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Cabinman. You are absolutely right on target! I am currently reading a book which is a biography of local pioneers. These pioneers never had electrified homes or electric motors to ease the workload around the farm or ranch. I was pleasantly surprised to find the book illustrated with photographs which among other things showed my neighbors and good friends at various ages from infancy to adulthood when they graduated from University. These children of the pioneers are my own age. No wonder they get a good laugh out of my talks about designing power systems for people wanting to go off grid. These people were born and grew up off-grid. So did my wife but at first I figured it was an exception rather than the rule. The family homestead is still not electrifiied and on the grid to this day.
The people who talk about wanting to form a off grid community makes me wonder what it is that they do not like about the existing off grid communities and herabouts there are plenty of those. Exactly what is it they envision an off grid community as having that is unique.
When my wife was 20 she bought a log cabin on a remote lake. No power and no roads. She would get basic supplies by visiting a store some 30 miles away once every few months but usually had fresh meat because her hunting cat always brought home a grouse or rabbit every couple of days.
AS an engineer I view the grid as a community benefit by making use of the economies of scale. Same goes for things like sewer systems. Stupid me. Evidently going off-grid is a political protest statement against big government and big business. I view being off grid as being able to live in places where you want to without being dependent on having everything that society offers like drug wars, crime waves, being caught in cross fires during drive by shootings and worrying that everything left outside might be stolen.
Although I know how to design and build things like septic systems, potable water wells and distribution piping, not to mention generation of electric power by wind, water or solar; I also know the costs involved for material and the labor required. I appreciate the benefit of such things. I can remember living in a small community when they finally installed a municipal water supply and sewers. What an improvement!
I am old enough to remember the great black out of 1965 and I spent many years working in the electrical industry that helped create the present grid system of the North East. When a solar storm knocked out Hydro Quebec in 1989 I was working for a company that designed and built the monitoring and control system that was supposed to prevent such an occurence. We had a regularly scheduled project meeting with some HQ engineers soon after and the black out was a hot topic of discussion. I am well acquainted with both the good and the bad aspects of the grid. The trick is not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Would I go back to the technology level of the 1920’s NO! But I see room for improvemnt. The technology is not responsible for the greed of businessmen and politicians. If we could get rid of the greedy buggers the technology would be fine.