By Angry Old American
Copyright Angry Old American, June 4th, 2022. All Rights Reserved.
We are all painfully aware of what the Biden Administration has defined as “Putin’s Energy Crises” in the United States. Odd how Russian oil, accounting for only 3% of America’s fuel, could cause such dramatic price hikes.
Just a few years ago, there were over 120 exploration drilling rigs active in America; while today there are less than 20, and those few remaining operations have become so unprofitable that banks refuse to loan capital to them.
Energy pipelines have been closed. Trucks and trains now consume energy and pollute the air in order to transport the same oil and gas. Refined diesel to run those trains and trucks has become so rare that unrefined oil is not being delivered to refineries.
Refineries have closed due to new government regulations and restrictions, which has reduced our available diesel and gasoline by nearly 50% since 2019 on the American East Coast. Another refinery announced last week that it is closing their operation.
Lake Mead and the Colorado River, which provides water for 25+ million people, and Hoover Dam which provides electricity for 1.2 million people in the Las Vegas area is nearly dry from the worst drought in 1,000 years. Hoover Dam, operating currently at 67% capacity will be reducing hydroelectric flows even further in order to conserve drinking water in Lake Mead, which is at the lowest level EVER.
Hydroelectric capacity in the entire Western United States is facing a devastating shortage starting this Summer due to both drought, and insane “Environmental” releases of 50% of existing water reserves from California reservoirs. Lakes Oroville and Shasta, which should be at 100% capacity right now, are at 50% and 40% respectively. Remember those “Environmental Flows” the next time you are asked to cut water consumption to your garden, or our local Water Department hikes prices due to “State Conservation Concerns.” Where does your “Conserved Water” flow when it leaves Crescent City? This fresh water flows into the Pacific Ocean, which is already suffering from desalination due to melting ice-caps!
Nuclear Power Plants are also being phased out in the United States, which further exacerbates the shortage of electricity. The bad news is soaring electricity costs from power companies. The good news is that there will be so little electricity available that decreased consumption from brownouts and blackouts will actually save consumers money.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Biden Administration has tapped into our strategic oil and natural gas reserves; not that these strategic reserves will do Americans any good. Oil has been diverted for sale to energy producing countries in South America. The United States has also increased Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) exports to Europe over past weeks thirty fold! Natural gas intended for emergency domestic use during this Summer and Winter will be used in Europe.
We also have the possibility of all-out War may be erupting with Russia, Iran, China, North Korea or all of them at once. Both Russia and China have threatened adversaries with nuclear weapons. A Russian dignitary recently announced that the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” have already been unleashed upon the world. A nuclear strike on the USA need not be directed at terrestrial targets, but toward our communication satellites and power grids via a Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Weapon. Such an attack on our power grid during this energy crises would instantly plunge us all into cataclysm.
Mainstream Media News has warned Americans to prepare for significant diesel, gasoline, natural gas, propane and electricity shortages for the foreseeable future. We can grow our own food; but we cannot produce our own diesel, gasoline, natural gas or propane. What can we possibly do to prepare for the coming energy crises?
The typical television pop-culture brainwashed environ-warrior would answer “The solution is simple; drive electric vehicles, and install solar panels with wind powered electric generators!”
All well and good, but the infrastructure of the United States does not exist to provide “Green Energy.” The Democrat’s “Build Back Better Plan” does much more to support the influx of illegal aliens and redistribution schemes for the “Socially Underprivileged” than to address this deficit of energy.
Yes, the US Government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars to roll-out over 500,000 electric fast charging stations across America. Electric cars and trucks, costing two or three times that of combustion engine vehicles, require electricity to run. Sure, it is nice that they can now charge-up their batteries in as little as fifteen minutes; but where does that electricity come from? Power Plants still rely primarily on coal, oil, natural gas or nuclear power to function. Where will the “Green Energy” come from to replace the electricity currently produced by fossil fuels and nuclear power?
