I think this is a really neat idea:
It’s a little power supply with rechargeable batteries, a solar panel, and a crank-handle for recharging.
I think I’ll have a go at making that – although I’ve had a bit of a tinker with solar cells recently, and they’re distressingly weak. I think there’s a lot more mileage to be gained from making devices more efficient than making solar cells more powerful. It always bugs me when people point to charts of our energy usage and make claims about “what we will need tomorrow”. We should just fucking use less. It’s not that hard. I think a major part of the problem is that people simply have no idea at any given time how much they’re using… or any way of putting that knowledge into context even if they did know. Which they don’t.
That’s why I think Graphical energy monitors are such a good idea, they’re just way too expensive at the moment. They should be free. They should be compulsory – I mean according to the centameter lot they knock a 1/4 off your power bill. What would that do to the doom-sayer’s graphs? It would fuck them up, that’s what. They’d have to get proper jobs.
Anyway, back to the Personal Power Plant thing, I think the way to go with this thing is make it a sort of open-source plug-in platform… so if you want you can plug a windmill into it, or some sort of thermo-thing… because although it may be snowing everywhere else in the world right now, where I am it’s so hot that the tar is melting out of the roads and flowing down the gutters. There’s a hell of a lot of energy blowing about the place for free all the time. We just aren’t bothering to collect it.