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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 20, 2011

One Year of Energy Self-Reliant States: Greatest Hits

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/one-year-energy-self-reliant-states-greatest-hits/

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Oct 20, 2011

One Year of Energy Self-Reliant States: Reports

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/one-year-energy-self-reliant-states-reports/

Happy Birthday!Over the last year, we’ve published a number of reports that coalesce the analysis you see here into hard-hitting examinations of North American energy policy, always looking for the tools to best increase energy self-reliance.  Here are the big ones:

 

 

Energy Self-Reliant States, 2nd Edition

This is the report that launched it all, an atlas to each state’s potential for maximizing renewable energy generation within its borders.  The executive summary has been viewed over 23,000 times, and the report was featured in the New York Times Green Inc blog.  The title map alone drew over 2,000 views on CleanTechnica earlier this year. 

…download the report…

 

Maximizing Jobs From Clean Energy: Ontario’s ‘Buy Local’ Policy

Released in January, this report examined Ontario’s feed-in tariff program for financing renewable energy and its remarkable requirement that participating wind, solar, and other projects be largely “made in Ontario.”  It made few friends in international trade circles, but provides the most robust connection between clean energy incentives and jobs in the world.  The executive summary has been accessed over 2,500 times and the report has become even more relevant as Ontario’s liberal party – responsible for the policy – narrowly won re-election just last week.

…download the report…

 

Democratizing the Electricity System

This report provides the vision for the transition from a 20th century electricity system dominated by centralized electricity generation and centralized power of utilities to a decentralized, 21st century grid with distributed renewable energy widespread.  Nearly 5,000 people have seen the report, which details the technical and economic value of distributed generation to the electricity system and the barriers and breakthroughs that will transform the grid to clean energy and more local ownership.

…download the report…

 

 

Pricing CLEAN Contracts for Solar PV in the U.S.

Starting with a few maps in a blog post, this short report packs in several data-rich maps explaining the cost of solar power by U.S. state, accounting for differences in solar resource, federal tax incentives, and the modest rate of return offered by CLEAN Contract Programs. 

…download the report…

 

CLEAN v SRECs: Finding the More Cost-Effective Solar Policy

Just recently released, this report provides an in-depth analysis of the cost-effectiveness of two popular solar financing policies, CLEAN Contracts and solar REC markets.  The report finds that the low risk and high transparency of CLEAN Contract Programs can lower the cost of solar by as much as 20 percent.  The report also models the recently introduced New York Solar Jobs legislation, and finds that the 3% solar by 2025 goal would be met more cost-effectively with a CLEAN Contract Program. 

…download the report…

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 20, 2011

Thanks for a great 1st year!

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/thanks-great-1st-year/

Happy Birthday!Energy Self-Reliant States turns 1 year old today, and I wanted to take some space to share how thankful I am for your support of this project.  If you’re reading this, you’re one of over 17,000 unique visitors to the site since we launched on Oct. 20, 2010.

If you like what you read, I encourage you to support this project financially.  We’re mostly grant funded, but it’s a thin time for for-profits and non-profits alike, and I need your help convincing the boss that this is as good as writing 50-page reports.

 

Click And Donate

 

How else can you celebrate 1 year of killer distributed generation analysis? 

Check out the Highlights

Throughout the day I’ll post the highlights of Energy Self-Reliant States Year 1, including:

  1. our big reports
  2. the biggest stories
  3. what folks on the interwebs liked
  4. and a few site stats for the numerically inclined.

Sign Up, Like, or Subscribe

Get a weekly email, show others your love of energy self-reliance or just get the full news feed via RSS.

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Tell Everyone You Know About Us

We tweet our own horn, but it’s recommendations from you that have made this site a hit.  Let everyone know that this is the place for great charts and a strong commitment to energy self-reliant energy policy.

 

Thank you!

-John Farrell

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 19, 2011

Sun Power Minnesota

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

This is a presentation given to the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society in October 2011.  With costs dropping rapidly and value rising, solar can make enormous contributions to Minnesota’s electricity system and economy.  That’s the spirit of this presentation ILSR Senior Researcher John Farrell gave last week to the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society on the potential… Continue reading

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Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 18, 2011

More Cost-Effective Solar from CLEAN Contracts than Solar REC Markets

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/more-cost-effective-solar-clean-contracts-solar-rec-markets/

The low risk and transparency of CLEAN Contract Programs can provide states with more solar at a lower cost than solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) programs, says a new report released last week.  Produced by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), CLEAN v. SREC: Finding the More Cost-Effective Solar Policy finds that an otherwise identical… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Oct 17, 2011

The Challenge of Reconciling a Centralized v. Decentralized Electricity System

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/challenge-reconciling-centralized-v-decentralized-electricity-system/

As Americans transition their electricity system to the 21st century, they should ask this question.  Does it make sense to pursue strategies such as accelerating the development of new high-voltage power lines that reinforce an outdated paradigm of electricity delivery, or should scarce energy dollars be spent to add new clean, local energy to the… Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 13, 2011

