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About John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. More

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commercial solar grid parity report ILSR 2012 cover page
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 15 Comments | Updated on Dec 4, 2012

Commercial Rooftop Revolution

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

Although only 0.1% of electricity is generated by solar power in 2012; within a decade, 300,000 MW of unsubsidized solar power will be at parity with retail electricity prices in most of the United States and more than 35 million buildings may be generating their own solar electricity sufficient to power almost 10% of the country. Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Nov 27, 2012

Going Local Gives More Value to Solar Power

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

Update: you can now read the whole essay – Wide-scale Implementation of Solar Power I just read an essay by a Canadian utility executive arguing that solar is the most economic energy source, and he systematically dismantles the notion that “cheap baseload coal” is more competitive that solar electricity. First: Solar is Cheaper Than Coal… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 15, 2012

Community-Owned Transmission?

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

The enormous growth in local renewable energy is decentralizing the electricity system, often supplanting energy from centralized power plants.  But not all renewable energy is built locally, even in a country like Germany with massive local ownership of its renewable energy systems.  The Germans are undergoing significant upgrades to their electricity grid as they push… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Nov 14, 2012

Clean Break Inspires Americans to Pursue “Energy Change”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/clean-break-inspires-americans-pursue-energy-change/

Friend and renewable energy journalist Osha Gray Davidson released a book today called Clean Break, detailing the German Energiewende (translation: energy change).  It’s a story of how the Germans systematically shifted to clean energy, finding as they proceeded that the possibilities were greater, the costs lower, and the benefits for ordinary citizens more prodigious than… Continue reading

John Farrell
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Nov 9, 2012

Finding Value in Distributed Generation, Before it Finds You

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/finding-distributed-generation-finds/

ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell is giving this presentation to a collaborative meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the National Association of Regulatory Commissioners (NARUC) this weekend.  It highlights the proven value of distributed solar to utility grid systems and the urgent need for regulators and utilities to incorporate this value into… Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 1, 2012

The Missing Piece in the Clean Local Energy Transformation

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/missing-piece-clean-local-energy-transformation/

A presentation by ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell explores how decentralized biogas production could provide a key piece of the future, renewable electricity system.  Given Oct. 29, 2012, in St. Louis to the Biocycle Annual Conference. The Missing Piece in Clean Local Energy from John Farrell   Continue reading

Rooftop Solar PV installation
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Oct 31, 2012

What Utilities Can Do for Distributed Solar

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

Last week the Minnesota Public Utility Commission had a rare live public comment period on Xcel Energy’s long term planning process (called an Integrated Resource Plan).  At the urging of several fellow clean energy advocates, I gave my 3 minute testimony about the enormous gulf between Xcel’s 10-year plan for solar power and the solar… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 22, 2012

The Incredible Incompetence of Comcast

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

My colleague writes a good-as-any explanation of why we’re not getting quite as much energy work done in the past week as we’d like. What happens when economies of scale are taken to ridiculous proportions? The wretched customer service of Comcast, AT&T, Etc. We recently had to move our Institute for Local Self-Reliance office within… Continue reading

Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 18, 2012

More Clean Energy for Minneapolis

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

Click here for a more detailed article. ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell presents to a big crowd at “Green Ideas and Ham,” a breakfast policy forum in Minneapolis, about the opportunity for the city to dramatically increase its control over its energy future.  In a short time, the city’s monopoly energy contracts with its electric… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 6 Comments | Updated on Oct 10, 2012

Treasury Dept. Fingers Solarcity in Exploration of the Dark Underbelly of Solar Leasing

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/treasury-dept-fingers-solarcity-leasing/

A new government investigation of Solarcity on the eve of its initial public offering (IPO) may explain how solar leasing is fleecing federal taxpayers and making U.S. residential solar more expensive than in other countries. The Treasury Department inspector general is probing solar leasing company SolarCity (and others) for its use of “fair market value”… Continue reading