China’s Uyghur slave labor factories provide the lion’s share of solar-voltaic panels for the entire world. Humanitarian import bans have stalled these solar cells from reaching America, the UK and Europe. Wind-energy has proven to be both a fantasy and an outright scam; producing a larger carbon footprint to manufacture than is ever displace through “Green Energy” production. Wind turbines are so unprofitable, that if it were not for government subsidies, nobody would operate them. Wind generators also create a cesspool of toxic chemicals and cleanup at the end of their productive life.
The “Green New Deal” has turned into the Biden version of Chairman Mao’s “Great Leap Forward.” Mao starved tens of millions of rural farmers while building crude manufacturing facilities. Biden and his Communist cronies are doing the same thing in the United States to promote a baseless transition to “Green Energy.”
Who will ultimately pay for this Green Energy Production? Have you seen the ads that saturate media “If you are thinking of installing solar panels on your home; stop right now. The government will buy them for you, absolutely free, and will give you a $2,500 bonus check just for applying.” Sound too good to be true? These advertisements are an absolute fraud, and there is no truth whatsoever to their claims. Caveat Emptor; let the buyer beware!
So, what can we do? Are we totally at the mercy of crooked politicians and energy hucksters?
I understand that many readers are reliant on electronic medical devices like CPAP machines. In such a case, an electrical blackout is not just an inconvenience. An electric generator of some sort could become a case of life or death. Most of these folks already have some form of electricity backup.
Since fuel shortages will become a fact of life, a gasoline/propane hybrid generator would only be a good long-term fit if you have a very large propane tank on your property, or an abundance of gasoline fuel. Such a hybrid fuel generator would have its place in a redundant system in order to assure you get the emergency electricity that you need. This system would consist of intermittent grid energy, solar energy and the emergency backup fuel generation.
Solar-voltaic panels cost approximately $1 per rated watt of production. Some panels come in a kit, which provides wiring and a voltage regulator for either 12 or 24 volts. Thus, a one-hundred watt panel will cost approximately $100. Of course, this panel will not generate 100 watts, but rather 60 to 80 watts on a sunny day at peak hours. On a cloudy or foggy day, perhaps 25 watts or less would be more realistic. There are new panels that are more efficient during overcast conditions; but you will pay nearly twice as much for them.
Most conventional professionally installed solar systems will have a “Power Grid Inter-Tie,” which means it will be tied to your provider’s power meter. Many of these power meters are the new “Smart Meters” that allow Power Companies to remotely identify and shut-off appliances without your knowledge. In a nut-shell, these Inter-Tie systems augment the electricity you get from the grid. The solar power you generate is subtracted from the electricity coming from your Power Company. In theory, if you produce 100% of your power from the sun, then you can sell the excess power back to your utility company; for about 50% of what you pay them!
There are also “Off Grid” solar systems that are not tied into your power meter. These systems often are used to supply power to barns, greenhouses, off-grid cabins, or to specific appliances in the home such as refrigerators or freezers.
No matter what form of solar you use, you will need either a dedicated 12 or 24 volt Direct Current (DC) system with matched appliances; like a 12 volt refrigerator or light-bulbs; or you will need an alternator to convert the DC voltage to Alternating Current 110 or 220 volt (AC).
Both Inter-Tie and Off-Grid systems normally come bundled with batteries. Old systems in the past used deep-discharge Lead-Acid marine batteries; but these days most use much lighter and faster charging Lithium batteries. The newest Lithium batteries are capable of charging and discharging many more times than the old Lead-Acid batteries. Once batteries reach the end of their recharge life, they must be replaced.
Most folks preparing for emergencies will buy a “Solar Backup Generator,” which normally has connections for collecting energy from either Solar Panels, a 110 volt AC wall socket, and a 12 volt DC car battery or cigarette lighter. These “Solar Generators” will have a battery rated in “Watt-Hours.” At today’s prices, you will normally pay a little over a dollar per Watt-Hour of storage. When determining Watt-Hours needed for your application, add up the rated watts consumed per hour for every device or appliance you wish to use, and then multiply that number by the number of hours you expect to use them. A refrigerator using 40 watts per hour will use 960 Watt Hours per day.
If you intend to use a 15 Watt LED light-bulb for six hours each day, it will require 90 Watt Hours.
