A 10-min video on Germany’s rewarding feed-in tariff renewable energy program Continue reading
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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
Mayor Manny Diaz recently unveiled an ambitious, $200 million "Energy Smart Miami" smart grid project developed in partnership with General Electric, Cisco Systems, Florida Power & Light and Silver Spring Networks to ultimately deploy smart meters on every home and most businesses in Miami-Dade County. In addition to smart meters, the project aims to install solar power systems on several schools and universities, add 300 plug-in hybrid vehicles to the city’s fleet, and bring a series of new technologies like home energy use dashboards, smart appliances and smart-meter thermostats to pilot programs in 1,000 city homes. Continue reading
This recent article by the Manager of EPRI published on EnergyCentral.com discusses how conventional photovoltaic (PV) applications can act as distributed resources when the sun is shining — rather than solely as a reduction in load. They also can help diversify supply portfolios and meet other goals. The most basic scenario is for utilities to aggregate grid-connected PV installations owned by others and to treat them as demand-side resources.
President-elect Barack Obama is making “a new energy economy” his “No. 1 priority.” He has an historic opportunity not only to change the fuel composition of our energy system but to change the very scale and structure of our energy system. For more than 34 years, scale issues related to energy production have been a primary research focus of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. We believe that research can help inform today’s activists and policymakers. To that end, we’ve converted our largely typewritten early reports and books into a 21st century format for on-line reading and downloading.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and the North American Water Office (NAWO) find today’s decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve nearly $2 billion in ratepayer money for 650 miles of new high voltage transmission lines (known as CapX) to be willfully shortsighted. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s decision represents a slap in the face to Minnesota ratepayers and deals another setback for building a homegrown, decentralized energy future.
There’s a renewable energy policy with a record of incredible success, so why aren’t we using it in America? Our April 2009 paper briefly explores the history of feed-in tariffs (FITs) in Europe – the rise and fall of this policy in Denmark and the rise and rise of FITs in Germany – and then outlines why it would be a much simpler, more cost-effective, and better economic driver for reaching America’s renewable energy goals.
American renewable energy policy consists of a byzantine mix of tax incentives, rebates, state mandates, and utility programs. The complexity of the system results in more difficult and costly renewable electricity generation, and hampers the ability of states and communities to maximize the benefits of their renewable energy resources.
Upcoming Event in Minneapolis!
A talk by David Morris at 7PM on Sunday, April 26. Join ILSR and the DFL Education Foundation in a discussion of the challenges to environmental and renewable energy policy in an economic crisis.
ILSR held a feed-in tariff conference on January 9, 2009, in Northfield MN. The event was attended by approximately 120 people – from regulators and legislators to renewable energy developers and activists. We learned how cities, counties, non-profits and more individuals can become owners of renewable energy projects. We saw how renewable energy can promote more economic development and discovered how developing renewable energy can be made more simple.
There’s a renewable energy policy with a record of incredible success, so why aren’t we using it in America? This paper briefly explores the history of feed-in tariffs (FITs) in Europe – the rise and fall of this policy in Denmark and the rise and rise of FITs in Germany – and then outlines why it would be a much simpler, more cost-effective, and better economic driver for reaching America’s renewable energy goals. Continue reading
The federal tax credits for renewable energy have been a major barrier to widespread ownership of renewable energy. The production tax credit, for example, can only be taken against passive income, a type of income that very few of us actually earn. Accelerated depreciation or investment tax credits can be taken against ordinary income –slightly better – but again the credit provides more benefit the higher one’s tax bracket and the more tax liability one has. The overhead costs in aggregating sufficient tax equity to finance wind and solar projects have proven very high. Nevertheless, to date the industry has grown rapidly based on this inefficient and cumbersome arrangement.
Theeconomic downturn, however, has all but eliminated the ability of renewable energy projects to sell their tax credits. The result is that in mid-January, AWEA and SEIA joined an increasing call to move toward refundable tax credits.