by Indiana Lee
Surely by now the importance of energy independence is clear. The United States has experienced disastrous power outages and fuel shortages one after another. These problems have been caused by various factors, from winter storms shutting down power grids to ransomware infecting a massive oil pipeline.
All these issues teach us a singular lesson: we need energy independence now.
What are the hurdles that complicate energy independence, and how can we overcome them? By exploring the issues, we can see how we can remove the barriers to energy independence.
Developing independent energy grids is expensive
Advocates for energy independence exist across the political spectrum. Still, everyone has different ideas for implementing a secure power grid outside of dependence on foreign trade or faulty systems.
However, the unfortunate reality surrounding all of these ideas is that energy independence is not exactly cheap. Even when we eliminate some of the red tape on producing more oil from states like Texas or North Dakota, we still run into high-cost business and large-scale risks.
The Colonial Pipeline ransomware hack was proof of exactly this. Bad actors can effectively infiltrate power systems and make American consumers pay for them.
We spend billions of dollars in subsidies to produce ethanol and biofuels that only provide a fraction of the fuel we need. Other renewable energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal power are often economically unfeasible with the added drawback of unreliability.
When you consider that it costs approximately $2 million per kilometer of transmission line to develop a power grid, it’s clear that the overhead expenses of energy independence present the real barrier to securing power solutions for small communities all over America.
Some organic preppers are turning to biogas as a more cost-effective and waste-reducing way to manufacture fuel. However, this can come with its own set of expenses if you don’t already have the materials. For example, ample storage space and the means to safely store your gas can add up. Meanwhile, there are the high temperatures you’ll need to maintain to produce biogas. Which in turn means you need effective fire safety measures.
Then, there’s the problem of government regulation.
Regulation prevents innovation
Depending on where you live, you could face regulations that prevent you from choosing your energy sources. This has consequences for how you go about planning your method of securing independent energy for your homestead or community.
For example, when the Berkley, California, City Council imposed a ban on natural gas hookups, cities across the US followed suit. This meant a new reliance on energy grids that drove up prices for consumers and limited individual choice.
Fortunately, however, other governments have taken measures to prevent such bans from ever taking place. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, for example, recently signed a bill that protects consumer rights by guaranteeing energy choice. The decision comes after a winter storm that knocked out power to 4.5 million Texas homes and left 57 people dead, a horrible tragedy that highlighted the essential nature of energy independence.
Energy rights advocates battle for fewer restrictions and more choice
Now, energy rights advocates across the nation are battling for choice and a redress of the regulations that promote unreliable fuel sources over others. The limitations that regulations like these enforce lead to an inability for the market to innovate. Traditionally, we’ve seen shoddier products emerge as a result.
With fewer restrictions on every level — from federal laws to neighborhood HOA ordinances — gaining energy independence can be much easier than in recent years. At the same time, dispelling myths is essential for promoting energy choices that can power safer, cleaner grids. For example, geothermal energy can be tapped in many more places than you might think, not just locations by volcanic activity.
Consumers free to choose their power sources can make better choices and practice sustainability without adhering to misguided regulations. After all, we’ve seen how effective the push for alternative industry mandates has been in securing reliable power grids.
Large green energy grids may not be reliable
As evidenced in the power outages seen during the winter storm that ravaged Texas in 2021, relying heavily on wind turbines and solar power won’t solve our energy needs. Green energy tends to be inconsistent. As a result, people sometimes suffer fatal consequences.
Acting to coordinate all your available energy sources can set you on a path towards energy independence. Solar can cut down on your energy costs and generate independent power on a reasonably consistent basis depending on where you live. You can then capitalize on these benefits by altering your habits to use more energy during the daytime.
However, other fuel sources are still necessary. From fossil fuels to geothermal energy, developing energy independence requires balances and fallbacks. If current regulations supported nuanced approaches to energy efficiency, we could more cheaply and easily maintain sustainable power solutions.
What can we do to gain energy independence?
The problem of energy dependence is a hard one to overcome because of the expense, regulations, and unreliability of the tools we now often utilize. Understand these hurdles, then develop a plan to address these challenges as you plan your sustainable power sources.
Do you utilize sustainable power sources? Have you gotten closer to energy independence? Were there roadblocks along the way? Share with other readers in the comments section how you overcame those challenges.
Indiana Lee lives in the Pacific Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.