Decentralized renewable energy doesn’t top the climate and energy agenda in Europe or the United States, but for very different reasons. In Europe, there has already been substantial development of decentralized renewable energy, and policy makers have moved on to discussions of 100% renewable energy. In the United States, by contrast, well-heeled interest groups tend to dominate renewable energy discourse, and American energy policy reflects their paradigm of centralized generation dependent on high-voltage transmission lines.
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The Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga, Tennessee, has announced a citywide 1 gigabit per second (1 Gbps) broadband tier, by far the fastest citywide broadband tier available in the U.S. By the end of the year, 170,000 households and businesses in the region will have access to the fastest speeds available – at affordable rates. Christopher Mitchell, the Director of the Telecommunications as Commons Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), recently visited Chattanooga to tour and discuss their community-owned fiber network. Continue reading
A new report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), Community Solar Power: Obstacles and Opportunities , examines nine community solar projects, the policies that made them possible, and the (substantial)barriers that remain. Successful community solar power projects in Colorado, Maryland, and North Carolina are knocking down the price of residential-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) by… Continue reading
Community solar power has the promise of making solar more affordable, bringing sun-powered electricity to renters or people with shady roofs, and dispersing the economics benefits of renewable energy generation. But while a few pioneering projects have broken through the barriers to community solar power, the rules, incentives, and policies for solar PV restrict the potential of community solar. Next week, ILSR will release its report on community solar.
Over 30 cities, towns and unincorporated areas have formed a community choice aggregation program in Marin County, CA. The program will provide ratepayers with significantly higher levels of renewable energy at rates comparable to their previous PG&E electric provider. Continue reading
The two groups that have traditionally spoken for small business in Washington often push an agenda that only big business could love, writes ILSR’s Stacy Mitchell in this commentary for Business Week.
A top Federal Reserve official says that locally owned banks do a better job of serving communities and small businesses, but they are threatened by federal policies that favor their big competitors. Continue reading
Just as CSAs have played a key role in the rebirth of small-scale farms, so too are new community-supported enterprise models helping to launch a new generation of independent grocers, bookstores, and other neighborhood businesses. Continue reading
Christopher Mitchell testifies before the Commissioners Copps and Clyburn of the Federal Communications Commission at a hearing in Minneapolis on August 19, 2010. Continue reading
The credit crisis may have crimped commercial wind turbine installations, but the economic stimulus cash grants in lieu of tax credits have given new life to community wind projects. Continue reading