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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

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

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

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

undermined retaining wall - flickr hilariouslywrong
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 6 Comments | Updated on Jun 13, 2014

California’s AB 2145 Undermines Clean Energy, Local Economies, and Majority Rule

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/californias-ab-2145-undermines-clean-energy-local-economies-majority-rule/

A powerful law in six states gives communities the power to choose their energy suppliers and direct their energy dollars toward local energy production. Two of the most prominent examples of this policy in action are in California, Marin Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power, and they’re offering electric customers better pricing with much more… Continue reading

800px-US_Navy_110803-N-UN340-067_A_view_of_solar_panels_recently_installed_on_the_roof_of_Space_and_Naval_Warfare_Systems_Command_Headquarters,_Old_Town
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 5, 2014

Same Price, More Renewables. San Diego’s Fight for Community Choice – Episode 23 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/price-renewables-san-diegos-fight-community-choice-episode-23-local-energy-rules/

“San Diego and its community choice energy district would be able to offer a diverse energy mix with all of the solar, biodiesel, biogas, and energy storage resources that we have in San Diego.  A product that is price competitive and yet at the same time would strive for and achieve a higher level of… Continue reading

GET_en_2A15_renewables_in_the_hand_of_the_people
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 2, 2014

Citizen Ownership Remains Foundation of German Renewable Energy Explosion

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/citizen-ownership-remains-foundation-german-renewable-energy-explosion/

I’ve been posting updates on local ownership of renewable energy in Germany since early 2011, and it’s abundantly clear that the Germans have yet to back down from their commitment to democratic, locally owned power. The following chart continues the series.  For explanation, click the previous link, but know that traditional electric utilities are contained… Continue reading

sunset over river - satpal singh flickr
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 4 Comments | Updated on May 30, 2014

The Future of Solar Economics and Policy

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

Solar power is at a unique place in history. It’s growing rapidly, its price is falling precipitously. Within the next 10 years, it will compete favorably with utilities for electricity sales, on price, and without subsidies. Given its rapid ascent, it might seem silly to talk about change.  But the continued expansion of distributed solar… Continue reading

rooftop solar hawaii - shell vacations hospitality flickr
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 23, 2014

Why is an Island Electric Utility Hindering Incredibly Cost-Effective Solar?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/island-electric-utility-blocking-incredibly-cost-effective-solar/

The Northern Mariana Islands are one of several island U.S. territories, lying three-quarters of the way from Hawai’i to the Philippines. Like most islands, their electricity supply has been almost entirely supplied by diesel-fueled generators, at enormous cost. So why have islanders in the Marianas – such as the residents of Saipan – been struggling… Continue reading