Back to top Jump to featured resources

Viewing all Articles Page 165 of 286

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 22, 2010

U.S. Military Sees Great Value in Distributed Renewable Energy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/us-military-sees-great-value-distributed-renewable-energy/

There’s no better illustration of the value of distributed renewable energy than the U.S. military.  In Iraq, the 50,000 U.S. troops (as of August 2010) use 600 million gallons of fuel per year at a cost of dozens of lives of U.S. soldiers who die protecting fuel convoys and financial cost of nearly $27 billion for fuel and security ($45 per gallon!).  New distributed renewable energy systems can help combat brigades reduce fuel consumption, saving lives and money.

One Marine company – Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines – field-tested the Ground Renewable Expeditionary ENergy System (GREENS) system in August 2010 and found that it saved 8 gallons of fuel per day for each of the company’s 150 men.  Complemented with other renewable energy systems, the Marines powered their combat operations center without using the diesel generator for eight days.

The renewable technology that will power Company I costs about $50,000 to $70,000; a single diesel generator costs several thousand dollars. But when it costs hundreds of dollars to get each gallon of traditional fuel to base camps in Afghanistan, the investment is quickly defrayed.”

It takes approximately 200 GREENS (1,600 kilowatts of solar modules with battery storage for 300 Watts of continuous power) to replace a single 60 kilowatt diesel generator, but it saved the Marine company 1,200 gallons of fuel per day.  In Iraq, that fuel would have cost $45 per gallon, including transportation and security costs.  That’s a savings of $54,000 in a single day.  If priced at $70,000 each, the 200 GREENS will pay back in 260 days, less than 9 months. 

If every U.S. company serving in Iraq made use of GREENS, it would reduce fuel consumption by U.S. troops by 25%, saving 146 million gallons of fuel and $6.5 billion per year. 

There are benefits besides saved fuel and money.  Marines appreciated that the solar-powered base systems are quiet, and also don’t require constant refueling.  The no-fuel requirement also benefits security, as 72 U.S. soldiers died protecting convoys in Iraq in 2009.

The military provides a great illustration of the utility and cost-effectiveness of distributed generation, and one that should inform state-side strategies for energy deployment.

Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 17, 2010

The Fragmentation of American Energy Policy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/fragmentation-american-energy-policy/

Last week was a tough one for distributed solar markets in several states, as a remarkable number of renewable energy incentive programs hit their budget or capacity caps, or are shrinking in scope: San Diego Gas & Electric’s allocation of non-residential solar incentives under the California Solar Initiative ran out. The Los Angeles municipal utility… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 16, 2010

We’re Number 1 – Minnesota Boasts Most Expensive Solar PV in Nation

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/were-number-1-minnesota-boasts-most-expensive-solar-pv-nation/

From page 19 of the brilliant report, Tracking the Sun III: The Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the U.S. from 1998-2009 (large pdf).

It’s worth noting that this has nothing to do with the state’s solar resources.  This is the upfront cost to install the modules.  The difference in cost of solar electricity is likely even more severe since many of the least expensive states also have better sun. 

Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 16, 2010

A Blueprint for a 100% Renewable Utah

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/blueprint-100-renewable-utah/

The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah just released the eUtah Blueprint illustrating how Utah could reduce carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 95% by 2050 and could meet electricity demand reliably with a combination of wind, solar, geothermal, and compressed air storage (with some natural gas backups).  The report – written by Arjun Makhijani… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 16, 2010

Change in Tax Credit Policy Drives 24% Drop in Residential Solar Price

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/change-tax-credit-policy-drives-24-drop-residential-solar-price/

Update: It’s important to note that this refers to the net installed cost.  In other words, the installed cost dropped because residential solar customers were now getting an uncapped federal tax credit. We wrote in this 2009 report about the perverse problems created by the $2,000 cap on the federal residential solar tax credit.  The… Continue reading

2007-census-revenue_0
Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | 3 Comments | Updated on Dec 16, 2010

What New Census Data Show about the State of Independent Retail

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/what-new-census-data-show-about-state-independent-retail/

The good news is that overall sales at independent retailers grew by about 4 percent. The bad news is that chains grew faster and independents still lost market share, falling from 31 to 28 percent of retail spending. That decline in market share, however, was considerably slower in this five-year period than the preceding 20 years. Digging deeper into the new data, we found a number of interesting trends. Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 15, 2010

Michigan the 24th State with a PACE Law, Will It Matter?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/michigan-24th-state-pace-law-will-it-matter/

Yesterday Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm signed the state’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) law, making Michigan the 24th state to enable cities and counties to provide financing for on-site renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements via the property tax system. But it’s unclear how many municipalities will move ahead given the roadblocks facing residential PACE… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 14, 2010

Distributed Solar Power, Analyzed

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

Yesterday we discussed the spread of solar carports in California, highlighting the Milpitas School District’s 14 distributed solar PV arrays.  According to a news story, the district anticipates savings of $12 million over 25 years from the projects, which were financed by a power purchase agreement with Chevron Energy Solutions.  But would the district have… Continue reading

opencity.jpg
Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Independent Business | Written by admin | 5 Comments | Updated on Dec 14, 2010

Five Ideas from Detroit

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

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to spend a day in Detroit meeting with local entrepreneurs and sharing ideas for spurring small business development. I came away feeling that Detroit has quite a bit to teach the rest of us about how to build a local economy from the ground up. Continue reading

fdr
Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Dec 14, 2010

Obama vs. FDR on Social Security

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/obama-vs-fdr-social-security/

Today, 75 years and 4 months since Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, a Democratic president is ignoring his wisdom and abandoning his strategy for protecting the program from shifting political winds. If congressional Democrats go along with Obama on this, it could mark the beginning of the end of Social Security as we have known it. Continue reading