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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Dec 12, 2014

“$364 billion up for grabs” – A Video preview of Energy Democracy

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

2014 marked the year that solar energy, energy storage and electric vehicles – hallmarks of a decentralized electricity grid – got big enough to threaten the electric utilities, exposing their 100-year-old business model as out-of-date. In nearly 20 states, utilities are fighting back, proposing new fees and rules to minimize the competition from customer generated… Continue reading

Featured Article, Resource filed under General | Written by ILSR Admin | No Comments | Updated on Dec 10, 2014

Building Community, Strengthening Economies: ILSR’s 2014 Annual Report

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/annual-report-2014/

ILSR was founded 40 years ago out of a conviction that solving even our most complex problems begins with people exercising collective authority at the local level.  Since then, we have been at the forefront of helping communities take charge of their local resources and build an equitable, environmentally viable, and democratic future. This year,… Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Dec 9, 2014

New Report: Beyond Utility 2.0 to Energy Democracy

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

Exciting changes are on the horizon for our century-old utility structure as solar power, energy storage, and electric vehicles open new avenues for utility customers to produce their own power and control their energy use. Utilities are scrambling to remain relevant in this technological firestorm, and energy wonks are envisioning a new business model –… Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | 1 Comment | Updated on Nov 20, 2014

New Report: Walmart’s Dirty Energy Secret

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

Walmart talks a lot of talk about its renewable energy initiatives, but a new ILSR report finds that all that hype is just slick greenwashing hiding the company’s massive coal consumption. In this first-of-its-kind analysis, ILSR calculated that Walmart is one of the nation’s largest users of coal-fired electricity. Despite pledging nearly a decade ago to shift to 100 percent renewable energy, Walmart today derives only 3 percent of its U.S. electricity from its renewable energy projects — far less than many small businesses and competing chains. Several national environmental leaders — including Michael Brune of Sierra Club, Bill McKibben of 350.org, and Jeremy Hays of Green For All — joined ILSR in releasing the study and calling for change. Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by ILSR Admin | No Comments | Updated on Oct 20, 2014

Report: North Dakota’s Pharmacy Ownership Law Leads to Better Pharmacy Care

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/report-pharmacy-ownership-law/

What a difference local ownership makes. Under a forward-thinking 1963 law, North Dakota does not allow chains to operate pharmacies. Instead of Walgreens and Walmart pharmacies, North Dakotans go to 171 independent and locally owned pharmacies across the state for their prescriptions. That may soon change though: Walmart is bankrolling — to the tune of $2.7 million — a campaign to pass a ballot measure on November 4th that would overturn the law. That’s more per person that Obama spent in the 2012 general election. Weighing into the debate, ILSR this week released a data-driven study that finds that North Dakotans receive significantly better pharmacy care by every measure, from some of the lowest drug prices in the nation to unparalleled access, particularly in rural areas. Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Broadband | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Oct 13, 2014

Correcting Community Fiber Fallacies: The Reality of Lafayette’s Gigabit Network

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

In just the last year the Lafayette Utility System (LUS) gigabit network has attracted 1300 high-tech jobs. Chairman Wheeler praises the network for doing what many communities hope to do, but cannot because of state laws limiting municipal broadband networks. Critics are desperate to discredit the network, using false statements and misinformation. The Reason Foundation released a paper by… Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States, Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 9, 2014

Walton Family Undermining Rooftop Solar, ILSR Report Finds

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

The Walton family — majority owners of Walmart — are impeding America’s transition to a clean energy future, a new study by ILSR finds. At a time when more than 500,000 households and businesses are generating their own solar electricity, and the U.S. solar industry is employing 143,000 people, the Waltons are funding nearly two dozen organizations working to roll back renewable energy policies, while a Walton-owned company is pushing for regulations aimed at hindering the growth of rooftop solar power. Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Oct 6, 2014

REPORT: An Alternative Grid Model for Minneapolis

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

This short report shares the results of advanced electricity system modeling for the city of Minneapolis, revealing an opportunity to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a comparable cost of power and to dramatically boost renewable energy production at a modestly higher price. Download the report Executive Summary An advanced technical and economic model of… Continue reading

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Featured filed under Broadband | Written by Christopher | No Comments | Updated on Sep 30, 2014

All Hands On Deck: Minnesota Local Government Models for Expanding Fiber Internet Access

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/all-hands-on-deck-mn/

Minneapolis, MN —In 2010 the Minnesota legislature set a goal: universal access to high speed broadband throughout the state by 2015. As 2015 approaches we know that large parts of Greater Minnesota will not achieve that goal, even as technological advances make the original benchmarks increasingly obsolete. But some Minnesota communities are significantly exceeding those… Continue reading

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Article, ILSR Press Room, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Sep 24, 2014

REPORT: Advantage Local – Why Local Energy Ownership Matters

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

Solar and wind projects can mean big bucks for communities – but only if they keep them local! Why does ownership of renewable energy matter? Because the number of jobs and economic returns for communities are substantially higher when electricity generation from wind and sun can be captured by local hands. Read Full Advantage Local… Continue reading

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Resource filed under Composting, Waste to Wealth | Written by Brenda Platt | No Comments | Updated on Jul 14, 2014

Growing Local Fertility: A Guide to Community Composting

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/size-matters-report-shows-small-scale-community-based-composting/

ILSR’s July 2014 report, Growing Local Fertility: A Guide to Community Composting, describes successful initiatives, their benefits, tips for replication, key start-up steps, and the need for private, public, and nonprofit sector support. Produced in collaboration with the Highfields Center for Composting in Hardwick, Vermont, Growing Local Fertility profiles 31 model programs in 14 states… Continue reading

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Resource filed under Composting, Waste to Wealth | Written by Brenda Platt | No Comments | Updated on Jul 14, 2014

State of Composting in the US: What, Why, Where & How

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/state-composting-us-what-why/

State of Composting in the U.S., published in July 2014, is the first comprehensive review of composting basics, national and state statistics, job generation data, model programs, and policy opportunities. The report calls for a national soils strategy and for new rules and programs to grow composting, especially at the local community level: streamlined permitting… Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 16 Comments | Updated on Apr 9, 2014

Minnesota’s Value of Solar

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

In March 2014, Minnesota became the first state to adopt a “value of solar” policy. It may fundamentally change the financial relationship between electric utilities and their energy-producing customers. It may also serve as a precedent for setting a transparent, market-based price for solar energy. This report explains the origins of value of solar, the… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 26, 2014

Energy Storage: The Next Charge for Distributed Energy

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

Update 5/2/14: titles for Fig. 2 and 3 in the report were mistakenly switched and are now corrected.   Energy storage promises to change the electricity system during the next decade, as fundamentally as distributed renewable energy has in the last decade. A new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Energy Storage: The Next… Continue reading

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Article, ILSR Press Room, Resource filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Mar 19, 2014

Minnesota Local Governments Advance Super Fast Internet Networks

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/minnesota-local-governments-advance-super-fast-internet-networks/

As in much of rural America, communities in Greater Minnesota struggle with connectivity. Some areas have no choice at all, forced to rely on dial-up or slow DSL. Others have an incumbent cable provider. A few local community leaders in Minnesota, conscious of the need for broadband to save public dollars, encourage economic development, and… Continue reading