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Many people who live in cities dream of 'getting back to the land', growing their own fruits and vegtables, getting 'off the grid' by generating their own energy, and simply becoming as 'self-sufficient' as possible. But these dreams often don't include the harsh realities of running the ideal 'smallholding', and this is simply because the dreamers usually have no real experience of living close to the land. There is a great deal of daily hard work involved, and it's not just the cat or the dog that needs to be looked after if you simply want to go on holiday - and you're raising livestock.

In fact there's nothing simple about it at all, and to do it successfully means total commitment. Techniques for successfully becoming 'self-sufficient' vary from climate zone to climate zone, and what works well in one place may be entirely the wrong thing to do in another. But it wasn't all that long ago that everyone lived in conditions that many are yearning to get back to, and luckily there are many books written over the past 50 to 150 years that are still available for would-be smallholders.

The information in these old books will, without doubt, contain the 'wisdom of the ancients', as agricultural and animal husbandry knowledge is something that has, out of necessity for survival, been passed down throughout the generations since the first peoples who gave up the nomadic roaming of countless millennia began experiments with settled life following the catastrophies of 12,000 - 17,000 years ago that destroyed the ante-diluvian world.

Below are a small selection of books about basic 'renewable energy technologies' that contain a wealth of practical, down-to-earth, information and skills advice from the daily lives of those who have succeeded in living 'off-the-grid'. These skills are tried-and-tested techniques that are still in everyday use by peoples who live closer to the land in many non-industrialised countries, and those who've rejected urban living and already gone 'back-to-the-land'.

For those seeking security in a world that is over-dependent on imported produce, the choice is one of hard work and self-sufficient peace of mind - or the uncertainties of 'just-in-time-supplied' supermarkets totally dependent on a global transport network and centralised power generation grids that are becoming increasingly vulnerable to a myriad threats now that global 'Peak Oil' has passed.

One of the main problems that 'natural environmentalists' face in these early years of the 21st century are the unrealistic solutions that governments are proposing to offset the imagined cataclysm they claim will result from CO2-induced climate change. The amount of money being put into the Wind Farm Scam by greedy energy companies is already coming out of everyone's energy bills, yet governments plan to sink even more taxpayers money into this unworkable scheme.

For every new wind farm, which will only generate electricity when the wind blows, there needs to be at least one new gas or coal powered coventional power station for back-up when the wind stops blowing - which is very often. These proposals are to ensure that the national governments can continue to tax you via their centralised distribution grids. But many scientists have sussed this scam:

"The Wind Farm Scam"
Dr John Etherington

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"The spectre of global warming and the political panic surrounding it has triggered a goldrush for renewable energy sources without an open discussion of the merits and drawbacks of each.

In The Wind Farm Scam Dr Etherington argues that in the case of wind power the latter far outweigh the former. Wind turbines cannot generate enough energy to reduce global CO2 levels to a meaningful degree; what's more wind power is by nature intermittent and cannot generate a steady output, necessitating back-up coal and gas power plants that significantly negate the saving of greenhouse gas emissions. [even if they were relevant - Ed.]

In addition to the inefficacy of wind power there are ecological drawbacks, including damage to habitats, wildlife and the far-from-insignificant aesthetic drawback of the assault upon natural beauty and the pristine landscape, which wind turbines entail.

Dr Etherington argues that wind power has been, and is being, excessively financed at the cost of consumers who have not been consulted, nor informed that this effective subsidy is being paid from their bills to support an industry that cannot be cost efficient or, ultimately, favour the cause it purports to support."

John Etherington was a Reader in Ecology at the University of Wales, Cardiff. Since his retirement from the University in 1990, he has devoted himself to researching the implications of intermittently available renewable electricity generation, in particular wind power. He is a Thomas Huxley Medallist at the Royal College of Science and a former co-editor of the International Journal of Ecology.

2010 Reality Check

The recent summit meeting in Copenhagen was NOT about so-called anthropogenic (man-made) global warming. It was simply about new ways to tax everyone in the whole world. The 'solutions' that were proposed by the leaders of all the countries that attended were desperate efforts to save their respective centralised energy grids. ONLY with centralised energy generation and distribution can consumers be taxed.

What those goverments don't want to see is a movement towards genuine self-sufficiency, where 'MICRO-GENERATION' replaces the centralised national distribution grids. What they really fear is the fact that they simply cannot tax you if you don't consume the commodities that are centrally controlled - hence the CO2 scam and The Great Global Warming Swindle.