Not all Solar Generators are created equal. If you should choose the option of a Solar Generator, select one that can be charged WHILE the battery is in use; otherwise, you will need to charge the generator and then disconnect it before plugging-in your appliances! There are also generators that will charge fast from a wall socket and others that charge slow. I have an older 500 Watt Hour unit that takes 8+ hours to charge; while my newer 1,200 Watt Hour unit takes less than an hour to charge off my wall socket. This can be a handy feature during Winter rolling brown-outs, when solar won’t work well for you. This will also help conserve precious fuel if you are forced to use a gasoline or propane generator to charge your Solar Generator’s batteries. It makes more sense to charge batteries to run your appliances than to run them directly off your combustion engine generator.
A quick tip regarding gasoline or propane generators: In California and many other States these generators are illegal to buy, sell or use if they do not meet new California Air Quality Standards compliance. Used generators that do not meet compliance are dirt cheap; but could earn you a fine in the future. The USA has changed under the Biden Administration, and your survival means nothing compared to “Green Energy” and collecting kick-backs, taxes and fines.
America did not see their first motorized vehicles til the late 1800s, and the horse and railroads were still the primary means of conveyance till the turn of the 20th Century. Until the 1930s, most of the rural areas of the United States were without electricity.
Can we hope to adapt to some bygone methods of survival? What forms of transportation did people use? What did people do to cope with extremes of heat and cold before electricity?
Boots and shoes, with leather soles, were the primary means of transportation in the past. Leather soled sandals provided the means of transport for the mighty Roman Legions. The invention of the bicycle provided a secondary self-propelled form of transport.
What about the horse? Those with romantic visions of horses and buggies might visit a local stable and learn about equine care and maintenance. Be mindful that these tasks of feeding, grooming, exercise and health checks are daily chores; with shoeing and medical care being done as needed. Unlike your car, a horse cannot be left unattended for days or weeks in your driveway. For some, these daily tasks are a labor of love; while for others it is easy to understand why motorized vehicles replaced the horse. Horses will probably not survive the coming food shortages anyway. Along with cattle, pigs, goats and sheep, they will join elk, deer, and bear as prey for local poachers. Within the first year of famine local farms, parks and wilderness areas will become a wasteland.
What then are we all supposed to do; walk or ride a bike? Perhaps those will be the only options! For those of us who remember the gasoline lines of the 1970s, filling your tank could take an hour or more, if your license plate even matched the day of the week to gain access to the pumps. Sometimes, we would wait for an hour just to have the pumps run dry just before we got to them. During the 1970s, we only faced a petrol crises. This time around, we will face shortages of diesel, gasoline, natural gas, propane and electricity; not just in the United States, but throughout the “Free World.”
Walking. We have come a long way since the days of shoe and boot leather. Galvanized rubber soles far outlast the old leather soles. However, rubber plantations in Thailand, the primary producer of rubber, have been destroyed by an epidemic fungal disease. Rubber has subsequently skyrocketed in price to such a degree that tires and shoes will soon become unaffordable. When I was a kid, leather soled boots and shoes were still common. Galvanized rubber soles were first used for combat boots in World War II, and then for athletic “sneakers.” Leather soles might once again be the primary option. However, leather soles required periodic trips to a cobbler for replacement every year or two. I remember nailing metal taps at the wear-points of the sole and heel to increase its life. Of course, if the Animal Rights folks have their way, we won’t even have leather. We might all be wearing wooden clogs! And if the Environmentalist Tree-Huggers have their way, we will need to scrounge and retrofit old used tires from the junk-yard, or develop thick callouses on our bare feet!
Bicycles are a nice advantage, but you better have some good locks and sturdy chains in Del Norte County! These local crooks will steal anything not nailed down. I can remember a crook stealing fence boards nailed into a neighbor’s fence last year!
The new electric bikes are nice, if we have the electricity to run them. Yet these expensive bikes will be even more a temptation for our local thieves. Bikes are out of the question for old bastards like me. I am lucky to walk with a cane without falling over, much less keep my balance on a bicycle. Perhaps the day may come that I will try an adult electric tricycle; but for now I just walk. My vehicle was abandoned over a year ago, so I no longer have gasoline, maintenance, insurance or repair expenses.
