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Radio Microphone with On Air
Article, ILSR Press Room, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Jul 13, 2011

John Farrell talks about Democratizing the Electricity System on the Progressive Radio Network

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/john-farrell-talks-about-democratizing-electricity-system-progressive-radio-network/

SolarTimes editor Sandy LeonVest in conversation with energy researcher John Farrell, of the Institute for Local Self Reliance. They discuss “energy democracy” and John Farrell’s recently published report, “Democratizing the Electricity System.” Continue reading

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Article filed under The Public Good, The Public Good News | Written by David Morris | 1 Comment | Updated on Jul 7, 2011

Why is the Most Wasteful Government Agency Not Part of the Deficit Discussion?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/why-is-the-most-wasteful-government-agency-not-part-of-the-deficit-discussion/

In all the talk about the federal deficit, why is the single largest culprit left out of the conversation?  Why is the one part of government that best epitomizes everything conservatives say they hate about government— waste, incompetence, and corruption—all but exempt from conservative criticism? Of course, I’m talking about the Pentagon.  Any serious battle… Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Broadband | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Jul 6, 2011

Community Fiber Networks Better than DSL, Cable Networks

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/new-video-community-fiber-networks-better-dsl-cable-networks/

With the vast majority of Americans greatly overpaying for slow and unreliable broadband compared to connections in Europe and Asia, hundreds of communities have started building their own networks. Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Jul 6, 2011

The Political and Technical Advantages of Distributed Generation

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/political-and-technical-advantages-distributed-generation/

A serialized version of our new report, Democratizing the Electricity System, Part 3 of 5. Click here for: Part 1 (The Electric System: Inflection Point) Part 2 (The Economics of Distributed Generation) Download the report. The Political and Technical Advantages of Distributed Generation While technology has helped change the economics of electricity production (in favor… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 5, 2011

Electricity Home Rule Could Mean Economic Boost of $1.5 Billion and 14,500 jobs for DC

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/electricity-home-rule-could-mean-economic-boost-15-billion-and-14500-jobs-dc/

Update 8/11/11: While maximizing solar in DC shifts $267 million in electricity payments from the utility to local solar panels, the cumulative electricity cost savings over 25 years amounts to $1.6 billion for ratepayers by shifting to solar power.

For many years the citizens of Washington, DC, struggled for the basic right to elect their own leaders.  In 2011, they should use their political home rule to maximize the economic benefits of local renewable energy with “electricity home rule.”

Currently, residents and businesses in Washington spend over $1.5 billion dollars a year on electricity.  According to a study of DC’s energy dollars by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 90% of that amount (largely unchanged since the 1979 study) – $1.4 billion – leaves the city.  

With rooftop solar power, DC residents could keep more of those electricity dollars at home.

In its recently published atlas of state renewable energy potential, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) found that the District of Columbia could generate 19% of its electricity from rooftop solar PV systems.  That’s $267 million spent on electricity bills that could be kept locally. 

But maximizing local electricity generation with rooftop solar has enormous additional economic benefits.  To fill District roofs with solar panels, residents would need to install just over 1,800 megawatts (MW) of rooftop solar.  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that every megawatt of solar generates $240,000 in additional economic activity, making the economic value of maximizing solar energy self-reliance close to $432 million.  

It could go even higher.  

A previous NREL study of the value of local ownership of renewable (wind) energy found that it multiplied the economic benefits from 1.5 to 3.4 times.  If D.C. residents maximized local ownership of solar, it could have an economic value as high as $1.5 billion, equivalent to the District’s total electricity bill.

The 1,800 MW of solar would also generate jobs.  With a rule of thumb of 8 jobs per MW, according to a University of California, Berkeley, study of the jobs created from renewable energy development, the District could get as many as 14,500 jobs from maximizing its solar energy self-reliance.

The cost of going solar is minimal.  At current best prices for solar PV (around $3.50 per Watt installed) and with the benefit of the 30% federal Investment Tax Credit, solar PV can deliver electricity to the District for 16.1 cents per kilowatt-hour.  After seven years at current electricity inflation rates (3% per year), solar PV – with zero fuel cost or inflation – would be less expensive than retail grid electricity (currently 13.3 cents per kWh).  And unlike the $267 million currently sent out of the district for that electricity, all of it would be kept at home.

The solar power offers much more than just affordable electricity.  Recent studies have suggested that the actual value of solar power to the grid and environment far exceeds the value of the sun-powered electricity.  And ILSR’s recent report on Democratizing the Electricity System illustrates how solar power and other distributed renewable energy sources are the cornerstone of a transformation to a decentralized, more democratic energy system.

