April 5, 14
Every year the men in my family spend a week in Huntington Oregon. Huntington is a small town located near the Snake River on the Oregon Idaho border. We go to the Snake River to catch catfish and stock up for the year. Huntington is a very small town. It only has one gas station, and a small convenience store. What is astounding to me is the amount of people that live along the Snake River. From Huntington, a road follows the river on the Oregon side all the way up to Brownlee Dam. The road is not improved, and only wide, enough in spots that one car can pass. When we take our boat up the river, it is fascinating to see how these people live. Most homes have solar panels, and some even have their own wind turbines to help generate power. When I asked a local in town why the homeowners have their own wind turbines, his response was that they could not always count on having power from PGE. The reason is location; they are to far out for a technician to get there in a timely manner to repair a damaged power line. Therefore, out of necessity, these folks had to find a way to create their own power.
I can only remember a few times in my life when we were without power for more then a couple hours. We have become accustom to easy energy, and we take it for granted. Due to the easy access to power, we do not understand just how vulnerable we really are to the loss of energy. If we lived in Portland, like the families in Huntington, we would understand how precious energy is, and find ways to generate it ourselves. If we were forced to generate energy ourselves, we would not take it for granted, therefore, we would be more careful, and conserve the energy.
There are several options to assist in each household generating its own energy. Manufacturers now make smaller windmills that can help power a home. Huge advances have been made in solar power technology that can help provide power to a home. Lastly, we now have the ability to generate energy from the ground to help heat our cool our home.
Wind turbines are now available for private families to purchase to help provide energy for their home or small farm. According to www.windenergyfoundation.org, wind turbines can now be used to power your home, business, or farm while helping to protect the environment, and are suitable for use on properties as small as one acre. Not all homes are suited for wind turbines, individuals and to seek the advice of a manufacturer or dealer to help determine if their property is suited for a wind turbine. The government provides tax credits for individuals to help lower the total cost of installing a wind system.
A fast growing substitute to traditional energy sources is solar power. Solar panels can be installed on your roof and help subsidize your energy costs over the years. Solar photovoltaic technology can significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and our dependence on the grid (Crane & Kennedy, 2012). A family living on a small farm can install solar panels and wind turbines to help provide their own energy, and in a natural disaster, they do not have to depend on the grid to provide power for their home.
Geothermal energy is a system that can help provide heat or cooling for homes, and can help eliminate their dependence on the grid. Efficient and economical, geothermal heats, and cools and cuts fossil fuel use in homes. A ground fed climate system can help free a family from fluctuating energy costs and dependence on grid energy (Sawyers, 2009). Geothermal is just another technology families can use to cut their dependence on grid power.
In more families moved away from the grid, and made an effort to provide their power, we would start to eliminate the need for fossil fuels, but more importantly, would have a power source that was not dependent on the grid. This means that in a natural disaster, the family would still have the ability to generate its own power.
Crane, D., & Kennedy, R. (2012, December 12). Solar panels for every home. Retrieved from
Sawyers, H. (2009, December 18). The guide to home geothermal energy. Retrieved from
Wind power your home. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.windenergyfoundation.org/wind-at-