How do I go shopping without a car? I either use a folding grocery cart, use public transportation, or I pay extra to have the items delivered. Public transportation can be a challenge for old and disabled folk with all the druggies, drunks, criminals and crazies. Of course, walking isn’t all that safe either. I recommend that those of compromised fitness and health practice situational awareness, and carry a loud whistle, pepper spray, a taser, and a good stout hickory cane. This new generation of “privileged” and “entitled” young folks consider the weak and disabled to be fair and prime targets; especially in California cities that have revolving-door legal systems. If you do defend yourself, expect to be arrested for assault. California law does not look kindly toward elderly and disabled “Vigilantes.”
As for surviving the expense of air-conditioning during the heat of Summer, there are several options. When I was a kid, we had a “Swamp-Cooler.” These simple devices installed in a window, were attached to a garden hose and had a powerful fan that blew air against a porous wet fabric, like burlap, and then into the room. The condensation of moisture created cold air, but also a great deal of humidity. The cost of a Swamp-Cooler is slight compared to a modern Air-Conditioning. I can remember my Mother’s complaints about higher energy costs when we switched to air conditioning in the early 1960s.
In the days before electricity, people wore light colored and thin cotton clothing during summer in order to dissipate sweat. Wide brim “Panama” straw hats allowed for shade and airflow to the head. When I was in Southeast Asia, cloth “Boonie Hats” provided shade, and a bandana on the back of the neck provided the cool of condensation. Later, in Borneo, I learned that most equatorial homes and commercial establishments had floor-length curtains over doorways to retain cool air in occupied rooms. Hand fans were also popular, especially during the thick hot fog during daily morning rains.
Food preservation during power outages will be a challenge. Most of us have become too dependent on refrigeration and freezers. Extended power outages will probably result in huge losses of fresh and frozen food for many families.
Before the days of electric refrigeration, city people used “Ice Boxes,” with ice harvested from frozen Northern lakes shipped South by rail. The arcane practice of ice-harvesting has fallen into disuse since the invention of modern refrigeration.
In rural areas, “Root Cellars” dug into the ground kept fresh vegetables and root crops cool during the heat of Summer. People also practiced preservation methods that did not require refrigeration. You do not need to dig a huge cellar. I have seen trash cans insulated with straw placed into the ground to keep foods cool. Just make sure to place a small air-vent atop to allow condensation to escape.
Canning, preserving, pickling, fermenting and drying were common for crops. Meats, fish and poultry were cured and smoked, and eggs were “water-glassed” in a lime solution or hard-boiled and pickled. These preservation methods were common practice in most homes during the 1800s. You can often find used canning jars in 2nd Hand Stores. Old used food jars can also be reused for heat immersion canning; but never for pressure canning. Just make sure to keep the lids. Keep in mind that some store bought foods come in jars compatible with Mason Jar lids.
The primary form of foul weather survival in the Winter was always to wear the appropriate clothing. We are blessed in Del Norte County with an extremely mild climate. I rarely use heat for my home, and in Winter keep my home at 55 degrees during the day, and allow it to drop at night. In late Fall, my Long-Johns come out of storage. Wool clothing and blankets wick moisture away from the body, and will keep you warm even if they become wet. A thick wool watch-cap will retain much warmth because most body heat is lost through the scalp. Wool socks are also a must for staying warm. Modern soft wool blends, especially Merino wool, will not trigger itching. During what little leisure time I have in the cold evenings, I will put on a thick Winter Hooded-Robe which staves off the cold when I am sedentary. Outdoors, I have a good set of commercial rain gear, and also high top rubber boots for doing yard work. If I am walking to the store, I just wear a hoodie and brave the moisture because I always work up a sweat.
For those on a budget, get your extreme weather clothing in 2nd Hand Stores. Check the tags to determine what kind of fabric they are made from. Most modern folk are more concerned with style and designer labels than with composition and quality. What you will need is good, solid and functional outer-wear. Your clothing is your primary form of shelter from the elements.
