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Article, Rule filed under Energy | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Jan 30, 2012

Net Metering

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rule/net-metering/

Net metering is a practice that encourages consumer investment in on-site electric generators – typically small-scale, renewable energy technologies. When electricity is being generated and none is being consumed, net metering typically allows customer/generators to spin their meter backwards, in effect paying the customer/generator the retail rate for the electricity they generate but don’t immediately consume. If a customer generates more electricity than they consume over a period of time, they are typically paid for that net excess generation (NEG) at the utility’s avoided cost, or the wholesale rate. Two states, Minnesota and Wisconsin, stand out from the crowd because their net metering rules allow participants to be paid the going retail rate for the net excess electricity they generate for each billing cycle. Some states like New Jersey and Colorado allow projects up to 2 MW to use net metering. Continue reading

Article, Rule filed under Energy | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Jan 30, 2012

Municipal Financing for Renewables and Efficiency

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rule/municipal-financing-for-renewables-and-efficiency/

With state enabling legislation, cities and counties are being given the authority to establish municipal financing programs for clean energy and energy efficiency investments in their communities. Commonly referred to as property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing, it allows homeowners and businesses to implement dramatic improvements in efficiency and/or renewable energy and repay those investments over a long-term via a special property tax assessment or via a utility bill. Continue reading

Article, Rule filed under Energy | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Jan 30, 2012

Mercury Pollution

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rule/mercury-pollution/

Mercury is a neurotoxin that accumulates in the food chain and can damage the brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver. It has been linked to attention deficit disorder in children, and is particularly hazardous to developing fetuses and young children. Poison control centers and emergency rooms took 18,000 calls in 1998 because of broken mercury fever thermometers. Continue reading

Article, Rule filed under Energy | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Jan 30, 2012

Distributed Generation in Local Plans

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rule/distributed-generation-in-local-plans/

If a proliferation of small-scale power plants serves the interests of the general community, cities and counties should include this concept as an element in their general plans and zoning ordinances. Continue reading

Article, Rule filed under Energy | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Jan 30, 2012

Decoupling Energy Profits from Sales

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rule/decoupling-energy-profits-from-sales/

Electric utilities are in the business of selling electricity. And even though most utility sponsored energy conservation programs reward the utility handsomely for saving electricity, the lure of selling more and more is overpowering. The problem only gets worse in the era of electric competition since the regulatory incentives for utilities to help their customers save energy and use energy more efficiently are removed. To solve this inherent problem regulators have normally required divestiture of generation assets as a precursor to full retail competition – so former integrated utilities now become separate generation, distribution or transmission utilities. But this does not do enough to remove utility preferences to discourage distributed generation and energy efficiency. Continue reading

Article filed under Broadband | Written by Christopher | No Comments | Updated on Jan 29, 2012

Media Coverage Roundup: Georgia AT&T Bill to Kill Community Broadband

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.muninetworks.org/content/media-coverage-roundup-georgia-att-bill-kill-community-broadband

In the wake of a bill in Georgia to revoke local authority and substitute it with state say-so over whether a community can build a broadband network, multiple outlets have covered the situatio… Continue reading

Article, Rule filed under Energy | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Jan 29, 2012

Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED)

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rule/community-based-energy-development-c-bed/

Recognizing the benefits that small-scale and locally-owned wind projects can have, in 2005 Minnesota lawmakers enacted legislation requiring all of the state’s electric utilities to establish Community Based Energy Development (C-BED) tariffs. The key aspect of the C-BED tariff is higher payments in the first 10 years of a power purchase contract. The only other state to enact such a law as of 2009 is Nebraska. Continue reading

Article, Rule filed under Energy | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Jan 29, 2012

Community Choice Aggregation

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rule/community-choice-aggregation/

In the era of electric deregulation customers in some states now have the ability to choose their electric supplier. But early indications are that the vast majority of consumers will choose not to choose. Who, then, should be their default supplier? In most states the incumbent utility has been given this huge pot of customers – California,Massachusetts and Ohio have decided that it should be the town or city who is responsible for serving these customers. Continue reading

Article, Rule filed under Energy | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Jan 29, 2012

Climate Change

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rule/climate-change/

Emissions reduction efforts to address the issue of climate change focus on two primary greenhouse gases: CO2 and methane. CO2 is released when fossil fuels – oil, coal and natural gas – are burned to power our cars, produce electricity or heat our buildings. Methane is emitted in urban areas when garbage and waste products decompose, primarily in landfills. Local and state governments can play a key role because they directly influence and control many of the activities that produce these emissions. Decisions about land use and development, investments in public transit, energy-efficient building codes, waste reduction and recycling programs all affect local air quality and living standards as well as the global climate. Continue reading

Article, Rule filed under General | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Jan 29, 2012

Local Food

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rule/local-food/

A growing number of farmers are selling their products directly to consumers. Expanding localmarkets for agricultural products connects producers with eaters and increases farmers’ incomes by eliminating the middleperson.Food and dollars stay in town, transportation costs are minimized, anda connection between farmers and the community is fostered. Usingfarmers markets, community supported agriculture, and new statemarketing and inspection programs, a new turn towards local markets hasbegun. As these markets expand, local food systems are being rebuilt toreplace the centralized, corporate ones currently in place. Below arethe rules and trends that are driving such a transition. Continue reading