Now that the integrity of many of the IPCC Assessment Reports, and especially their 'Summary for Policymakers' documents are coming under independent scrutiny, the dishonest and unscientific manner in which these publications were compiled is becoming ever clearer. An example of this is the January 2010 revelation that the Himalayan glaciers overall are NOT MELTING, and will NOT BE GONE BY 2035.

Furthermore, the glaciers in the mountains of New Zealand have been expanding for a number of years, even during those years that the global warming disinformation networks were telling us were the warmest since records began - or some similar nonsense.

Some of the books and information sources on this page were compiled and written when the CO2 scam and the great global warming swindle were at their height and their disinformation networks were in full swing. This means that many of the authors were influenced by the climate change disinformation that the whole world has been bombarded with over the past few decades.

Nevertheless, the many and varied brilliantly practical ideas on how to become genuinely self-sufficient are still as valid now as they were before the "ClimateGate" scandal that erupted in November 2009 confirmed what 'natural environmentalists' had suspected for many years. Best to ignore the global warming rubbish and simply get on with the job of micro-generating your own way to self-sufficiency...


Renewable Energy Technologies
books about sustainably micro-generating YOUR OWN energy
now that Peak Oil has passed

simply click on the book titles or covers to order those titles directly from, or click on the UK Edition link
to order them directly from Some titles may not be available in both US and UK editions ...

all comments are editorial and customer reviews posted on the & websites



"The Renewable Energy Handbook: A Guide to Rural Independence, Off-Grid and Sustainable Living" by William H. Kemp

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"As oil prices continue to rise, many people are starting to think about how to unhook from the power grid. The Renewable Energy Handbook focuses completely on off-grid, sustainable living and energy independence in a rural setting.

Author William Kemp and his wife designed their own high-efficiency off-grid home in 1991. They worked methodically to produce a home which has all of the standard "middle-class" creature comforts while using six times less heating, cooling, and electrical energy than the average Ontario home.

Soon they were inundated with inquiries and decided to put their experience into book form in 2003. This updated edition focuses specifically on off-grid concerns and contains chapters on: Energy conservation; Heating and cooling; Photovoltaic, wind and microhydro energy generation; Battery selection, voltage regulation and inverters; and backup power."


"Homeowners' Guide to Renewable Energy: Achieving Energy Independence Through Solar, Wind, Biomass and Hydropower"
by Daniel D. Chiras

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"The coming energy crisis caused by a peak in global oil and natural gas production will profoundly affect the lives of all North Americans. As the price of these vital fuels rises, homeowners will scramble to cut their fuel bills.

Two options for meeting the upcoming challenge are dramatic improvements in home energy efficiency and efforts to tap into clean, affordable, renewable energy resources to heat and cool homes, to provide hot water and electricity, and even to cook. These measures can result in huge savings and a level of energy independence.

Focusing carefully on specific strategies needed to replace specific fuels, the book then examines each practical energy option available to homeowners. "Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy" gives readers sufficient knowledge to hire & communicate effectively with contractors and, for those wanting to do installations themselves, it recommends detailed manuals."


"Renewable Energy Resources"
by John Twidell & Anthony D. Weir

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"Retaining the successful format of the first edition and building on its solid grounding in the principles of renewable energy resources, this second edition has been revised in line with the latest advances in the field to include new technologies and an assessment of their impact.

Considering each technology in depth from both scientific and environmental perspectives, the book covers solar energy, photovoltaic, wind, wave, tidal and hydro power, biofuels, geothermals and more, and also features a new chapter on institutional factors, including ergonomics.

In addition, extra worked problems and case studies are provided to help readers put theory into practice.After each chapter, reading and web-based material is indicated for further study, making this text ideal not only for practitioners but also for students on multi-disciplinary masters degrees in science and engineering, or first degrees in the same."


"Off The Grid Homes: Case Studies for Sunstainable Living"
by Lori Ryker & Audrey Hall (Photographer)

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"The follow-up volume to the successful "Off the Grid: Modern Homes + Alternative Energy", Lori Ryker's newest book looks at six contemporary architectural projects that integrate alternative technologies for generating and conserving energy.

Being off the grid can refer to many different aspects of energy and resource independence, from rainwater collection, to photovoltaic (PV) systems, to gray-water systems and more.