CLEAN v SRECs: Finding the More Cost-Effective Solar Policy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/clean-v-srecs-finding-more-cost-effective-solar-policy/

In choosing policies to finance solar power, U.S. states have chosen between two major options: solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) and CLEAN Contracts. But few legislatures have been armed with data on the cost-effectiveness of these strategies. The result is a mix of state and local policies with varying levels of efficacy. Neither program has… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 12, 2011

Utility Fights Dirty in City’s Battle for Clean Local Energy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/utility-fights-dirty-citys-battle-clean-local-energy/

Banner from Boulder's Clean Local Power campaignIn just three weeks, citizens of Boulder, CO, will vote on whether to begin a big, formal process to unplug from Xcel Energy’s system and plug into local energy self-reliance.  The vote to form a municipal electric utility could set a precedent for communities across the United States to keep millions of dollars local instead of sending them to remote electric utilities each year. 

The vote on ballot measures 2B and 2C is the culmination of a multi-year struggle by the city of Boulder meet the Kyoto greenhouse gas emission targets by getting less coal power and more renewable energy from its investor-owned utility. 

At every turn, the utility has stalled local efforts.  

When the city first considered municipalization, Xcel offered to finance and build a local smart grid but has since been allowed by the state’s public utility commission to charge Coloradans for significant cost overruns.  When the city asked Xcel to bring in more clean energy, the utility offered to build a new wind plant and import its power from across the state only if Boulder citizens agreed to pay more when the wind blew and pay when it didn’t, too.  Despite the ill nature of the offer, the city offered to put it on the ballot along with a vote to municipalize, but Xcel refused, demanding that the city also offer citizens a separate “status quo” measure.

In contrast, a Boulder-owned utility offers enormous clean energy and economic opportunity without having to beg a big, private company.  The city could increase renewable energy production by 40% from multiple, local sources without increasing rates, according to a citizen-led peer reviewed study.  The economic value of local energy ownership would multiply within the city’s economy to as much as $350 million a year, according to research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  

But with $100 million a year in revenues from Boulder ratepayers on the line, Xcel’s fight is getting as dirty as its nearby Cherokee coal plant.  Xcel has dumped over $450,000 into a vote no campaign, 10 times the expenditures of the grassroots groups supporting the municipalization ballot measure.  The utility’s front group has flogged a web advertisement that falsely asserts that electricity will be unreliable if the city has control, even though 1 in 7 Americans gets their (reliable) electricity from municipal utilities.   Xcel has posted job notices on light poles offering residents up to $12 an hour to work as “grassroots” utility flaks.  And in a purely spiteful move, Xcel also succeeded in banning Boulder resident Leslie Glustrom from participating at the Public Utilities Commission, where she had asked tough questions about Xcel’s new coal power plants and proposed rate increases.

Locals are fighting back.  Citizens for Boulder’s Clean Energy Future has organized a crack team of technical and financial experts to model the impact of the municipal utility and is pounding the pavement to counter Xcel’s campaign of misinformation.  The coalition has received endorsements from dozens of local elected officials and businesses, two local newspapers, and nearly one thousand residents.   Even President Obama’s former green jobs advisor Van Jones starred in a video endorsing Boulder’s effort for local energy self-reliance.

The battle for local control isn’t just in Boulder.  Recently a number of Massachusetts towns have pursued municipal electric plants when the private electric company took too long to restore power after Hurricane Irene.  And in nearby Longmont, CO, citizens may vote to use their existing fiber optic network to provide better internet broadband services (if citizens can overcome the $250,000 being spent by private providers CenturyLink and Comcast).

The stakes are high.  Buying electricity from Xcel sends $100 million out of the Boulder economy each year, and helps perpetuate a centrally-controlled grid reliant on coal-fired power (and often hostile to wind power).  Ratepayers across America may not have the chance to weigh in on Boulder’s vote this November, but they should watch intently (and donate if they like), because Boulder citizens may be firing the first “shot heard round the world” for local control of their clean energy future.

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Article filed under Composting, Waste to Wealth | Written by ILSR Admin | No Comments | Updated on Oct 6, 2011

Food Scraps Composting Training at Rodale Institute

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/food-scraps-composting-training-at-rodale-institute-3/

ILSR and Rodale Institute joined forces to provide a one-day training program for existing and potential compost practitioners and policy makers. The program included both classroom sessions and field tours presenting issues related to food scraps generation, hauling, and composting practices to inform participants about all aspects of starting and running a successful food composting operation. Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under The Public Good, The Public Good News | Written by David Morris | 2 Comments | Updated on Oct 6, 2011

It’s Labor vs. Capital, Stupid

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/its-labor-vs-capital-stupid/

A few months ago Nassim Taleb, author of the Black Swan, an influential book about the crucial importance of unpredictable, unforeseen events on our financial system was asked whether the hundreds of thousands taking to the streets in Greece was a Black Swan event. He replied, “No. The real Black Swan event is that people… Continue reading