It may be one of the oldest cooperative utilities in the country, but in the next six months, Farmers Electric Cooperative (FEC) of southeastern Iowa will be leading the nation in this 21st century energy source. Upon completion of a new solar array, the 640-member cooperative will have over 1,500 Watts of solar per customer… Continue reading
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Thomasville belongs to Community Network Services (CNS), serving six communities in southwest Georgia. Thanks in part to revenue generated by the network, this community of 18,000 has eliminated its local fire tax. In 2013, Thomasville is estimated to earn a net income of up to $8.5 million from its utility services while keeping prices affordable… Continue reading
ILSR’s Christopher Mitchell recently published an opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun. Comcast has abused its standing as the dominant provider for years and the community is examining options. Mitchell’s op/ed addressed the issue foremost in the mind of Mayor Stephanie Rawling-Blake: jobs and connectivity. In the past, City leaders have considered investing in a… Continue reading
“We have this once-in-a-generation negotiation coming up next year and it’s a chance for Minneapolis to explore what its energy choices might be and how it could achieve its energy goals.” Earlier this week, the Minneapolis city council got an early look at an important “pathways study,” outlining the legal and policy strategies the city… Continue reading
As new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler begins serving the public, we want to welcome him with open arms and some good advice. ILSR teamed up with the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) to create a personalized postcard with ILSR’s Christopher Mitchell. We hope he will print it out, frame it, and place it prominently on his… Continue reading
ILSR, the Consumer’s Union, and Common Cause recently filed comments with the FCC as it examines E-rate. The agency’s Wireline Competition Bureau is currently reviewing the E-rate program for Schools and Libraries. The program provides funding from the Universal Services Fund to help schools and libraries pay for Internet access and other telecommunications services. The… Continue reading
Today, ILSR issued a report on Walmart’s rapidly expanding climate pollution and joined with leading environmental organizations in calling for change. The new report, Walmart’s Assault on the Climate: The Truth Behind One of the Biggest Climate Polluters and Slickest Greenwashers in America, finds: Nearly a decade after launching its sustainability campaign, Walmart’s greenhouse gas… Continue reading
I gave a presentation at the 5th Annual Conference of the Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability on Nov. 8, 2013, talking about the challenges to sustainability and the opportunity presented by a transformation to distributed renewable energy in the utility sector. My remarks follow. Scroll to the bottom to flip through the slide presentation…. Continue reading
On November 6, 2013, Debra Lynn Dadd’s Toxic Free Talk Radio Show had ILSR’s Brenda Platt as a guest representing the Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative and talking about bioplastics. Brenda is Director of the Sustainable Plastics Initiative, Co-Chair of the Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative (www.sustainablebiomaterials.org), and co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, based in Washington, DC…. Continue reading
What happens when a monopoly utility sees a threat to their business model? A lot of two-faced talking to regulators about the best carbon-free energy sources. Read here for more background. Like what you see? Get a weekly email on Democratic Energy, or follow us on Twitter: Continue reading
On November 5th, citizens of Longmont will vote on a referendum determining whether to expedite building a Fiber to the Home (FTTH) network by issuing revenue bonds, a process that would speed up the build by several decades. The network is being built by Longmont Power and Communications, a city-owned utility north of Denver, Colorado…. Continue reading
Two weeks ago, I listened – incredulously – to Minnesota’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, suggest that solar energy offers its ratepayers no value as an environmental hedge against carbon emissions or as a price hedge against natural gas fuel price fluctuations. But just three days later, Xcel was singing a different tune [docket pdf] to… Continue reading
A terrific video explains why utility investments in “baseload” coal and nuclear power plants are acting against increasing renewable energy. Credit to EnergyShouldBe, a website created by one of the technical analysts helping Boulder, CO, pursue a more local, renewable energy system. My one caveat is that flexibility of a utility system varies by utility. … Continue reading
It was an unseasonably sunny day for part two of Minnesota’s value of solar stakeholder process: participation day. The leadoff was the Department of Commerce’s proposed approach to a value of solar methodology. Shown below, it set some broad principles the Department intends to use in the value of solar formula it develops: … Continue reading
Keeping Energy Dollars Local
- Chattanooga, TN, is adding over $1 billion to its local economy in the next decade by implementing one of the most advanced smart grids and delivering the fastest internet service in the country with its municipal utility.
- Sonoma County, CA, has created nearly 800 local jobs retrofitting over 2,000 properties for energy savings with city-based financing.
- Babylon, NY, has re-purposed a solid waste fund to finance retrofits for 2% of the city’s homes, saving residents an average of $1,300 a year on their energy bills at minimal cost to the city.
Eight Powerful, Practical Policies
This report details eight practical energy policies cities can and have used to their economic advantage: Continue reading