Citizens of DC should take the opportunity presented by their solar resource and pursue electricity home rule.

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Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 1, 2011

California Requires Internet Retailers to Collect Sales Tax

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/california-requires-internet-retailers-collect-sales-tax/

In what may well be the tipping point in a decade-long fight to level the playing field for local brick-and-mortar businesses, California this week enacted a law requiring Amazon and other large online retailers to collect state sales tax.  Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 30, 2011

The Economics of Distributed Generation

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

A serialized version of our new report, Democratizing the Electricity System, Part 2 of 5.  Click here for Part 1 or here to download the report. The falling cost of distributed renewable generation has been one of the key drivers of the transformation of the U.S. electric grid. The following chart illustrates the cost of… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 30, 2011

Arguing for Locally Produced Electricity in Rural Communities

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/arguing-locally-produced-electricity-rural-communities/

Rural areas aren’t just for energy export.

 

Dylan Kruse (Sustainable Northwest) at 2011 Rural Assembly from Center for Rural Strategies on Vimeo.

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The points in this great presentation are echoed in a recent Böll Foundation report called Harvesting Clean Energy on Ontario Farms, which notes that some farmers in northern Germany make $2.5 million in a good year growing wheat. They make $15 million harvesting the wind.

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 29, 2011

Missouri Voters Will Have to Try Again for Energy Self-Reliance

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/missouri-voters-will-have-try-again-energy-self-reliance/

Missouri State CapitolHow many times must Missouri voters tell their government that they want clean, local energy and its economic benefits? 

They should try 21 times.  That’s how much more in-state economic benefit can be gained from developing local energy rather than trying to keep rates low with energy imports.

In 2008, voters approved – with 66% percent of the vote – a referendum establishing a 15% renewable energy standard.  The law also required utilities to get the renewable energy within Missouri or surrounding states.  In January, however, the state legislature stripped that part of the law, allowing Missouri utilities to import renewable energy from anywhere, even if that electricity never physically reaches Missouri ratepayers. 

Renewable energy advocates even tried to reach a compromise with utility lobbyists, reducing the mandate by half but keeping the geographic restriction. 

If the measure had passed, it would have guaranteed Missouri “a coal-sized plant of renewable energy over the next decade,” [Rep.] Holsman said. “That means a vast array of economic development, including sales, installation, service and manufacturing jobs for Missouri. It means not having to worry about EPA regulations or adjusted fuel costs for the investment.”

The measure failed, however, because consumer groups thought importing wind power from elsewhere would be cheaper and utilities wanted ratepayers to front the cost for permits for new nuclear power plants (despite the horrendous economics of such power plants).

 

The irony is that Missouri has strong, local renewable energy resources.  According to a 2010 report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Missouri could generate three times its electricity consumption from high-quality, in-state wind power.  The cost for this wind power would be 6 to 7 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) without the federal tax credit, and less than 5 cents per kWh including the incentive.  This compares to average residential retail rates of 8-9 cents.  Even solar PV is fairly affordable, with a levelized cost (including the 30% federal tax credit) of just 15 cents per kWh (with an installed cost of $3.50 per Watt).  Missouri has enough sun and roofspace to get 21% of its electricity from rooftop solar PV.

The cost savings from importing cheaper wind power pale in comparison to the economic benefits of building locally.  The cheapest wind power in the U.S. would be – at best – about 1.5 cents per kWh less than wind power generated in Missouri.  If it could (impossibly) be delivered to the state with zero transmission cost, the savings to ratepayers of getting 100% of their electricity from wind would be $1.3 billion.

However, the economic impact of in-state wind power is $1 million per megawatt (MW), according to the American Wind Energy Association.  The state would need 28,000 MW of wind power to match its electricity consumption (with a 35% capacity factor), for an economic impact of $28 billion, 21 times the savings from importing out-of-state wind.  Furthermore, if those turbines were also owned by Missourans, the economic impact would rise 1.5 to 3.4 times higher, from $42 to $95 billion. 

The repeal of the geographic requirement in Missouri’s renewable energy law is penny-wise and (21 times) pound-foolish. 

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 28, 2011

CapX 2020 Archived Print/Online News Stories

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/capx-2020-archived-printonline-news-stories/

This is an archive of print and online news coverage of the CapX 2020 Transmission Lines.  The archive was originally hosted on an ILSR.org website but will now be available on NewRules.org using the ‘CapX News’ keyword.

This post has media coverage prior to early 2011.  Coverage after this time is listed in reverse chronological order using the ‘CapX News’ keyword.

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