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walmart sprawl photo
Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on May 9, 2014

Walmart is the Last Place Obama Should be Making a Clean Energy Speech

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

A recent study has documented, for the first time, how the big-box retailing revolution led by Walmart and other big chains has dramatically increased the amount of energy we’re using to schlep consumer goods across the country and into our homes. Continue reading

solar panels palo alto - flickr user bike
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 1, 2014

One City Utility is Carbon Neutral, Today – Episode 21 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/city-utility-carbon-neutral-today-episode-21-local-energy-rules/

It’s one thing to own your utility and have a commitment to renewable energy, but it’s another thing to deliver. The municipal utility in Palo Alto, CA, set an ambitious target of 33% renewable energy by 2015 and to ultimately deliver a carbon neutral electricity supply. They will reach 48% renewable power in 2017 and… 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

the infamous duck chart electricity demand with solar California
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Mar 25, 2014

Solar Supporters: It’s Open Season on the Utilities’ Duck

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

The rapid changes to the electricity system being wrought by distributed solar have utilities crying out, and they’ve poured much of their distributed solar angst into a chart being shared throughout the energy nerdocracy – the duck. The Duck Chart, Showing Net Supply/Demand on the California Grid in 2012-13, Forecast through 2020 Until 2012, daily energy… Continue reading

KIUC lineman and truck
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 21, 2014

A Perfect Storm for Renewables – Episode 18 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/perfect-storm-renewables-episode-18-local-energy-rules/

“We have a perfect storm for renewables,” says Jan TenBruggencate, second-term board member of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. The Hawaiian utility, made local when the investor-owned utility left the business a decade ago, is surging toward 40% renewable energy in the next year, with a third of that total from customer-generated solar. Half its… Continue reading

state policy battlegrounds over net metering and distributed generation 2014-0321
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 19, 2014

Distributed Renewable Energy Under Fire

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

I developed this map as a side project while I was working on explaining the value of solar and its potential role in addressing conflicts between utilities and customers over distributed renewable energy like solar. I’ve received several updates since it was originally published, so here’s the updated map. For some context on the contention… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 7 Comments | Updated on Mar 13, 2014

Could Minnesota’s “Value of Solar” Make Everyone a Winner?

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

On Wednesday, Minnesota became the first state to allow utilities a new method of contracting with distributed solar producers, called the market-based “value of solar.” If adopted by utilities, it will fundamentally change the relationship between solar-producing customers and their electric utility. Following Minnesota’s Value of Solar Process? Here are a few resources: Part 1… 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

jff and thom hartmann
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 24, 2014

John Farrell Talks Energy Decentralization on Thom Hartmann’s Big Picture

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/john-farrell-talks-energy-decentralization-thom-hartmanns-big-picture/

What is energy decentralization, who’s doing it, and why does it matter? John Farrell, Director of Democratic Energy, answers these questions in an interview segment with Thom Hartmann on his Big Picture program on February 18, 2014. Skip to 30:06 to see John’s interview.   Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 20, 2014

Millions of People Investing in Solar – Episode 16 of Local Energy Rules

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/millions-people-investing-solar-episode-16-local-energy-rules/

For years, the only effective way to go solar was to have tens of thousands of dollars and a sunny roof.  Investing in solar was nearly impossible.  But a couple years ago, a new notion called crowdfunding got its start, and California-Based Mosaic was on the forefront.  Its crowdfunding program allows people to pool their… Continue reading