Funding commitments for low-income energy programs is a critical component of a sound energy policy. Typically, low-income energy programs are focused on helping families pay their energy bills. In many cases there is also a component of the program that targets energy-efficiency improvements for low-income households. Overall, funding for low income households held firm or modestly increased after electric restructuring in the 1990s, although in many cases the before and after comparison is misleading because utilities decreased their spending on low income households significantly between 1993 and 1998. 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
Vermont, Oregon, Gainesville, FL, and the Canadian province of Ontario have recently adopted feed-in tariffs for renewable energy, allowing any prospective renewable energy producer will get a guaranteed connection to the grid, a long term contract to sell their power, and a fixed price sufficient to recover their costs plus a reasonable profit. We believe that feed-in tariffs could turbocharge state level renewable electricity standards, reduce costs, and spread the economic benefits across many more project owners.
Energy efficiency is a clearly demonstrated, cost-effective means to meet future electricity needs. States that implemented electric restructuring have set up policies to finance energy-efficiency improvements for residents and businesses. Regulated states have been moving toward policies that use to require a certain amount of expenditures on efficiency by utilities toward policies that require a certain amount of energy savings. Continue reading
In the era of electric restructuring customers were given the right to choose which company supplies them with their electricity. In order for consumers to make sound, smart choices about a power supplier they need to know how each electric provider’s power is generated and what impacts that power production has on the environment. Many states that have deregulated their electric power sector also mandated that power providers provide detailed information on the specifics of how their power is generated and transmitted. This is known as"electricity disclosure" or "environmental disclosure". Of the states that have enacted disclosure requirements, Illinois’ disclosure law is one of the best.
In the early 20th century electricity generation and transmission technologies supported the idea that "big is better." As a result, regulatory rules encouraged the construction of centralized power plants and long distribution lines. In the 1990s the technological dynamic was reversed. Small power plants located closer to the customer were become increasingly competitive. This has occurred at the same time as most states, many cities, and the U.S. Congress are rewriting the rules that govern our electricity system. These interconnection rules (i.e. codes, standards, regulations, statutes) will encourage electricity customers to also become electricity producers. Continue reading
John Farrell talks about the upcoming "Bringing Renewable Energy Home: Energy Policies To Maximize Energy Security And Economic Development" conference on January 9, 2009 at St. Olaf College in Minnesota Continue reading
For Immediate Release PRESS RELEASE CONTACT: John Farrell Tel. 612-276-3456 ext 210 New National Transmission Network Not Needed To Meet Renewable Energy Goals Minneapolis, Minn.— (December 8, 2008). Two new reports from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) question the need for a new national extra-high voltage transmission network to support renewable energy expansion…. Continue reading
How much energy could be generated by states tapping into internal renewable resources? This November 2008 report by David Morris and John Farrell presents preliminary data that suggests that at least half of the fifty states could meet all their internal energy needs from renewable energy generated inside their borders, and the vast majority could meet a significant percentage.
For Immediate Release PRESS RELEASE CONTACT: John Farrell Tel. 612-276-3456 ext 210 Most States Can Be Energy Independent, New Report Shows Minneapolis, MN— (November 10, 2008) A new report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) suggests that at least half of the fifty states could achieve energy self-sufficiency with the help of locally-focused federal… Continue reading
With has the potential to become one of the nation’s fastest spreading local renewable energy programs, the Berkeley city council last night voted unanimously to use the city’s bonding authority to finance rooftop solar on residential properties. The city will pay the upfront costs and property owners will repay those costs over 20 years through a special assessment on their property tax bills. If a person moves, the solar system will stay at the property and the new owners will assume the remaining years of the assessment.