By Silvio Marcacci, energyNow!
Whether you’re reading this on your computer or mobile device, you needed electricity from the grid at some point in the process. Those electrons come from far-flung power plants, across miles of transmission lines, and out of a plug in your wall. This routine may seem like just another part of life, but it’s not the only option.
Living “off the grid” may conjure images of counter-culture hippies or the old-fashioned ways of the Amish, but a growing number of people generate their own electricity and live in the lap of luxury without ever paying a utility bill.
energyNOW! correspondent Patty Kim met some of the estimated 180,000 families across North America using clean energy technology to become self-sufficient and enjoy all the comforts of modern life, off the grid.
Bill Kemp, author of “The Renewable Energy Handbook,” went off-grid when he learned running power lines to his new home would cost a small fortune. Now, solar arrays produce over 2,000 watts of energy, and a small wind turbine chips in 1,500 additional watts. On cloudy and windless days, a backup half-biodiesel, half-diesel generator provides power. All this renewable energy constantly charges a bank of batteries in his basement and keeps the lights on well after sundown.
But Bill Kemp isn’t the off-grid success story. Oregon’s Three Rivers Recreational Area is a thriving 300-home community of million-dollar mansions, trailers, a fire hall, and even a yurt (traditional Mongolian home). To learn more about Three Rivers and watch the entire segment, click the video below: