A strong and smart grid can be developed with distributed renewable energy, without need for new high-voltage transmission. This 6-minute video explains how. Continue reading
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Community Choice Aggregation lets cities and counties select their own electricity provider, prioritize renewable energy and encourage conservation, without having to own the utility or the power lines. It has expanded in California, and this paper provides an update on this innovative policy. For years, the U.S. has been served by four forms of electric utility: investor-owned, cooperative, municipal, and federal (e.g. Tennessee Valley Authority). This list is changing.
A 10-min video on Germany’s rewarding feed-in tariff renewable energy program Continue reading
In the 1990s, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and other energy activists in Minnesota undertook an effort to get Minnesota to adopt a billion dollar "tax shift" that would have raised the cost of energy while reducing taxes on income and/or property. ILSR was integrally involved in the design of the legislative proposal and examined the impacts on various sectors of Minnesota’s economy. Below you will find the archive of the materials that were prepared to support the initiative. Over several years, the proposal was debated extensively but never enacted into law. Continue reading
Presented at the 16th Annual Maine Recycling & Solid Waste Conference in Bar Harbor, Maine Continue reading
The SBC’s Guidelines for Sustainable Bioplastics proposes goals and a roadmap for improving the sustainability of bioplastics – defined for this document as plastics in which 100% of the carbon is derived from renewable agricultural and forestry resources. While these Guidelines focus on biobased plastic replacements for fossil-fuel-based plastics, many of the principles apply to… Continue reading
On Sunday, April 26, David Morris addressed a crowd hosted by the DFL Education Foundation, on the challenges of developing renewable energy in a time of economic turmoil. His remarks follow:
I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this distinguished audience this evening. My charge is to address the question, “Can We Be Green in a Recession?” Or as the teaser for this meeting puts it, can we be green without green?
David Morris spoke on Earth Day to the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis on ethics. He began with some definitions:
Ethics is a set of moral values and standards that guide our conduct. Those moral values and standards are not the same in all societies. Our own country offers an excellent example. Indeed, we consider our history and culture so unique that our leaders often use the term American Exceptionalism to describe our economic and social niche.
There’s a renewable energy policy with a record of incredible success, so why aren’t we using it in America? This paper briefly explores the history of feed-in tariffs (FITs) in Europe – the rise and fall of this policy in Denmark and the rise and rise of FITs in Germany – and then outlines why it would be a much simpler, more cost-effective, and better economic driver for reaching America’s renewable energy goals. Continue reading
Presented at Waste Not! Expo in Frederick, Maryland Continue reading
The County of Hawai’i (a.k.a. Big Island), having signed a Zero Waste resolution in December 2007, has taken extraordinary steps toward sustainable resource management. This is the Zero Waste Implementation Plan, requested by the County Council and completed by Richard Anthony Associates, Hidden Resources and ILSR in March 2009. Continue reading
Twenty-five years ago, many solid waste planners thought no more than 15% to 20% of the municipal waste stream could be recycled. Today numerous communities have surpassed 50% recycling, and many individual establishments — public and private sector — such as office buildings, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and supermarkets have approached 90% and higher levels. A handful… Continue reading
Stacy Mitchell speaking about the growth of the local business movement at the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute conference in Salt Lake City on Jan. 29, 2009. Continue reading
Vermont, Oregon, Gainesville, FL, and the Canadian province of Ontario have recently adopted feed-in tariffs for renewable energy, allowing any prospective renewable energy producer will get a guaranteed connection to the grid, a long term contract to sell their power, and a fixed price sufficient to recover their costs plus a reasonable profit. We believe that feed-in tariffs could turbocharge state level renewable electricity standards, reduce costs, and spread the economic benefits across many more project owners.