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Minneapolis clean energy partnership signed
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 21, 2014

A 2-Year City Workplan for Energy Democracy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/proposed-2-year-strategy-energy-democracy-minneapolis/

The first-in-the-nation city-utility partnership has been framed in Minneapolis, but can the city and its utilities really deliver substantive movement toward an equitable energy economy in the next two years? It all depends on the workplan, and the grassroots team at Minneapolis Energy Options has delivered. (Disclosure: I serve on the board of Community Power… Continue reading

Credit: Matthew Paulson
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 17, 2014

The History and Hope for a First-in-the-Nation City-Utility Clean Energy Partnership

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/history-hope-first-in-the-nation-city-utility-clean-energy-partnership/

In the past month, the city of Minneapolis and its two investor-owned utilities adopted the nation’s first clean energy partnership, with a wide range of goals including meeting the city’s ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. How did it happen and what can it accomplish? The following 8-minute video from one of the “lead rabble… Continue reading

solar pv close up
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 28, 2014

Five Reasons Solar’s Win Over Gas in Minnesota is Just the Beginning

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

Solar advocates were popping corks when a New Year’s Eve ruling by an administrative law judge in Minnesota said that distributed solar arrays were a more cost-effective resource than natural gas to meet Xcel Energy’s peak power needs. The energy media were aflutter for weeks, but many missed the bigger significance. If solar trumps gas… Continue reading

Credit: Roadsidepictures
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Jan 30, 2014

Natural Gas isn’t a Bridge Fuel, it’s a Gateway Drug

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/natural-gas-bridge-fuel-gateway-drug/

In his State of the Union, President Obama added to the conventional wisdom that supplanting coal with natural gas will act as a bridge toward a climate solution. Unfortunately, gas is more of a gateway drug than a bridge to a clean energy future. 1) It’s still a major greenhouse gas.  Sure, natural gas is… Continue reading

Winter solar panels Minnesota
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 31, 2013

Sticking Points on Value of Solar – Pt. 3 of Minnesota’s Process

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/sticking-points-solar-pt-3-minnesotas-process/

Round 3 of Minnesota’s stakeholder process on the value of solar power (10/15/13) focused on the remaining unresolved tensions between stakeholders, and it started with a reminder of the charge, with quotes from the enabling law. A utility may apply to the Public Utilities Commission for a value of solar tariff that compensates customers through… Continue reading

two-faced xcel
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 24, 2013

Monopoly Utility (n): see “two-faced”

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

Two weeks ago, I listened – incredulously – to Minnesota’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, suggest that solar energy offers its ratepayers no value as an environmental hedge against carbon emissions or as a price hedge against natural gas fuel price fluctuations. But just three days later, Xcel was singing a different tune [docket pdf] to… Continue reading

baseload must go video screengrab
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 2 Comments | Updated on Oct 16, 2013

Why Coal and Nuclear (Baseload) Are Not Compatible with a Renewable Future

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/coal-nuclear-baseload-compatible-renewable-future/

A terrific video explains why utility investments in “baseload” coal and nuclear power plants are acting against increasing renewable energy.  Credit to EnergyShouldBe, a website created by one of the technical analysts helping Boulder, CO, pursue a more local, renewable energy system. My one caveat is that flexibility of a utility system varies by utility. … Continue reading

1963969466_15a94fe95d
Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 25, 2013

‘Watershed’ Climate and Energy Agreement Between CenterPoint Energy and City of Minneapolis

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

Minneapolis MN (July 25, 2013) – In a groundbreaking agreement announced yesterday, the gas utility serving Minneapolis – CenterPoint Energy – will work with the city of Minneapolis to achieve a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.  The agreement, negotiated with the grassroots campaign Minneapolis Energy Options, secures the support of the gas… Continue reading

Xcel Energy should use solar for peak power
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 5 Comments | Updated on Apr 17, 2013

New Peak Power Capacity Should Use Solar, Not Gas

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

It’s parochial, since I’m a Minnesota resident, but I just can’t stand that our state’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, is planning to use ratepayer money to buy three new natural gas fired peaking plants instead of a) installing solar power or b) supporting the proposed solar energy standard.  Share the graphic below if you agree:… 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