Released to coincide with the UN’s World Environment Day on June 5th, this report documents the link between climate change and unsustainable patterns of consumption and wasting. The study dispels myths about the climate benefits of landfill gas recovery and waste incineration, outlines policies needed to effect change, and offers a roadmap to significantly reduce… Continue reading
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Updating our pathbreaking 2003 report, this June 2008 report by David Morris describes how commercially available technologies today could transform our petroleum powered transportation system into one powered by electricity and biofuels. Provisions in the recently passed Energy Act could accelerate that transformation. With the adoption of complementary policies, the revolution in our transportation sector can generate an equally profound revolution in our electricity sector. Hundreds of thousands of locally owned wind turbines and solar electric arrays supplying flexible fueled, plug-in hybrid vehicles can allow tens of millions of Americans to become energy producers not just energy consumers.
Large, remote concentrating solar power systems are the new darlings of the solar industry. Some observers now see centralized, not decentralized solar as the future. But a new report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance reveals that the economic advantage of centralized solar and absentee owned solar arrays rests on federal tax incentives that discriminate against locally owned, decentralized solar arrays.
John Farrell, the report’s author and a strong voice in the energy community, calls for Congress to change federal tax incentives to give equal benefits to residential solar arrays, instead of favoring commercial and centralized projects.
This April 2008 policy brief by John Farrell shows how current federal law discriminates against people owning their own power plants and highlights how the removal of two barriers at the federal level could dramatically enhance local ownership and investment in renewable energy projects. Continue reading
This February 2008 report by David Morris criticizes the authors of two recent studies published in
On February 7, 2008, Science published two studies that examined the greenhouse gas impact of land use changes caused by the growing demand for biofuels. Within hours, news of the studies was carried by a remarkable number of media outlets. Reporters summed up the findings indire terms. National Public Radio declared, "Study: Ethanol Worse for Climate Than Gasoline." The New York Times headline read, "Biofuels Deemed a Greenhouse Threat." Continue reading
The United States, creator of the Internet, increasingly lags in access to it. In the absence of a national broadband strategy, many communities have invested in broadband infrastructure, especially wireless broadband, to offer broadband choices to their residents.
Newspaperheadlines trumpeting the death of municipal wireless networks ignore the increasing investments by cities in Wi-Fi systems. At the same time, the wireless focus by others diverts resources and action away from building the necessary long term foundation for high speed information: fiber optic networks.
Learn about our accomplishments in three sectors of targeted focus: Hometown Advantage – expanding, developing and protecting locally owned retail businesses; Democratic Energy – dispersed energy generation and local ownership; Telecommunications As Commons – building strong, publicly owned telecommunications networks.
This January 2008 policy brief by John Farrell highlights how several European countries, and more recently the Canadian province of Ontario, have adopted a simple yet powerful strategy to expand renewable energy and benefit local economies. It is called a feed-in tariff: a mandated, long-term premium price for renewable energy paid by the local electric utility to energy producers. Evidence shows that a feed-in tariff achieves greater results at a lower cost than do other strategies like tax incentives or renewable electricity standards.
Several European countries, and more recently the Canadian province of Ontario, have adopted a simple yet powerful strategy to expand renewable energy and benefit local economies. It is called a feed-in tariff: a mandated, long-term premium price for renewable energy paid by the local electric utility to energy producers. Evidence shows that a feed-in tariff achieves greater results at a lower cost than do other strategies like tax incentives or renewable electricity standards.
This January 2008 policy brief by John Bailey concludes that universal dividends are a critically important tool to create the political will and public acceptance for a carbon cap. Universal dividends have the potential to hold harmless a large segment of consumers while we move to a low-carbon economy. Moreover, the universal dividend honors the principle that the sky belongs to all of us equally. Private investment in clean and efficient technologies will be driven by a carbon cap that leads to steady reductions over time of GHG emissions and carbon-based fuels.
Common to many proposals addressing climate change is a cap on carbon emissions or carbon content of fuels. A cap will generate a market value for carbon.
Our program continued its tradition of solving problems in ways that reinforce economic and environmental security. Our work continues to help community development organizations, small businesses and government agencies increase productive employment, recover increasing amounts of valuable recycled materials and products, save environmental resources, and lower operating costs. Full Report (228 KB) Also a 2006 Report… Continue reading
This is a presentation that was given by John Farrell at the Local Energy Initiatives Forum in Cloquet, MN on September 13, 2007 Continue reading
Twenty-three veteran recycling and composting activists met in a two-day retreat in June 2007 to prepare policy guidelines to accelerate diversion of discarded materials from landfills and incinerators. The document, upon refinement and approval by a broader number of activists, will be circulated among state, local and federal decision-makers for consideration. View the background statement,… Continue reading
In the modern world, broadband information networks are essential infrastructure, a combination of the past’s canals, telegraph wires, interstate highways, and airports. Unfortunately, other developed countries offer faster networks at cheaper prices to their businesses and citizens. Few disagree that the United States must solve this broadband problem.
This case study shows how one city did it. No private company was willing to build the high-speed information network Burlington, Vermont, needed on the timeline it wanted. Rather than hope and wait, they’re building it themselves. After their original plan collapsed, they persevered and developed a different model, using a tax-exempt municipal capital lease arrangement with an outside investor. The City will have direct ownership within 15 years; they already have complete control.
ILSR issued a report in 2011 that updates this case study: Learning from Burlington Telecom: Some Lessons for Community Networks
ILSR’s 2007 Report to the Delaware State Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) presents an approach for changing solid waste management to resource management in this small Mid-Atlantic state. ILSR recommends a surcharge to finance infrastructure development for the public and private sectors. The $6 per ton surcharge would raise $20 million in… Continue reading
In 2004, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection awarded the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) a grant to assess the supply and demand for recoverable residential building materials in Southeastern Pennsylvania. This report presents our findings and recommendations. Continue reading