Diagrams and clear explanations of technologies and their appropriate applications are provided alongside the case studies that explain just how the technologies work and how they may best be applied to each individual situation.

Ryker explores the value of case studies in understanding new alternative-energy technologies."


"How to Live Without Electricity & Like It" by Anita Evangelista

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"Whether you seek to be completely "off the grid" or simply prepared for occasional or frequent power outages, you'll find the concrete information you need.

Among a number of other ways to be independent of the local utility company, learn how to monitor your current power usage accurately; convert to solar energy--both passive and active systems; pump and store potable water; refrigerate food without electricity; and generate electrical power independently and charge batteries.

How to Live Without Electricity is a surprisingly nontechnical book, easy to read and understand, with many diagrams and helpful illustrations. It also includes a list of the best resources for ordering the products and materials discussed and a bibliography of additional books on cooking, heating, and cooling with alternative sources of energy."


"Eating Off the Grid: storing and cooking foods without electricity"
by Denise Hansen & Brenda Brooks

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"A user-friendly cookbook for making meals from scratch using basic foods that require no refrigeration or freezing.

Beginning chapters offer advice on non-electric cooking and cooling alternatives, as well as complete ingredient and utensil lists that cover all recipes.

Separate chapters for stovetop and baked main dishes and breads accomodate different cooking appliances.

Recipe nutrition information and exchanges are included for diabetics and others with special dietary needs.

A sample four-week meal plan and accompanying grocery list for a family of four, along with guidelines to help you create your own meal plan, help you combine the recipes to begin 'eating off the grid'."


"Alternative Energy: An Introduction to Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources" by Mark E. Hazen

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"Alternative Energy will introduce you to the concepts and terminology dealing with energy and the various alternative sources of energy that can meet our ever-increasing needs.

This book will introduce you to energy sources that draw from such supplies as wind, sun, water stored in reservoirs, ocean tides, ocean currents, ocean heat storage, and more.

You will discover the advantages and disadvantages of each as well as how to harness them.

In addition, listings of World Wide Web sites are included so that you can learn more about alternative forms of energy and the organizations devoted to them."


"Tomorrow's Energy: Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and the Prospects for a Cleaner Planet" by Peter Hoffmann

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"Hydrogen is the quintessential eco-fuel. This invisible, tasteless gas is the most abundant element in the universe.

It is the basic building block and fuel of stars and an essential raw material in innumerable biological and chemical processes.

As a completely nonpolluting fuel, it may hold the answer to growing environmental concerns about atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide and the resultant Greenhouse Effect.

In this book Peter Hoffmann describes current research toward a hydrogen-based economy.

He presents the history of hydrogen energy and discusses the environmental dangers of continued dependence on fossil fuels."


"Renewable Energy" by Godfrey Boyle

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"The prospect of producing clean, sustainable power in substantial quantities from renewable energy sources is now arousing interest world-wide, stimulated by recent technological developments that have improved the cost-effectiveness of many of the 'renewables' and by increasing concern over the environmental impact and sustainability of conventional fossil and nuclear fuel use.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the principal renewable energy sources including: Solar thermal; Photovoltaics; Bio-energy; Hydro; Tidal; Wind; Wave and Geothermal.

With the aid of over 350 detailed illustrations, more than 50 tables of data and a wide range of case studies it explains, for each source, the underlying physical and technological principles, and examines its environmental impact and future prospects."


"Transforming Electricity: The Coming Generation of Change"
by Walt Patterson

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"Walt Patterson reassesses the basic premises that have guided electricity development for more than a century, in the light of new understanding, pressures and opportunities.

It investigates the changes already in progress and those that may yet follow, their interactions and their implications for policy.

As the world pursues sustainable development, what might "sustainable electricity" mean, and how can it be achieved? He provides the reader with a basic understanding of the evolution of the electric power industry in the context of history.

He then identifies, clearly and understandably, the forces that are changing today's grid based electric power industry.

Especially chilling is his look into the future down two very different but possible paths -- one that leads into a bleak world of power scarcity and unreliability and one that leads to a new and brighter alternative of distributed on-site power."


"Power from Wind: A History of Windmill Technology"
by Richard Leslie Hills

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"Since the inception of windpower around 1000 AD, technology has been deployed to obtain the most economical power from wind.

