Friday, March 28, 2008

Post-oil life: a small Scots island

Reading this article about a small Scots island's electricity experiment, I wonder if this is one model for life in the Long Emergency? Not for big cities, but for underpopulated areas.

Listen to their new setup:
The island makes its electricity through a combination of solar panels, wind turbines, and a hydroelectric generator, all scattered strategically across the island and linked in a single grid. Storage batteries provide a backup. Two diesel generators stand ready to provide emergency power.
It's not quite American lifestyle standard, either in amount or in community enforcement:
Each household is allocated a ration of electricity not to exceed a draw of 5 kilowatts (kW) at any time (the equivalent of turning on 50 100-watt light bulbs all at once). Even at the full ration, that's only about one-half to two-thirds the amount used by a household in Britain, though islanders can supplement that with a diesel generator or heat from a wood stove. If the islanders use too much electricity and trip up the system, they will have to pay £20 ($40) to be switched on again. Businesses are allowed a draw of 10 kW. All these conditions were agreed to by the residents.
(thanks, LibraryBob)

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