Five Midwest states (Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio) could get nearly all their electricity from wind, according to updated maps from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). New data from Wind Powering America mean that 32 states could get all of their electricity from in-state resources, even more than initially revealed in ILSR’s ground-breaking report last fall, Energy Self-Reliant States. The revised estimates come from the National Renewable Energy Lab’s Wind Powering America project and are the first nationwide update since the early 1990s. Continue reading
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The Obama administration’s energy policy jumps the shark: why nuclear isa bad deal and carbon-captured coal is anything but clean. Senior Research John Farrell discusses this and the smarter strategy of a decentralized renewable energy future with KBOO host Bill Resnick.
The rules we make now will decide our energy future. Listen to the interview here.
The biggest banks impose much higher fees on their customers than small financial institutions do. This is exactly the opposite of what was promised in 1994 and again in 1999, when Congress dismantled laws that had long restricted the size and scope of banks, ushering in a wave of mergers that left the industry dominated by a few financial giants. Continue reading
Although small and mid-sized banks control only 22 percent of all bank assets, they account for 54 percent of small business lending. Big banks, meanwhile, allocate relatively little of their resources to small businesses. The largest 20 banks, which now command 57 percent of all bank assets, devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business. Continue reading
In a truly groundbreaking move for the English-speaking world, Britain’s Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has released a full suite of renewable energy tariffs that go into effect in April. Britain will become the first country in the world to offer a comprehensive system of tariffs for renewable heat, including tariffs for solar domestic hot water and ground-source heat pumps among others.
The latest report from TARP Inspector General Neil Barofsky warns, “Even if TARP saved our financial system from driving off a cliff back in 2008, absent meaningful reform, we are still driving on the same winding mountain road, but this time in a faster car.” Continue reading
By exempting internet retailers like Amazon.com from collecting sales taxes, lawmakers provide a substantial financial incentive for people to bypass local businesses and shop online instead. Continue reading
The New Rules Project, in partnership with HuffPost’s Move Your Money campaign, is using its Community Banking Initiative to get out the word that banking locally can put the power back in the hands of individuals and communities, rather than Wall Street’s CEOs.
As more of us ditch the big banks in favor local banks and credit unions, we need to give thought to both the saving and lending sides of a bank. Each is crucial.
As we start down the path of breaking up with the big banks and defending our own economic interests and that of our communities, we should think about the whole range of financial services we use. We need to give thought to both the saving and lending sides of a bank. Each is crucial. On the savings side, community-based financial institutions need our deposits much more than the big banks do. But to be profitable community banks need to convert those deposits into loans. Continue reading
A new and vastly improved climate change policy has come out of nowhere to capture the imagination of state and national policymakers: "Cap and dividend." It works like this: Step one, impose a carbon cap. Step two, auction off all carbon allowances. Step three, return most of (if not all) the revenues generated to all households on a per capita basis. Continue reading