to me by word of mouth. Others folks are artists or professionals. There isn't much in the way of local employment here. A few medical professionals make a long commute to the city for their hospital jobs. Really, the best plan is to have or develop something that you can do yourself. There are creative folks who are doing well here. Don't expect to show up and have an easy time finding a local job, you've got to make your own, pretty much...

#28 Posted : Monday, July 27, 2009 6:20:44 PM
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The forum's resident expert in community building has passed.  Majere.  Sorry you missed him.  He formed two enclaves and one community.  All but one are going strong, the one was shut down intentionally.  I live and work in the other enclave now.  I would love to read 'over the shoulder' on this subject again, I learned a lot!

From my view, JD is right on the money with the 'new blood'.  Ask.  It never hurts to ask.  But I would not advise you try to join one of ours for religious reasons.  Here, if one wants to transfer in, from another community/enclave, or from the outside, it is discussed at a meeting.  Most are politely declined.  Some are told they may stay, but it is always at the need of the community.  Any such would have to be the same way or you have a condition of  'grasshopper and the ants'.  So when you look, have skills, and a skills 'cv' ready! 

Sorry, 'cv', criticum vitae.  A type of resume.




As far as this 'national network' is concerned, I am mixed.  We historically are 'stand alone' minded, "If you can't produce it, you may not have it!".  But I do see the need for transport for those who can not supply their own demand.  I still think stand alone is best, and MAYBE feeding the network.  The politics, crazy regulations, and other BS, must be removed first though.



#29 Posted : Monday, July 27, 2009 6:20:44 PM
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Seems it's petty much accepted wisdom now - the climate is changing and it is changing faster than even Lovelock predicted.  Faster that than IPCC predicted.  We may be heading for the proverbial hell-in-a-handbasket.  But embracing anihaltion has never been a human strongsuit.  We tend to resist.  So, the question is, are you resisting?  Are you doing anything?  I don't mean - are you using your blue boxes.  I mean are you really making lifestyle and future lifestyle changes? 

I can't say that I ran away to the forest five years ago because of the threat of climate change although I was aware of it.  I ran away mostly because I couldn't stand the blind, greed-driven lifestyle/work camp of the consumer addicted.  I sort of leapt from the moving train without really knowing where I was going to land.  I confess that MEN was as much of a guiding light as anything - especially these forums.  But I really had no idea. 

Today, I do.  I am constantly working to be more and more independent.  I know that it is impossible but I am doing it anyway.  I am off-the-grid for virtually everything but food and that is the next step - making a garden, learning to hunt and processing some of our own edibles for long storage.  Our fractured and well spread out community are also looking to develop some specialties that will serve us like metal work and the like.  We are all carpenters.   

But, what about you?  What are you doing?  What are you thinking?  What does a city person do?  What about you folks in small towns............any movements afoot to 'stand alone together'?  What does that look like?  

Last question: has anyone planned to move away from low lying oceaftronts or any other directly defensive measures for climate change (like, leaving Florida)? 

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