Whenever we hear about the benefits of buying locally, we are usually taking into account such possessions as hard products- beverage, attire, etc. There is certainly benefit to buying consumer products close to your locality. If you do not need to haul those things or the raw materials a long way, then it saves on the energy required to move those objects. However, most of us don’t think about electricity as a civic resource. In truth, we should be.
The immediate consideration that springs to mind is, “isn’t all energy produced locally?” The short answer to this is yes. The longer answer is something more like, “sort of.” If you live in California, you’re not going to be procuring electricity from New York- but you might be getting it from Oregon. It’s only a few hundred miles. That doesn’t seem so bad. However, many of us don’t realize that power is lost during the process of transporting it from one place to another. Power lines simply aren’t effective enough to haul 100% of the power put into them.
This may seem like an odd phenomenon given how much work has been put into electric industrial sciences, but the technical knowledge for moving voltage simply hasn’t made the leaps and bounds that have been made in the science focused on creating power. It remains a tremendous problem for the climate. By tranferring power, energy is wasted before it’s even gotten to your home.
There is, however, an easy fix: create your own power at home. If you have a wind turbine or solar cell in your backyard, it doesn’t have far to move at all. There are a set of positive aspects: 1. Home power relies on a neighborhood resource (i.e. creating solar power in Arizona, not Washington); 2. Power generated at home does not need to be transported miles and therefore will not degrade; 3. Ultimately, humanity will have to create less power since none will be lost in transport.
Undoubtedly, there are numerous other positive aspects to creating your own home power system. Generating your own power saves you money by allowing you tax breaks and getting rid of one monthly utility bill. In addition, environmentalists can rest assured knowing their electricity is truly renewable and not being made with fossil fuels. Lastly, you can be sure that a local resource is being used to make your electricity.
With today’s technologies, it is easier than ever to build your own ecological energy system. It is also cheaper than ever. There are numerous guides that can show you how to make solar cells, micro-hydro, wind turbines, and a variety of other green energy systems on your own. Often, this can be done for less than $200. Even fully-priced systems that sometimes cost into the thousands of dollars are likely to pay for themselves in the long-run.
Consider this impact. First, you save money. Second, you create power from environmentally-safe sources. Third, you prevent the reduction of power through transportation. Today, we should be considering electricity a local resource and if we truly want to make an impact on the environment.
Damon Westchester is the editor of http://www.build-green-power.com and an advocate of local power resources.