FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 6, 2007 Contact: John Farrell, 612-276-3456 x210 – jfarrell [@] ilsr.org LOCALLY OWNED WIND AND ETHANOL—BETTER, NOT BIGGER Wind and Ethanol: Economies and Diseconomies of Scale This August 2007 report finds that there are indeed small cost reductions from very large scale, absentee owned renewable energy facilities. But that these… 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
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently released the results from their Small Wind Turbine Global Market Study, reporting that high up Ãƒ¢Ã‚â‚¬”front costs are preventing small wind systems from reaching their growth potential. The small wind industry has been experiencing annual growth in the range of 14-25% since 1985. AWEA says that Increased federal incentives could double the growth rate. Continue reading
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has issued the 5th edition of its Connecting to the Grid guide. The report and survey addresses new and lingering interconnection issues relevant to all distributed generation (DG) technologies. Continue reading
In Nebraska, cows are helping to produce ethanol. A 28,000-cow feedlot in Mead, Nebraska, is powering the neighboring Genesis Ethanol Plant, owned by E3 Biofuels LLC. The cows are providing 300,000 tons of manure per year, which is turned into methane via anaerobic digestion and accounts for 100% of the thermal energy needed to distill 25 million gallons of ethanol each year.
On July 16, 2007, the West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously to pass the Green Building Requirements and Incentives for Private Development Ordinance that applies a suite of energy conservation and renewable energy requirements to both residential and commercial development. Some provisions apply to new building projects while others apply to remodeling projects at existing buildings.
This column by David Morris and Peter Barnes argues for a three pronged strategy on climate protection. First, a comprehensive emission cap. Second, a carbon auction for suppliers of carbon fuels. And lastly, a universal and equal distribution of revenues from that sale. Three keys to an effective and equitable strategy to reduce global warming.
On June 28, 2007, the Illinois Senate and House approved a joint resolution that adopts a policy that calls for carbon-neutral state buildings by 2030. They are the first state to address this particular green building initiative, a derivative of the Architecture 2030 Challenge, through a legislature. New Mexico’s Governor Bill Richardson adopted a similar but weaker policy by executive order in January of 2006.
This July 2007 report by John Farrell finds that there are indeed small cost reductions from very large scale, absentee owned renewable energy facilities. But that these are overshadowed by the significant loss in potential economic benefits from locally owned and more modestly scaled facilities. The study finds that these transportation-related costs may offset a large part of the reduced production costs from large wind farms and ethanol plants. Continue reading
This July 2007 policy brief by John Farrell is a companion piece to the Wind and Ethanol: Economies and Diseconomies of Scale report. Policymakers who promote wind energy and biofuels argue that their policies have two goals: the rapid increase in renewable energy, and the betterment of the rural and agricultural economies. Yet to date their policies have been tailored almost entirely to achieve the first goal — more, not better.
Larger wind farms and ethanol plants do produce energy at a lower unit cost, but because they are usually more distant from their ultimate customers, transportation related costs increase. Thus, the net cost reductions are modest.
Laws recently passed by the states of Washington and Montana are creating greenhouse gas emissions standards for new power plants. The two states are relying on different approaches but each has C02 reduction from future coal plants as the primary goal.