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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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Barriers to Distributed Renewable Energy web.010
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Oct 9, 2012

Barriers to Distributed Renewable Energy

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

A presentation by ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell to a Disaster Law class at William Mitchell Law School on 9/17/12.  It examines the five major barriers to the expansion of community-based and conventional distributed renewable energy, including the tradition of utility control, raising capital, cash flow, legal, and utilities themselves.  View the presentation below:   Barriers… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 8, 2012

Moving Time!

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

If you’re wondering why there’ less content on Energy Self-Reliant States lately, it’s because our Minneapolis office is moving for the first time in 20 years. Here’s a few photos from our moving preparations. The Minneapolis office “technology history room” with over a decade of old Apple laptops (since recycled): Piles of boxes waiting to… Continue reading

screengrab susan osborne presentation
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Oct 1, 2012

Boulder Mayor Tells Minneapolis How They Sought Clean Energy Options

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

Now’s your chance to hear how Boulder finally came to municipalization of its electric system after many futile years of trying to work with Xcel Energy to get more clean, local power. I traveled to Boulder in April 2011 to talk with their city council and grassroots groups about their struggles (video), and the citizens… Continue reading

happy birthday DM
Article filed under The Public Good, The Public Good News | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Sep 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, David Morris!

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/happy-birthday-david-morris/

The fearless leader of our Minneapolis “New Rules Project” celebrates another great year today!  If you want to get in the spirit, check out his recently released Thoughtful Voters Guide to Same-Sex Marriage (available as a free ebook), his oldest online publication (from 1974) – Kilowatt Counter – A Consumers Guide to Energy Concepts, Quantities,… Continue reading

Minneapolis at an energy crossroads
Featured Article filed under Energy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 20, 2012

John Farrell Presents on Local Energy Options for Minneapolis

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

What happens when a city’s franchise contracts with its incumbent electric and gas utilities expires?  A once-in-20-year opportunity to consider how its energy can be cleaner, more affordable, more reliable, and more local.  ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell presents to Environment Minnesota’s Green Ideas and Ham policy breakfast, discussing the implications of an expiring franchise… Continue reading

German v US residential PV costs
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 5 Comments | Updated on Sep 20, 2012

Why Are Residential PV Prices in Germany So Much Lower Than in the United States?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/residential-pv-prices-germany-united-states/

Earlier this week, Lawrence Berkeley Labs released a marvelous comparison of residential PV costs in Germany and the United States, finally putting some detail to an enormous gulf in costs (nearly $3.00 per Watt).  The following chart (from page 35 of the presentation) shows the cost difference broken down into 9 categories, with ILSR’s addition… Continue reading

Wind turbine
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Sep 11, 2012

Taller Wind Turbines Boost State Energy Self-Reliance

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/taller-wind-turbines-boost-state-energy-self-reliance/

A story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today highlights the increasingly common use of 100 meter wind turbines for new wind power projects, up from the previous 80 meter standard.  The technological change grabs more wind energy, with consistently higher wind speeds at higher altitudes, meaning states can get even more power from a similar… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 13 Comments | Updated on Sep 7, 2012

Minnesota’s First Community Solar Project is Minnesota-Made

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/minnesotas-community-solar-project-minnesota-made/

Update 12/20/12: This project includes battery storage. Just last month, the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association, serving communities just north and west of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, announced Minnesota’s first community solar project.  The 40 kW solar array will be located at the cooperative’s headquarters, with members allowed to purchase individual panels in the project… Continue reading

Complicated rubber band ball
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Aug 27, 2012

Forthcoming Project in Washington State Illustrates Complexity of Community Solar

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/forthcoming-project-washington-state-illustrates-complexity-community-solar/

Colorado just launched their long-awaited community solar gardens law (program subscribed in 30 minutes) and California is progressing on a virtual net metering law that could remove one of many roadblocks to community solar.  But the Vashon Community Solar Project in Washington State shows that doing solar community-style hasn’t become easy. The Vashon project will… Continue reading

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Aug 23, 2012

California County’s PACE Program Could Get Feisty with FHFA

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/california-countys-pace-program-feisty-fhfa/

Does a Riverside County, CA, residential energy financing program put thousands of homeowners on a collision course with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)? In a proposed rule-making, the FHFA has suggested that Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) policies represent a threat to the safety and soundness of mortgages held by government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie… Continue reading