This is a response to a couple of emails I’ve gotten the last few days. In these two cases there was no email address to which to respond.
1.) Someone suggested I add a section on Rope. I did some digging and searching and I working on it. Be a few weeks but it will be added at some point.
2.) Someone suggested a section related to renewable energy and what would be needed to make use of it after a collapse. That one takes a bit longer of a response.
In the case of an EMP, solar or manmade, pretty much all electronics will be fried, burned out and pretty much useless though small amount might be salvageable here and there.
Solar power as a viable power source is pretty well out. A solar power system is complex requiring Panels, Controllers, Batteries and Voltage Inverters. Of the four elements of a complete system the Panels and Batteries are likely to survive an EMP. The Controllers and Voltage Inverters will not. So after the event while your panels will still generate electrical power you will no way to convert it into a voltage that will reliably recharge the batteries. Even if you can build a controller from salvaged materials you will have not voltage inverter to convert the 12/24 volt battery power into AC power for electrical equipment. If you are enough of an electrician to build a controller and Inverter from scratch components then there’s not much that older technology can provide that you do not already know.
The same situation applies with Wind Power except that the Wind generator replaces the Solar Panels in the above paragraph though many modern wind generators have circuitry installed in the generator case that would also be fried. That problem could probably be worked around but the other two problems remain.
In either case, wind or solar, they are not viable long term solutions. In a post-Collapse solar panels represent a technology that could no longer be produced. Solar Panels are quite sophisticated pieces of technology which have only really become useful energy producers within the last few decades. They require an extensive and very sophisticated infrastructure to manufacture and are unlikely to be manufactured for a generation or two after a collapse.
Wind generators are a different matter and have been manufactured for hundreds of years. However through most of their history the product of their function was mechanical power not electrical. The Dutch used them to power pumps that helped dry out land they had reclaimed from the ocean. The farmers of the American West used them to pump water from isolated wells into stock pumps or farm water tanks for farmhouses. The earliest American colonials used them to power mills to turn millstones to grind grain. The very term “Wind Mills” comes from that last use and was a common practice in many parts of the world.
Their use for electrical power is a 20th century conversion for the most part though there were some late 1800s experimental efforts.
The problems with both of these power methods are the problems which still persist today and has doomed every effort to build commercial scale power projects. Unfortunately no one has developed a viable solution to either problem.
First Solar and Wind power only produce power when the Sun Shines and the Wind Blows. Factories and homes and farms have to keep running when the Sun Doesn’t Shine and when the Wind Doesn’t Blow so wherever these two methods are used they have to be backed up by redundant conventional power sources capable of providing power when the Wind Doesn’t Blow and the Sun Doesn’t Shine. Who can afford to build two separate but equal power systems when one will do the job and the conventional one is absolutely required?
Second Solar and Wind both require conditions that favor their use. Solar does not work well in a cloudy environment where there is limited sunlight. Wind does not work well in places where there is little prevailing wind. Unfortunately people and industry are not limited to places where Solar and Wind are viable power sources and often the placement of industry is based upon the necessity to be close to raw materials or other limitations.
While Solar and Wind may be a solution to some short term problems after a collapse, in the case of any disaster that takes down the power grid and electronics such as an EMP their use will be limited and relatively short term.
In all likelihood the most viable medium term power source for generating power with which to rebuild a collapsed infrastructure will be coal since it will be about the only fuel source which could still be produced with existing technology.
Nuclear would be a pipe dream considering it’s reliance on high technology to build and operate. The Oil and Natural Gas reserves which are easy to reach are used up and the ones remaining both offshore and in Shale Oil fields require some pretty sophisticated technology and industrial power to reach. Even worse Natural Gas is not easy to transport and refining Oil requires a fairly elaborate transportation infrastructure and sophisticated training and control systems.
Coal on the other hand can be mined predominantly with manual labor and fairly low tech equipment and, being basically rock, requires little sophisticated technology to transport, simply bulk motive power.
It’s an unpleasant reality but remains a reality nonetheless.