Over the past few newsletters we have focused very much on
basic survival, specifically staying fed.
Survival is our first and foremost priority for obvious
reasons. But there is one thing separating the great
preppers from the good:
At first glance, the idea of comfort may seem like a bit
of a luxury, when faced with a brave new world, or at
least very extreme weather.
A little bit of discomfort doesn't kill, after all.
But it does affect your energy levels, how you sleep and
how many calories you burn.
Even more so, it affects your mood, and being good spirits
is important. The main comforts you'll need in a disaster
include staying entirely dry and not feeling cold, eating
something that you like, and having enough food that you
are not constantly fighting hunger.
Those are good for the body.
But something that goes a very long way for the spirit,
helping retain a sense of normalcy, is electricity. With
some planning, you could keep your house lit even when the
whole neighborhood goes dark.
For the survivalist who doesn't want to invest too much
money into something permanent, or who is not allowed to,
a generator is the obvious choice.
The size of your generator is going to depend on your
You will have to figure out how many watts each of your
devices, primarily lights, need to run.
This may be listed on the packaging; if not, there are
general wattage worksheets available online.
Add up all the devices that will be running at once, and
you will know what size of generator to get.
Bigger is not better. The biggest generator available
might be able to handle your entire electric usage, but
all of those watts you aren't using are wasting valuable
Secondly, you are going to have to decide what fuel you
want to use. A generator can run on petrol (gasoline),
natural gas, vegetable oils or bio diesel.
* Solar power
Solar power can be a big investment, especially if you
intend to cover your roof with photovoltaic cells. To
minimize grid reliance, though, it can be a worthwhile
Depending on where you live, you might even be able to get
a government grant or 0% interest loan to help with the
installation. In some locations, you can also rent
Even if you only want a secondary system for those times
when the power goes out, solar may still be an option for
you. There are plenty of portable systems that can be set
up to run temporarily.
You might not even need quite as much direct sunlight as
you think. Gloomy Germany is currently the world's largest
solar power producer!
There are also ways of getting around a less than ideal
If you choose a system with a battery, you will be able to
save the energy that you create during sunny days and save
it for the night and cloudy skies. This certainly has its
If you don't choose a system with a battery, you will only
be able to run your devices in sunlight – hardly the time
when you'll need your lights!
* Wind power
Every location has sunlight, but not every location has
winds strong enough to power a house. If you are in the
right location, though, wind power has its benefits.
Wind power is less of an investment than any of the other
renewable energy sources. The turbines are also generally
quite easy to install.
If they are going to pay off, however, they need a fair
bit of wind, and that generally means buying an incredibly
tall turbine or installing it on the top of a building.
If you live in New Zealand, you just might be in luck!
These fair isles have such impressive winds that quite low
turbines can often power entire houses.
But as with solar power, you are going to need some kind
of battery to keep you going when the wind is less strong.
It might be more difficult getting nearby neighbors to
sign off on a wind turbine than solar power, though, as
they can be quite unsightly and make lots of noise.
It is also difficult to get a wind power system only as a
While a solar cell system can be brought out and placed on
the ground when the grid goes down, due to its size the
wind turbine must be a permanent fixture.
* Water power
Speaking of permanent fixtures, if you want to really
minimize your grid reliance and earn some major
alternative energy points, consider water power – that is,
if you have a source of flowing water or a reservoir of
some sort on your land.
There is a common misconception that a very high water
flow is necessary to produce energy. This is not the case
There are systems that can run on streams with as little
as 1.3 feet (0.4 meters) of water and no elevation drop.
The cost of installing a micro hydro plant on your land
will vary greatly on your site, the water flow and the
distance to your house, but it may be cheaper than you
Kits are generally available for the DIY-minded, but you
have to be careful and ensure that the generator and
turbine are a good match.
But a micro hydro plant is definitely not for the prepper
who only wants a secondary system to pull out in an
emergency. Water power can, in some places, be highly
I hope that this newsletter helped you think outside the
(power) box and better prepare for the future. Next time
we will explore alternative energy more in-depth.
Get a jump start by taking a look at the Solar Stirling
Plant system. There are loads of guides to DIY energy
projects that can power your home without the big price
tag … but Solar Stirling Plant is one of the
best by far: