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Illinois Renewable Energy Fair
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 27, 2014

The Power of Local Renewable Energy (Presentation)

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

Tailored to Illinois, but explaining the universal benefits of local renewable energy, this presentation was delivered by Director of Democratic Energy John Farrell at the Illinois Renewable Energy Fair on August 24, 2014. The presentation explores the enormous potential of clean, local energy to meet U.S. electricity needs and juice local economies. But what happens… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Aug 18, 2014

Why Aren’t Rural Electric Cooperatives Champions of Local Clean Power?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rural-electric-cooperatives-champions-local-clean-power/

When it comes to ownership, there are few better structures for keeping a community’s wealth local than a cooperative. So why is it that America’s rural electric cooperatives are tethered to dirty, old coal-fired power plants instead of local-wealth generating renewable power? There are a lot of answers to this question, but it might start… Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 13, 2014

A Solar Ownership Comeback? John Farrell Talks with Arnie Arnesen on WNHN

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/solar-ownership-comeback-john-farrell-talks-arnie-arnesen-wnhn/

A month ago I wrote about the potential for a comeback for solar ownership (instead of leasing) as the economics and options for ownership continue to improve. Yesterday I discussed this trend in depth on “The Attitude” with Arnie Arnesen on WNHN. Subscribe to the podcast here, or listen by clicking the player below:   Continue reading

solar garden - flickr  Kevin Krejci
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 11, 2014

A Few Weeds in Minnesota Decision to Allow Community Solar Gardens to Grow

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

Late last week, Minnesota regulators made a decision that may finally allow community solar projects to move forward (for Xcel Energy customers) in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. However, the Public Utilities Commission decision also highlighted the shortcomings of the legislature’s distributed solar policy adopted in 2013. What was missing? Minnesota’s increasingly well-known “value of… Continue reading

courtroom - flickr  Clyde Robinson
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 7, 2014

Can PUCs Lead on Distributed Renewable Energy?

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

If you’re like most renewable energy advocates that have interacted with a Public Utilities Commission, you probably don’t think they’re a repository of progressive policy toward distributed renewable energy.  In general, you’re right. But it’s worth sharing a few, promising examples of Public Utilities Commissions around the U.S. that are actually making things better for… Continue reading

solar school check - blackrocksolar flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Aug 1, 2014

With Liberty and Solar for All

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

For over 100 years, the American economy has been fueled by enormous expansion of fossil fuel energy. It has emitted a disproportionate share of its environmental impact (too much) and economic rewards (too few) on those less fortunate. More than any 21st century energy source, solar can power an equitable and environmentally sound energy future. … Continue reading

tractor and wind turbines - flickr  Alexander Boden
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Jul 25, 2014

A $6 Billion Opportunity for the Rural Energy Economy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/6-billion-opportunity-rural-energy-economy/

One of the biggest barriers to making investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy is the upfront cost. So what if members of rural electric cooperative and rural municipal electric utilities could borrow money for small-scale improvements on the same terms as the utilities for their large-scale power plants? Starting in 2014, they can. The… Continue reading

big boot stomping small person - flickr kennysarmy
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 15, 2014

California’s Reserve Fund Won’t Lift the FHFA Boot From PACE’s Neck

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/californias-pace-program-solve-fanniefreddie-problem/

Earlier this year, the state of California announced a $10 million loan-loss reserve to solve the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s severe restrictions on using property-tax based financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy on residential property. It’s a great concept, but evidence from on of California’s best property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs suggests the reserve… Continue reading

third party ownership solar california.001
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Jul 10, 2014

Is Solar Ownership Poised for a Comeback?

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

With “no money down” and “zero maintenance” to attract homeowners, solar leasing has become the overwhelming favorite for residential solar installations. And with the complexity of tax incentives, rebates, and financing, it’s hard to find fault with homeowners that choose this low-effort option. But giving up ownership means giving up a big share of the… Continue reading

solar and flag - flickr Deval Patrick
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 2, 2014

Celebrate Independence with 3 Steps Toward Energy Self-Reliance

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/celebrate-independence-3-steps-energy-self-reliance/

Being from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, I’m often asked, “You want everyone off-grid and independent with their own solar array and a battery, right?” In a word, no. But our mission of economic and energy self-reliance has several similarities to the kind of (economic) independence being sought by England’s American colonists in the 1770s and… Continue reading