By Jeff Stark
Few scientific issues feature the near complete agreement that climate change does. According to the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change well over 95% of the thousands of scientists working on climate change science share the same interpretation of the massive store of climate data. The scientific consensus is firm and unshakable. Climate change is here, it is happening, and it needs to be effectively addressed.
With this in mind it seems clear that our task as a species is to prepare for the changes we know are happening, as well as the ones we have not yet identified. It is also time to make our protocols for dealing with climate change fully reflect the scientific and social realities.
Hurricane Dorian was truly outstanding as an example of the true nature of the natural rampage we are facing. Dorian fulfilled the long-standing scientific predictions of more and more powerful storms due to climate change. It also demonstrated that in dealing with the residue of disaster we must change along with the climate. Its predecessor, Hurricane Maria decimated the Island of Puerto Rico. What many of us do not realize, in our high-pressure media world, is the fact that even today, accvording to the New York Times, the island has still not recovered.
This imperative is particularly important when we consider the fact that a huge percentage of the damage caused by hurricanes results in destruction of our electrical grids. Poles, power lines and powerplants are damaged and destroyed; service is interrupted, with dire and often fatal results; repairs and restoration of our electrical infrastructure are costly and time consuming. It often takes months, even years to restore electrical service. In many cases the new/repaired systems and equipment remain vulnerable to new storms, events which are increasingly more violent and destructive as time goes by and the destructive energy generated by climate change continues to grow.
For many years our response to electrical disruptions, on an individual level, has been equipping ourselves with emergency generators. Most are gas-powered, cannot power all of our normal needs and are useless when our gas stash runs out. We need to face the fact that reliance on what is now an ancient technology may be dooming us to a hotter and darker future. No matter how efficient we become at predicting and protecting our electrical production and distribution burning gasoline for emergency power is like swimming upstream against a fierce and persistent flood.
WHAT WE CAN DO
The good news is that we have a solution to this permanently recurring problem. This transformative technology is solar photovoltaic panels which are replacing gas powered emergency generators. These renewable energy appliances are easy to store and then set-up. They are completely independent of outside power sources, like all solar power devices they require no fuel, only sunlight.
One of the most exciting features of solar photovoltaics is that they are now known to be extremely durable and reliable. According to the website published by Clean Energy Authority, in an article entitled, "How Do Solar Panels Hold Up in a Hurricane?" the authors write "...don't let worries about hurricane-force winds keep you from taking advantage of reliable and sustainable solar energy. Solar panels have passed not only factory testing but survived in some of the worst storms the US has seen in the past five years."
The best news is that the reliable and robust nature of solar photovoltaics offers another opportunity to turn adversity into opportunity. When the storm has passed the time for rebuilding has arrived. That normally means repairing the broken electrical grid with new powerlines, and, in many cases, powerplants. However, that does not mean that replacing a technology that is in its last legs with another set of legs is the only choice. The fact is that we can replace a storm-damaged system with a new, less expensive and more damage-resistant solar system that produces no-fuel required electrical power. And, while we're at it we can also replace the central powerplant paradigm with a distributed generation design that offers savings and better performance.
This is a big topic with many twists and turns. Discovering what will work best for our homes and communities will take time and effort. To begin we can do some internet-generated research. Pick a topic from the resources below and power up. Our collective future will benefit today and for many tomorrows.
How Do Solar Panels Hold Up In A Hurricane?
Google Search: Solar Generator vs. Gas Powered
Solar Generators Keep Traffic Lights Running After Hurricane
Currently Available Back-up Solar Generators
Learn more about "How Crowdfunding and Distributed Generation Are Changing Everything"