Mayor Manny Diaz recently unveiled an ambitious, $200 million "Energy Smart Miami" smart grid project developed in partnership with General Electric, Cisco Systems, Florida Power & Light and Silver Spring Networks to ultimately deploy smart meters on every home and most businesses in Miami-Dade County. In addition to smart meters, the project aims to install solar power systems on several schools and universities, add 300 plug-in hybrid vehicles to the city’s fleet, and bring a series of new technologies like home energy use dashboards, smart appliances and smart-meter thermostats to pilot programs in 1,000 city homes. Continue reading
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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
In 2009 a vigorous debate is taking place about the best way to reduce carbon emissions. There are two leading proposals: a carbon cap and emissions auction with revenue returned to Americans as a dividend, and a carbon tax with revenue returned to Americans in the form of lower taxes or a dividend. In the mid 1990s Minnesota debated a carbon tax and dividend bill designed by ILSR. Several studies were done about the impact on various sectors of such a policy. 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?
The PUC has an approval process that stacks the deck against the public.
A few days ago the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a massive high voltage transmission project (known as CapX) that will cost Minnesotans an amount equal to the projected biennium state budget deficit and four times the total bill to taxpayers for the Gopher and Twins stadiums.
This recent article by the Manager of EPRI published on EnergyCentral.com discusses how conventional photovoltaic (PV) applications can act as distributed resources when the sun is shining — rather than solely as a reduction in load. They also can help diversify supply portfolios and meet other goals. The most basic scenario is for utilities to aggregate grid-connected PV installations owned by others and to treat them as demand-side resources.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and the North American Water Office (NAWO) find today’s decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve nearly $2 billion in ratepayer money for 650 miles of new high voltage transmission lines (known as CapX) to be willfully shortsighted. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s decision represents a slap in the face to Minnesota ratepayers and deals another setback for building a homegrown, decentralized energy future.
There’s a renewable energy policy with a record of incredible success, so why aren’t we using it in America? Our April 2009 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.
American renewable energy policy consists of a byzantine mix of tax incentives, rebates, state mandates, and utility programs. The complexity of the system results in more difficult and costly renewable electricity generation, and hampers the ability of states and communities to maximize the benefits of their renewable energy resources.
Upcoming Event in Minneapolis!
A talk by David Morris at 7PM on Sunday, April 26. Join ILSR and the DFL Education Foundation in a discussion of the challenges to environmental and renewable energy policy in an economic crisis.
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