AUSTIN, Texas - This summer has been a tough one for the Texas grid. ERCOT has issued several conservation requests, and we came as close as we have to rolling outages since the winter storm of 2021 last Wednesday.
Because of this, it seems now more than ever, Texans are looking for ways to disconnect from it all with sustainable off the grid power.
Actor Adrian Grenier, who moved to Austin a few years ago, joined FOX 7 Austin's Rebecca Thomas to discuss.
Rebecca Thomas: So what made you decide to put down roots in Texas, specifically the Austin area?
Adrian Grenier: I fell in love with this town a long time ago. I've been coming here for a couple decades now. I used to do a lot of music, so I was here for South by often. It has like a big, small hometown feel and a lot of good opportunities to get into nature.
Rebecca Thomas: You're close to the city, but yeah, you can escape. Tell us about your sustainable ranch and your goals for it.
Adrian Grenier: Yeah. So out here we're looking to build a sustainable regenerative permaculture farm and invite people to have nature experiences and retreats. And we're doing all that we can to really use my education in permaculture to start to design different stores of energy and food on the land.
Rebecca Thomas: Focusing on energy specifically. You recently started a project to turn your ranch into a blackout proof homestead. What prompted that decision and what steps have you taken?
Adrian Grenier: Yeah. So we just put on a number of solar panels on our roof as well as the Tesla Powerwall, which are batteries to store the energy that we create here on the land, which is not only great for our electric bill, but also if there is a power outage. And I don't know if you've been getting those text messages about all the power outages in the neighborhood, but I have and whenever I get one, I'm undaunted because I know that I have the security of having the Tesla power batteries.
Rebecca Thomas: Yeah, we've gotten so many alerts. So again, for those who are not familiar with how solar power works, when you have those backup batteries, you do have a utility provider that you're signed up with. And then what happens again if there is a blackout?
Adrian Grenier: Well, you know, the great thing is if I have excess power, I can sell it back to the energy company, essentially selling it to the grid. But in the event of a blackout or a power outage, all I have to do is just use my battery power to override that.
Rebecca Thomas: So you've been living in central Texas now for a couple of years. How has life on your ranch away from Hollywood affected your view of the environment? I know you've been interested in sustainability for a long time.
Adrian Grenier: Yeah. I really came here to get closer to the things that are vital. My family, nature and being of service. And I've been doing environmental work for quite some time, but it's always up and out. It's always out in the world. It's always abstracted by legislation or, you know, trying to convince other people to make changes. And I decided I wanted to live a lifestyle in the cadence of nature. I wanted to get into that rhythm of the earth, get my hands dirty and be a steward of the land. So that's what I've done. I've come here to put in my, my hours on the land.
Rebecca Thomas: All right, Adrian, we are out of time. But thank you so much for sharing your time with us tonight.
Adrian Grenier: Thank you.