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solar panels palo alto - flickr user bike
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 1, 2014

One City Utility is Carbon Neutral, Today – Episode 21 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/city-utility-carbon-neutral-today-episode-21-local-energy-rules/

It’s one thing to own your utility and have a commitment to renewable energy, but it’s another thing to deliver. The municipal utility in Palo Alto, CA, set an ambitious target of 33% renewable energy by 2015 and to ultimately deliver a carbon neutral electricity supply. They will reach 48% renewable power in 2017 and… Continue reading

community solar people cheering - BlackRockSolar flickr
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Apr 22, 2014

Community Solar Gardens Sprouting in Minnesota

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/community-solar-gardens-sprouting-minnesota/

On April 7, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission resoundingly rejected (click the link for an annotated ruling) a severely lacking community solar gardens proposal from Xcel Energy and required substantial improvements for the utility’s revised filing. The regulatory smack-down means a promising community solar market for Minnesota (scroll down for the infographic version).    … Continue reading

KC Doyle
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 17, 2014

The Power of the Collective Energy Purchasing – Episode 20 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/power-of-collective-energy-purchasing-episode-20-local-energy-rules/

“We can’t do it as an individual, But four hundred communities aggregating and asking for local wind power and solar power – that’s really powerful.” Oak Park, IL, is one of hundreds of Illinois towns using their authority to buy electricity in bulk on behalf of its residential and small business customers. So far, most… Continue reading

Photo: neighborhood business
Featured Article, Resource filed under Banking, Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 16, 2014

Understanding the Small Business Credit Crunch

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/understanding-small-business-credit-crunch/

Even as their big competitors are awash in capital, many locally owned businesses are struggling to secure the financing they need to grow. A new ILSR analysis has found that, since 2000, bank lending to large businesses is up 36 percent, while small business loan volume has fallen 14 percent and “micro” business loans — those under $100,000 — have plummeted 33 percent. Continue reading

Graph: Change in Volume of Bank Loans to Businesses, by Loan Size, 2000-2012
Resource filed under Banking, Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 15, 2014

Change in Volume of Bank Loans to Businesses, by Loan Size, 2000-2012

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/change-volume-bank-loans-businesses-loan-size-2000-2012/

Since 2000, the overall volume of business lending per capita at banks has grown by 26 percent, but this expansion has entirely benefited large businesses. Small business loan volume at banks is down 14 percent and micro business loan volume is down 33 percent. Continue reading

aib-sba-loans-graph
Resource filed under Banking | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 15, 2014

SBA Loans Decrease in Number, Double in Size

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/sba-loans-decrease-number-double-size/

Over the last few years, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has dramatically reduced its support for smaller small businesses and shifted more of its loan guarantees to larger small businesses. Continue reading

john farrell presenting at electrons on the run 2014
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 10, 2014

How Democratic Energy Fits the Rural Electric Philosophy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/democratic-energy-fits-rural-electric-philosophy/

The following presentation was given by ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy John Farrell at the Electrons on the Run mini-conference in Alexandria, MN, on March 12, 2014.  The presentation illustrates how distributed renewable energy in the 21st century fits the rural electric utility philosophy of self-reliance and local economic development, just as providing local electricity… Continue reading

future of solar presentation cover
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 10 Comments | Updated on Apr 9, 2014

An Enormous Question for ‘Solar Choice’

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/enormous-question-solar-choice/

Two weeks ago, Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission ratified the first-ever statewide policy for setting a fair and transparent price on solar energy. This week, a coalition of companies that provide leasing contracts for solar to home and business customers declared war on this “value of solar” policy, and pretty much every financial model for compensating… Continue reading

mn value of solar cover
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 16 Comments | Updated on Apr 9, 2014

Minnesota’s Value of Solar

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/minnesotas-value-of-solar/

In March 2014, Minnesota became the first state to adopt a “value of solar” policy. It may fundamentally change the financial relationship between electric utilities and their energy-producing customers. It may also serve as a precedent for setting a transparent, market-based price for solar energy. This report explains the origins of value of solar, the… Continue reading

Dawn Weisz, Marin Clean Energy
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 3, 2014

The Leading Community Energy Aggregator – Episode 19 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/leading-community-energy-aggregator-episode-19-local-energy-rules/

Community choice aggregation describes a situation where a town can become the bulk buyer of electricity on behalf of its residential and small business customers. Such local aggregations serve about 5% of utility customers in Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and California, but it’s Marin Clean Energy in California that stands above the crowd for… Continue reading

EnergyStorageImage
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 26, 2014

Energy Storage: The Next Charge for Distributed Energy

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

Update 5/2/14: titles for Fig. 2 and 3 in the report were mistakenly switched and are now corrected.   Energy storage promises to change the electricity system during the next decade, as fundamentally as distributed renewable energy has in the last decade. A new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Energy Storage: The Next… Continue reading

KIUC lineman and truck
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 21, 2014

A Perfect Storm for Renewables – Episode 18 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/perfect-storm-renewables-episode-18-local-energy-rules/

“We have a perfect storm for renewables,” says Jan TenBruggencate, second-term board member of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. The Hawaiian utility, made local when the investor-owned utility left the business a decade ago, is surging toward 40% renewable energy in the next year, with a third of that total from customer-generated solar. Half its… Continue reading

freedom to generate under fire ILSR 2015-0325
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 19, 2014

Distributed Renewable Energy Under Fire

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

I developed this map as a side project while I was working on explaining the value of solar and its potential role in addressing conflicts between utilities and customers over distributed renewable energy like solar. I’ve received several updates since it was originally published, so here’s the updated map. For some context on the contention… Continue reading

bill-to-boost-broadband-in-minnesota-struggles-in-legislature
Article, ILSR Press Room, Resource filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Mar 19, 2014

Minnesota Local Governments Advance Super Fast Internet Networks

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/minnesota-local-governments-advance-super-fast-internet-networks/

As in much of rural America, communities in Greater Minnesota struggle with connectivity. Some areas have no choice at all, forced to rely on dial-up or slow DSL. Others have an incumbent cable provider. A few local community leaders in Minnesota, conscious of the need for broadband to save public dollars, encourage economic development, and… Continue reading

zerowastesandiego
Article, Resource filed under Waste to Wealth, Zero Waste & Economic Development | Written by Neil Seldman | No Comments | Updated on Mar 11, 2014

It’s Not Just San Francisco Anymore! A Report on San Diego’s First Zero Waste Conference

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/its-san-francisco-anymore/

Neil Seldman summarizes presentations from the first San Diego County Zero Waste Conference that was held under the sponsorship of Zero Waste San Diego (ZWSD) and the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA). Continue reading