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
Viewing all Resources from Energy Self-Reliant States
“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
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
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
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
A vividly visual summary of our newest report, City Power Play: 8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy, this presentation covers eight powerful policies and practices that cities have employed to reduce energy use, save money, and create local jobs, all without waiting for someone else to act. It provides short case studies… Continue reading
Update 9/3/13: Environmental groups and home builders associations may have just reached an historic agreement on building codes, focusing on improving efficiency through a performance based measure (the Home Energy Rating System) instead of the prescriptive IECC codes. The upshot is a 20% improvement over the 2012 IECC code within two years by allowing builders… Continue reading
This presentation by Director of Democratic Energy John Farrell shows the politics, process, and policy that led to Minnesota becoming the 17th state with a solar or distributed renewable energy standard in 2013. Delivered to a webinar audience of Oregonians for Renewable Energy Progress (OREP) on July 16, 2013, it explains the new solar standard,… Continue reading
“A lot of the utilities don’t totally understand this new paradigm that’s coming.” David Blittersdorf of AllEarth Renewables has been working to advance renewable energy in Vermont for years, and was instrumental in getting the state’s standard offer program (a feed-in tariff) passed in 2009. He’s adamant that the state should accelerate its standard offer… Continue reading
Launched in 2009, Ontario’s “buy local” Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program promised to deliver hundreds of megawatts of new renewable energy and create 50,000 new jobs by the end of 2012. The program has had some notable achievements, and the province has worked hard to remedy some of the remaining roadblocks to success. The bottom line… Continue reading
Ontario’s landmark “buy local” renewable energy Feed-In Tariff program launched in late 2009. After four years, the program has created thousands of jobs, helped close coal-fired power plants and made energy producers of many Ontarians. But roadblocks remain, and changes are needed. The following presentation outlines the program, its goals and accomplishments, and the barriers… Continue reading
Read more in Expect Delays: Reviewing Ontario’s “Buy Local” Renewable Energy Program Continue reading