I will not belabor the many tips for home weatherization; as these can be found from your local utility company. I will however recommend that you be creative in the application of this advice. Construction materials are becoming hard to come-by, and extremely expensive. Are there less expensive alternatives? Perhaps aluminum foil over windows can reflect the hot summer sun, or old 2nd Hand Store blankets can be hung behind curtains during the winter. Consider using clothes-line rope if rubber door and window insulation strips become scarce.
During Grand Solar Minimums, like the one we are experiencing now, extreme swings in climate occur. We saw this in Texas with the rare freezing weather last year that shut down their power grid. Should the same happen here in Del Norte, we should have simple measures in place to survive an extreme freeze without power. Avoid using fire or an unauthorized heat source to avoid carbon-monoxide poisoning; as this is a major cause of death each year. For those of us with fireplaces and/or wood burning stoves and inserts, these could be a life-saver. However, legislation will soon come into effect that will ban the use of wood or bio-fuels. There are radiant propane stoves, like Mr. Heater Buddy heaters, that are safe if used as directed. Keep a small dome tent that will fit inside your living-room. Covering the top of the tent with blankets and tarps to retain heat, and crowding together with your family inside can provide enough collective warmth to survive. If you are still cold, then do some pushups and warm-up exercise. Have some high calorie foods available to provide energy.
These coming years of energy shortages will be a challenge for all of us. This is especially true as the Biden Administration and Democrat Party increase their insane energy policies. Very soon, the powers-that-be will be banning gasoline and propane powered generators and the use of wood-burning fireplaces and stoves entirely. Your survival will NOT MATTER, and you can expect huge fines if you should break their new environmental laws.
Those of us who have chosen self-sufficiency and independence are the enemies of all Tyrants. Totalitarian States require weak, stupid, easily programmed and compliant citizens that are totally dependent upon the State for their survival. This is why multiple generations have become enslaved to Welfare State handouts. It is why government controls water usage and limits home gardening. This is the reason fuels are limited. It is why our means of self-defense will soon disappear. This is why your children are politically indoctrinated in public schools and graduate functionally illiterate. It is why they use your children to inform on parents, relatives and neighbors that disagree with our current Administration’s moral and ethical teachings.
Those that support such draconian systems will ultimately become fanatics, just like Stalinists, Nazis and Maoists of the 20th Century. These brainwashed automatons will be a threat to all those who are smart, strong, capable and independent. Now is the time to look closely at those in your local government, neighbors, friends and family. Be objective and ponder if they will become boot-licking snitches of the future.
In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the deepest regions of the “Inferno,” the “9th Circle of Hell,” was where Satan himself resided. The 9th Circle is a frigid, cold-blooded place filled with those who practice treachery, deception and betrayal. You can only be betrayed by those that you trust. Now, while the pressures of shortages and inflation are just starting to surface, you should watch and listen. Learn how those around you are reacting. If they are actively serving God and responsibly caring for themselves and their families, then you have a good indication of their character. If they are relying upon government “Authorities” to care for them, then they have chosen their true Master. The Bible clearly states that we cannot serve two Masters. We either serve God or Mammon.
Grand Solar Minimums ultimately lead to a mini-Ice Age. We already experienced enough volcanic activity during the past couple decades to create particulates in the upper atmosphere that fell and darkened the normally reflective Polar Ice Caps. Ice Caps in both the Arctic and Antarctic have melted and broken apart, leading to desalination of our oceans. The massive wildfires on every continent during this past decade have added even more gasses and particulates to the upper atmosphere. All of this has decreased our global food production. Reduction of only one more degree could make wheat production in Canada impossible.
When these Grand Solar Minimum related climate events last happened, at the fall of the Roman and Byzantine Empires, there was mass starvation, pestilence, plagues, migrations, civil unrest, wars, the collapse of civilizations and subsequent “Dark Ages.” Enough of our ancestors survived those events that each and everyone of us is alive today. If they could survive, then we can too. We need to adapt and keep faith in God as we battle the elements. Perhaps we might even have a bit of leisure time to sit on our deck-chairs and witness the madness of those who have taken the political helm of the Titanic as it sinks.