Residential solar PV in Los Angeles is getting a huge boost from a new community solar buying group. With typical residential installation costs for crystalline solar PV, residents would see a 20-year payback on a solar PV installation or a minimal 2% IRR on a 25-year investment (without factoring an inverter replacement). But what about… Continue reading
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A new study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reinforces the findings of a 2009 report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The ILSR report, Energy Self-Reliant States, concluded that all 50 states could generate at least 25 percent of their electricity needs from in-state renewable energy while 31 could generate over 100 percent. Continue reading
In the last 12 months a new and very promising strategy for local energy self-reliance has emerged, and it spreading like a prairie fire: direct public financing of energy efficiency and renewable energy investments by private businesses and households. ILSR has been closely tracking these developments and has brought together information about individual programs and the laws and ordinances that have enabled them (view our Map and see the various Municipal Energy Financing rules).
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
On May 4th, 2009, Governors from 10 East Coast states sent a sign-on letter opposing the current House & Senate bills to expedite transmission line planning and siting. The states that signed onwere Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. Theletter argued against a greater federal subsidy for long-distance transmission, stating that the focus should be on more local renewable generation, such as off-shore wind along the East Coast.
In a nutshell: On paper, California could meet its targets, provided it can afford and build $12 billion in new transmission lines and higher electricity costs. In reality, the state probably won’t make the target, concludes the California Public Utilities Commission in its latest analysis of the state’s clean-energy quest…
A 10-min video on Germany’s rewarding feed-in tariff renewable energy program Continue reading
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
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.