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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 parking lot canopy
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 8, 2012

Overturning the ’15% Rule’ Expands the Distributed Generation Opportunity in California

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/overturning-15-rule-expands-distributed-generation-opportunity-california/

If you haven’t heard yet, there’s a “rule” that precludes distributed renewable energy projects from supplying more than 15% of the power to most “distribution circuits” (part of the low-voltage electric grid that brings power into homes and businesses).  With the rapidly falling cost of solar power, many places in the country are starting to… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 7 Comments | Updated on May 4, 2012

Who Has the Most Cost-Effective Solar Feed-in Tariff?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/cost-effective-solar-feed-in-tariff/

In a forthcoming report on U.S. feed-in tariff programs, I’ll provide a comparison of solar feed-in tariff (FIT, a.k.a. CLEAN Contract) rates across the United States. Comparing published rates is not particularly helpful, however, because contract lengths vary (from 15 to 25 years) and the solar resource also varies widely.  For international comparisons (e.g. Germany), it’s… Continue reading

Balancing Lady
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on May 1, 2012

Local Solar Could Solve ‘Massive Supply-Demand Imbalance’ in Renewable Energy Financing

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/massive-supply-demand-imbalance-for-solar-and-wind-project-financing/

In the next two years, the U.S. may get a lot less solar and wind power than it could. It’s not a shortage of solar panels or the cost of turbines.  Rather, it’s a problem of the perverse nature of federal incentives for renewable energy.  Right now, the owner of a solar or wind energy… Continue reading

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