Electric power came to our rural area near Crow in 1938. Homes acquired electric lights, but most still used propane cook stoves and water heaters and wood burning stoves for home heating. Farm trucks and other vehicles continued to be powered by gasoline and diesel. At that time rural residents didn’t know about the harmful effects of gas and wood heaters on their home indoor air quality. They couldn’t yet see the destruction to our climate caused by their heating sources and by gasoline and diesel-fueled equipment.
Now we do know and can change direction with the availability of electric cars, ATVs, tractors and, very soon, trucks. Highly efficient ductless electric heat pumps are replacing wood stoves. These new electric appliances, vehicles, and equipment are cheaper to run and more reliable, quieter, and free of health-harming pollutants and emissions.
Our small family farm has two electric cars that can “fuel up” at home and two electric heat pump water heaters in barns that run for about a quarter the cost of the old propane-fueled water heaters. They are powered mostly by an on-farm source: solar panels. We will soon own an electric truck with the capacity to plug in tools and equipment and a battery capable of powering the house when the electric grid is down.
A clean electric-powered future is coming for all of us. It’s possible and necessary, whether we live in Eugene, Florence, Cottage Grove or somewhere in between.