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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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Value Chain of Local Ownership
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Apr 24, 2012

The More Local the Energy, the More Valuable

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/local-energy-valuable/

Local ownership of a wind project accounts for half of its lifetime economic value to the community!   From: Value Creation for Local Communities through Renewable Energies [pdf] Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 20, 2012

Is Today’s Energy Policy “Saving the Buggy Whip”?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/todays-energy-policy-saving-buggy-whip/

The editor’s column from the March 2012 edition of Public Utilities Fortnightly describes how policy inertia can hamper distributed renewable energy development.  To illustrate, Michael T. Burr draws on the history of the automobile: When the first Model-Ts sputtered down the street, few people could’ve imagined the remarkable transformations they’d bring. Instead, they only saw… Continue reading

John Farrell, ILSR Senior Researcher
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Apr 20, 2012

Welcome to the new Energy Self-Reliant States

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/energy-self-reliant-states-2/

ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell launched the Energy Self-Reliant States blog in late 2010 to provide hard data and analysis on the economic and political advantages of focusing on distributed renewable energy and local ownership.  For a while, it lived off our website, due to technical and aesthetic limitations. Today, we’re happy to repatriate the… Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 16, 2012

Ontario’s Feed-in Tariff Program is a Good Investment

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/ontarios-feed-in-tariff-program-good-investment/

ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell gave this presentation remotely to the Ontario Power Perspectives conference on April 16, 2012.  He was supposed to be there in person, but he forgot to renew his passport.  The presentation highlights how Ontario’s “buy local” rule, bonuses for community ownership and focus on distributed generation make their feed-in tariff… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Apr 11, 2012

Net Metering a Cost to Utilities, or a Benefit?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/net-metering-cost-utilities-benefit-2/

Update: A third-party study of net metering in California also found that solar customers provide more benefit than cost to the utility Utilities often claim that allowing customers to run their meter backward (by generating electricity on-site, e.g. from rooftop solar) can affect their bottom line because these customers don’t pay enough to cover the… Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Apr 6, 2012

Solving the Local Clean Energy Puzzle

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/solving-local-clean-energy-puzzle/

In this April 2 presentation to the Pedernales Electric Cooperative of Johnson City, TX, ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell discussed how solving the clean local energy puzzle requires much more than a consideration of cost per kilowatt-hour. Instead, cooperatives, municipal utilities and others considering developing local clean power should consider issues of scale, value and… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 3 Comments | Updated on Apr 4, 2012

Lots of Solar Power May Reduce, Not Increase, Electricity Prices

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/lots-solar-power-reduce-increase-electricity-prices/

Whether German feed-in tariffs or U.S. tax incentives, opponents of solar rail at its perceived high cost. But a story making rounds this week, “why power generators are terrified of solar,” presents a powerful image that may flip this conventional wisdom on its head. Building lots of solar power can actually reduce electricity prices, to… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 23, 2012

Ontario Feed-in Tariff Prices Drop, Germans Still Far Cheaper

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/ontario-feed-in-tariff-prices-drop-germans-cheaper/

Ontario just completed a revision of their landmark feed-in tariff program and rates for renewable electricity generation and prices fell sharply: 30% for solar and 15% for wind power. This continues a trend of falling costs for renewable energy around the world. As a bit of background, Ontario’s feed-in tariff gives wind and solar producers… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 23, 2012

Solar Policy Can Advance (or Delay) Grid Parity by a Decade

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/solar-policy-can-advance-or-delay-grid-parity-by-a-decade/

In their excellent interactive graphic, Bloomberg Energy Finance calls solar grid parity (when electricity from solar costs less than grid power) the “golden goal.”  It’s an excellent illustration of how the right energy policy can help a nation go gold on solar or wallow in metallurgical obscurity.  In the case of the U.S., it may… Continue reading

Rooftop Solar Installation
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 14 Comments | Updated on Mar 21, 2012

Rooftop Revolution: Changing Everything with Cost-Effective Local Solar

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rooftop-revolution-changing-everything-with-cost-effective-local-solar/

With the cost of solar power plunging and retail electric prices rising, 100 million Americans in the nation’s largest cities will be able to “go solar” for a lower price than grid electricity in the next ten years. Seizing this opportunity requires rethinking electricity policy and planning even while solar produces less than 1% of… Continue reading