Decentralized renewable energy doesn’t top the climate and energy agenda in Europe or the United States, but for very different reasons. In Europe, there has already been substantial development of decentralized renewable energy, and policy makers have moved on to discussions of 100% renewable energy. In the United States, by contrast, well-heeled interest groups tend to dominate renewable energy discourse, and American energy policy reflects their paradigm of centralized generation dependent on high-voltage transmission lines.
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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
A new report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), Community Solar Power: Obstacles and Opportunities , examines nine community solar projects, the policies that made them possible, and the (substantial)barriers that remain. Successful community solar power projects in Colorado, Maryland, and North Carolina are knocking down the price of residential-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) by… Continue reading
Community solar power can offer unique benefits in the expansion of solar power, from greater participation and ownership of solar to a greater dispersion of the economic benefits of harnessing the sun’s energy. But community solar faces significant barriers in a market wherethe “old rules” favor corporate, large-scale development. New rules – better community solar policy and regulations – are needed to remove these barriers. Continue reading
Community solar power has the promise of making solar more affordable, bringing sun-powered electricity to renters or people with shady roofs, and dispersing the economics benefits of renewable energy generation. But while a few pioneering projects have broken through the barriers to community solar power, the rules, incentives, and policies for solar PV restrict the potential of community solar. Next week, ILSR will release its report on community solar.
The credit crisis may have crimped commercial wind turbine installations, but the economic stimulus cash grants in lieu of tax credits have given new life to community wind projects. Continue reading
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued guidance yesterday that drew a line in the sand against municipal energy financing, a.k.a. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs. These innovative initiatives provide energy efficiency retrofits for homeowners that are repaid through a property tax assessment. Since homeowners falling behind on payments must repay their PACE assessment before their mortgage, giant lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will consider participating households in default on their mortgages for receiving an energy efficiency retrofit via PACE. Their rationale is paper thin. Continue reading
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have told federal regulators and plan to release additional guidance indicating that the senior lien status of PACE liens is not acceptable. This declaration comes despite recent articles highlighting the minimal impact of PACE liens on the lenders’ balance sheets, White House and DOE support for the program, and the 23 states who have enabled Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing. Continue reading
A new study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reinforces the findings of a 2009 report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The ILSR report, Energy Self-Reliant States, concluded that all 50 states could generate at least 25 percent of their electricity needs from in-state renewable energy while 31 could generate over 100 percent. Continue reading
On episode 24 of This Week in Energy, John Farrell discusses PACE, oil spills and smart grids with hosts Bob Tregilus and Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield. Continue reading