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About John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. More

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solar panels and mountains - flickr Bart Speelman
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 26, 2015

The Hole in Brian Potts’ WSJ Critique of the “Solar-Panel Craze.”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/the-hole-in-brian-potts-wsj-critique-of-the-solar-panel-craze/

In his Sunday Wall Street Journal commentary on May 17, Brian Potts suggests that cost is the bottom line in the electric customer shift to solar, and that rooftop solar costs too much. But his defense of the utility’s view of energy costs leaves a big hole in the big picture: the value of solar… Continue reading

solar school check - blackrocksolar flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 22, 2015

Why Democratic Energy Offers Faster Approach to Clean Energy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/why-democratic-energy-offers-faster-approach-to-clean-energy/

There are many organizations in the energy space, and ILSR’s climate and energy advocacy overlaps substantially with the many other players who care about a cleaner energy system. But our approach isn’t the same. Rather, our vision is that communities enrich their local economies by being masters of the transition to 100% renewable energy. This… Continue reading

Installed-Capacity-by-Fuel-Type_March2015_supply-mix-page
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 8, 2015

A Lesson in Solar from a Northern Neighbor

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/a-lesson-in-solar-from-a-northern-neighbor/

Based on population, Ontario would be the 5th largest state if it were part of the U.S., but its installed solar capacity, 1,500 MW would rank it 3rd. The province has also shut down all its coal-fired power plants. How does a northern province become a solar and climate leader, despite one of the poorest… Continue reading

JF in video of Maui Energy Conference
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 30, 2015

Somebody Wants Something: Getting the Most from a Proposed Takeover of Hawaiian Electric Company

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/somebody-wants-something-getting-the-most-from-a-proposed-takeover-of-hawaiian-electric-company/

If your electricity—generated from imported oil—is the most expensive in the country and your solar resource is terrific, you’d expect your electric company to be making great strides toward renewable energy. On Hawai’i, the progress toward clean energy is in limbo, because island’s largest electric utility—largely owned by islanders—is likely to be acquired by mainland… Continue reading

woman with axe - flickr Alexandre Dulaunoy
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 29, 2015

Why (Else) is Xcel Energy Trying to Axe Minnesota’s Community Solar program?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/why-else-is-xcel-energy-trying-to-axe-minnesotas-community-solar-program/

In a filing Tuesday (April 28), Minnesota’s largest electric utility announced unilateral action within the next 30 days to reduce development under the state’s community solar gardens program by 80%, from nearly 560 MW to 80. It’s the latest in a series of attempts to slow the program, including efforts to cap the program and… Continue reading

sunset in georgetown tx - flickr Jim Nix
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 14, 2015

Can Other Cities Match Georgetown’s Low-Cost Switch to 100% Wind and Sun?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/can-other-cities-match-georgetowns-low-cost-switch-to-100-wind-and-sun/

This is probably not the first place you’ve read about Georgetown, TX, the town of 55,000 that will be getting the equivalent of 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2017. But few articles hit upon the two key reasons Georgetown was able to make this move when so many other cities with abundant… Continue reading

featured image for solar missouri infographic post
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 9, 2015

Solar Energy in Missouri Means Jobs, Savings, and a Low-Cost Future

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/solar-energy-in-missouri-means-jobs-savings-and-a-low-cost-future/

There are a lot of utility-sponsored legislative and regulatory attacks on solar energy lately, and we put together this infographic to help the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association fight back in their state. Click the image to see it full size.   This article originally posted at ilsr.org. For timely updates, follow John Farrell on… Continue reading

electric company monopoly - Mike Fleming via Flickr
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 1, 2015

Why Utilities Are Hating on Their Solar-Producing Customers

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/why-utilities-are-hating-on-their-solar-producing-customers/

I have the privilege of talking to a lot of reporters about rooftop solar energy, and particularly about why utilities seem hell bent on stopping their customers from using their own money to add clean, renewable energy to the electric grid. If this seems confusing to you, too, here’s a quick primer with some key… Continue reading

rooftop solar – Montgomery County Planning Commission flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 24, 2015

Rhode Island Standard Contracts Program Grows Distributed Generation

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/distributed-generation-rhode-island/

This is an invited guest post from Virginia Rutter of Eutectics. By the end of 2019, Rhode Island has a goal to have 200 MW of distributed renewable energy generation in the state, most of it solar. The primary means by which Rhode Island means to meet this goal is through the use of standardized… Continue reading

minnesota state capitol solar program - michael hicks flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 18, 2015

Why Minnesota’s Community Solar Program is the Best

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/minnesotas-community-solar-program/

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about Minnesota’s community solar program over the past couple years and it’s time to make one thing clear: Minnesota’s program is the best in the country. Why? Because there 10 times more community solar projects in the queue—400 megawatts—in Minnesota than have been built in the history of… Continue reading