The easiest way to learn something is to pick up a copy of Readers Digest's big back to basics book. It also has lots of other good stuff like an Amish wind wheel which drives a pump directly. If you have a large water stream you can divert it into a big water wheel with a small pond above the water wheel. The hub shaft on the slow wheel drives a big gear which drives a small gear really fast, and it has lots of torque to do it. The other way is to build a small channel to diver the water down through a 4 to 6 inch pipe into a device that has a small wheel in something called a Pelton wheel. This drives the generator.
If you put this stuff in now before whatever the future changes, and the government still exists, you will probably have to deal with enormous amounts of bureaucratic red tape. I once read a very funny series of letters between a state environmental agency and a fellow who had a dam on his property put there by beavers that he was required to destroy and the beavers kept rebuilding it, and the EPA of that state couldnt seem to get the point.
Offered by Glenna.