The author traces its technical evolution, concentrating on the growth in understanding of wind and charting crucial developments in windmill design.

The history of the windmill focuses on North Western Europe, but Hills indicates the origins of the first horizontal windmills in Persia, Tibet and China.

He also examines industrial applications such as in textiles, papermaking and mining.

The book concludes with a look at the recent reemergence of windpower as a viable source of power in the wake of the energy crisis."


"Biomass Renewable Energy, Fuels, and Chemicals" by Donald L. Klass

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"Biomass for Renewable Energy, Fuels, and Chemicals serves as a comprehensive introduction to the subject for the student and educator, and is useful for researchers who are interested in the technical details of biomass energy production.

The coverage and discussion are multidisciplinary, reflecting the many scientific and engineering disciplines involved.

The book will appeal to a broad range of energy professionals and specialists, farmers and foresters who are searching for methods of selecting, growing, and converting energy crops, entrepreneurs who are commercializing biomass energy projects, and those involved in designing solid and liquid waste disposal-energy recovery systems."

It is extremely thorough, detailed, and well documented. Topics are explained in great detail. The book stands as one of the best published on the subject in recent times."


"From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank: The Complete Guide to Using Vegetable Oil as an Alternative Fuel" by Joshua Tickell & Kaia Roman

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"From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank is the first and only book that details all aspects of running diesel engines on vegetable oil.

Includes information on biodiesel, the diesel fuel substitute made from new or used vegetable as well as information on running any diesel engine on straight vegetable oil (SVO).

This book is packed with history, information, instructions, photos, diagrams and resources. This book covers all the basic aspects of converting a diesel to run on used cooking oil, or converting the oil to biodiesel which can be used in any diesel engine.

Whilst it's true you can find a lot of information on this subject on the web; you will find it gathered in on volume in this book.

If you want to stop supporting Middle-East Petroleum oil, you must get this book."


"Build Your Own Electric Vehicle" by Bob Brant

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"Electric vehicles have many advantages over their gas-powered counterparts. They're ecologically sound, much cheaper to operate, and require almost no routine maintenance.

Drivers can enjoy the clean-running convenience and economy of an electric vehicle for as much as it costs to buy a new car. This illustrated guide explains step by step how to build an inexpensive EV from a kit or convert an existing internal combustion engine.

Build Your Own Electric Car begins with an informative history of electric vehicles, current international advances in EV technology, and a look ahead at the future of EV development.

Then, author Bob Brant gives a building-block description of each EV component-motor, drive train, controllers, power supplies, chargers, and chassis-and how to put them all together to make a working vehicle."


"How to Live Off-grid: Journeys Outside the System" by Nick Rosen

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"Off-grid df: a place, building or people without mains water or power. Static or mobile – in a house or a hut, a boat or a camper van – to live off-grid is all about loosening the ties that bind us to the familiar world of commuting, mortgages, no time and fast food in order to rediscover our place in the natural world.

Some off-gridders want to save the world; some live that way because it is all they can afford; some just want to be free. Complete with camper van, Nick sets off around the UK to find off-grid heaven and meet people who are living the dream.

Along the way he runs into backpackers and businessmen, radical hermits and right-wing survivalists – and plenty of ordinary working-parent families too. Sincere but irreverent, this is Nick’s guide to avoiding pitfalls, to finding solutions (and to some brilliant gadgets) as he strives to perfect the skills of this practical, freewheeling kind of self-sufficiency."


"Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Processes" by Aldo V. da Rosa

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"'Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Processes' contains the technical detail necessary to understand the engineering principles that govern renewable energy application at many different levels.

Focused on the fundamental mechanisms and processes that underpin energy management, it provides students with the foundation for all energy process courses.

This text is organized according to the main forms of energy - heat engines, hydrogen energy, energy from the sun, and wind and water energy - with an introductory chapter of basic energy terms.

From fuel cells, electrolyzers and processes for hydrogen production to biomass and windmills, the author provides the most thorough examination of all aspects of renewable energy processes."



BBC SpringWatch 2010

Nature's Calendar

Dig In: Grow Your Own Grub

Working with Living Greenwood

Country Smallholding

The Woodland Workshop

The Conservation Foundation


Basic Self-Sufficiency

Survival Skills, Bushcraft

The Climate Change Controversy

Nature - The Living Pharmacy

Surviving Urban Disintegration

Beyond Peak Oil


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