On renewable energy, go local A focus on output in gallons and megawatts leads to large-scale ethanol plants and wind farms. Such facilities aren’t the most beneficial, nor even the most efficient. By John Farrell, originally published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 15, 2007 In the past two years, renewable energy has catapulted to… Continue reading
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Through and attractive pricing arrangement, the Woodruff Electric Cooperative has enticed nearly 85 percent of area farmers to allow their irrigation systems to be shut off when electricity demand is high. The program certainly benefits the participating farmers but the other member owners also save since the cooperative can reduce its need to purchase expensive peak power during critical times of the year.
Hundreds of communities across the United States are considering municipal fiber network projects. Nearly all will have to start from scratch, spending years building the network and attracting users before it is useful. Mooresville and Davidson have a historic opportunity to invest in the future while skipping the grunt work.
Thanks to the foresight of those who negotiated Adelphia’s cable franchise, Mooresville and Davidson can purchase the existing network and upgrade it to fit community needs. Continue reading
Congress and most state legislatures have or are developing renewable energy policies with a single objective: get more renewables. Our new study, Wind and Ethanol: Economies and Diseconomies of Scale, finds that this single minded focus ignores the potential economic benefits from locally owned and more modestly scaled facilities. The focus should on better renewable energy projects not simply 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
For years local business owners and their supporters in the Arizona legislature have tried to put an end to the massive subsidies that cities in the Phoenix metro routinely dole out to chain retail developers. Bills to prohibit the giveaways were introduced in session after session, only to fail. But this year, lawmakers at last endorsed a measure that outlaws subsides for retail projects in Maricopa and Pinal counties, which encompass the Phoenix metro and include two-thirds of the state’s population. 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.
Working Assets is my long-distance phone company. I love it dearly for its combination of business efficiency, social responsibility and progressive politics.
Each month, my phone bill carries alerts that urge me to take action on a specific issue or two. Recent Citizen Actions suggest the gravity of the issues chosen: "Save Our Constitution," "Impeach Dick Cheney," "Close Guantanamo."
This month Working Assets urged me to "Say No to Ethanol."