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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 19, 2009

Mothballed nuclear reactor illustrates the power of local self-reliance

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/mothballed-nuclear-reactor-illustrates-power-local-self-reliance/

This story of a the proposed 2300 MW Tyrone nuclear power park (two power plants) for Minnesota is informative. Starting with the original proposal in the 1970s, Northern States Power (now Xcel Energy) was stopped by sharply falling demand in the late 1970s, and they shifted to an alternative proposal to build a 750 MW coal plant. Again energy consumption fell short of projections and Xcel will now be using a combination of Manitoba Hydro power and new wind projects to get 375 MW of new generation. The success in transforming the original dual nukes into a much smaller package of renewable energy was the result of local citizen opposition and state policy on conservation and renewable energy. The author, Dean Abrahamson, notes:

As with almost all major reforms, the movement to more sustainable power has been the result of actions taken by individuals and by states — Washington continues to reluctantly follow, not to lead. [emphasis mine]

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 19, 2009

Wind power makes electricity cheaper

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/wind-power-makes-electricity-cheaper/

As it grows, wind power can increasingly displace expensive fossil fuel generators. In Texas (and also in Germany), wind is already helping to drive down electricity prices.

This is commonly known as the “merit order” effect, as sources with greater social merit (wind and solar power) are taken first by the grid, displacing dirtier and more expensive energy sources.  The following two illustrations, from Feed-in Tariffs in America, illustrate the effect.

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 19, 2009

Energy efficiency has economies of scale

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/energy-efficiency-has-economies-scale/

The report [Synapse Energy Economics Inc.: Costs and Benefits of Electric Utility Energy Efficiency in Massachusetts] is worth reading in full, but this paragraph is absolutely vital:

Synapse recently undertook an extensive review of numerous utility and third party EE programs from across the United States in order to explore the empirical relationship between the cost of saved energy (CSE) per kWh saved and program scale in terms of first year energy savings as a percentage of annual energy sales. In the analysis, we found that the CSE tends to decrease as energy savings increase relative to annual energy sales. This finding is contrary to the idea of an energy efficiency supply curve that is often constructed to estimate economic potential of energy efficiency measures. These supply curves generally indicate that the CSE increases as energy savings increase, much like a generation supply curve would. In English: Energy efficiency gets cheaper the more you spend on it. [emphasis original]

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Article filed under Broadband | Written by Christopher | No Comments | Updated on Nov 18, 2009

ILSR Submits Comments to FCC on Publicly Owned Broadband

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/ilsr-submits-comments-fcc-publicly-owned-broadband/

As the Federal Communications Commission continues to formulate a National Broadband Plan, ILSR has responded to a recent request for comments about the relationship between broadband and government.

We highlight the importance of publicly owned broadband networks by noting success stories and offering details on networks from Chattanooga, Burlington, Monticello, and Powell, Wyoming.  We also discuss lessons from publicly owned middle-mile networks and networks that connect core anchor institutions, like libraries and schools. Continue reading

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Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Nov 10, 2009

On Energy Questions, State’s Leaders Should Listen Better

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/energy-questions-states-leaders-should-listen-better/

How many times do the people have to be proven right before their political leaders listen to them? The recent cancellation of Big Stone II by its investors brings that question to mind. Back in 2006, seven Minnesota utilities asked the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission for permission to build a large coal fired power… Continue reading

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Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Justin Dahlheimer | 1 Comment | Updated on Nov 9, 2009

Voters Reject Massive Big-Box Complex in Mendocino County, California

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/voters-reject-massive-bigbox-complex-mendocino-county-california/

Despite being outspent 12-to-1, a grassroots group campaigning against a plan to build a massive big-box complex in Mendocino County, California, won a decisive victory when voters rejected the project by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 2, 2009

Cooperating for Community Renewable Energy

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

By creating decentralized, community-based renewable energy projects, tapping into the existing grid, and applying new smart grid technology, communities can maximize the economic returns of renewable energy production. Continue reading

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Article filed under Waste to Wealth | Written by admin | No Comments | Updated on Nov 1, 2009

Annie Leonard and Karl Marx… Or Is It Frederick Engels?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/annie-leonard-and-karl-marx-or-is-it-frederick-engels/

Recently on Fox News, Annie Leonard, creator of The Story of Stuff, was likened to Karl Marx with a ponytail. I do not know how Annie is wearing her hair these days, but she reminds me far more of the young Frederick Engels than of Karl Marx.

Let me explain.

Annie’s widely circulated animated video makes the connections between overproduction and ecological damage as well as between sustainability and job creation. In all of this, she is following in the footsteps of Frederick Engels, not Marx. Continue reading

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Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Oct 29, 2009

President’s Smart Grid Grants are not a Transmission Superhighway, Thankfully

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/president-s-smart-grid-grants-are-not-transmission-superhighway-thankfully/

There’s good news and bad news in President Obama’s announcement Wednesday of 100 grants totaling $3.4 billion to build a smarter electric grid.  The good news is the grants. The bad news is that President Obama continues to conflate the need for a smart grid with the need for a new national high voltage grid. Continue reading

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Article filed under Broadband | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 27, 2009

Maine Needs Publicly Owned Broadband

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/maine-needs-publicly-owned-broadband/

Current providers won’t encourage the competition necessary to improve service and cut costs.

Last January, as the economy spiraled downward, Time Warner did what no other company could have gotten away with under the circumstances: It imposed a price increase of as much as 5.5 percent on its Maine customers.

Meanwhile, the state’s other major broadband Internet provider, FairPoint, has amassed a stunning track record of mismanagement and abysmal customer service.

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