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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

Winter solar panels Minnesota
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 8, 2013

Debating the Value of Solar – Pt. 2 of Minnesota’s Process

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/debating-solar-pt-2-minnesotas-process/

It was an unseasonably sunny day for part two of Minnesota’s value of solar stakeholder process: participation day. The leadoff was the Department of Commerce’s proposed approach to a value of solar methodology.  Shown below, it set some broad principles the Department intends to use in the value of solar formula it develops:    … Continue reading

City Power Play - cover
Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 7, 2013

New Report: 8 Ways Local Energy Policies Can Boost the Economy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/report-8-ways-local-energy-policies-boost-economy/

Minneapolis, MN (October 7, 2013) – The economy has stalled and so has the war on climate change. But a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance describes how dozens of cities are boosting their local economies while dramatically reducing greenhouse gases. City Power Play:  8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy… Continue reading

City Power Play - cover
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 5 Comments | Updated on Oct 7, 2013

City Power Play: 8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy

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

placeholderThe economy has stalled and so has the war on climate change. But dozens of cities are creating jobs and cleaner energy using their own power.

Download the report

Keeping Energy Dollars Local

  • Chattanooga, TN, is adding over $1 billion to its local economy in the next decade by implementing one of the most advanced smart grids and delivering the fastest internet service in the country with its municipal utility.
  • Sonoma County, CA, has created nearly 800 local jobs retrofitting over 2,000 properties for energy savings with city-based financing.
  • Babylon, NY, has re-purposed a solid waste fund to finance retrofits for 2% of the city’s homes, saving residents an average of $1,300 a year on their energy bills at minimal cost to the city.

Eight Powerful, Practical Policies

This report details eight practical energy policies cities can and have used to their economic advantage: Continue reading

city power play presentation.001
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 7, 2013

12 Slides for 8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/12-slides-8-practical-local-energy-policies-boost-economy/

A vividly visual summary of our newest report, City Power Play: 8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy, this presentation covers eight powerful policies and practices that cities have employed to reduce energy use, save money, and create local jobs, all without waiting for someone else to act. It provides short case studies… Continue reading

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 9.56.18 AM
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Oct 7, 2013

Who’s Your Energy Daddy?

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

This panel asks ‘who’s your energy daddy?’ and for now it remains large, investor-owned utilities, and ostensibly locally-focused rural cooperatives and municipal utilities. But the energy landscape of today gives me uncomfortable reminders of the Athenian tragedy by Sophocles – the Oedipus tale. John Farrell, ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy, gave this panel presentation at the 23rd… Continue reading

Winter solar panels Minnesota
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Sep 27, 2013

Setting the Value of Solar – Part 1 of Minnesota’s Process

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/setting-solar-part-1-minnesotas-process/

What is solar worth to a utility? It’s an issue of national debate, but one unexpected state – Minnesota – is engaging a formal process for determining the methodology for setting the value of solar. As the first multi-utility process, it’s likely to set a precedent nationwide for what the “value of solar” will mean… Continue reading

6899784256_e6a5b7eb0d
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 27, 2013

Essential Elements in the Value of Solar

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

Comments to the Minnesota Division of Energy Resources Re: Value of Solar Stakeholder Process From: Institute for Local Self-Reliance    John Farrell, Director of Democratic Energy Date: September 20, 2013 Background The value of solar component of the state’s new solar energy standard must be considered in the context of the state’s energy goals, expressed… Continue reading

solar gas infographic xcel
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 16, 2013

Utility Agrees: (Their) Solar Should Supplant Natural Gas

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/utility-agrees-their-solar-supplant-natural-gas/

Five months ago, one of the country’s ten largest electric utilities told regulators in Minnesota that it needed three new natural gas power plants to handle peak energy demand.  This week, the same company’s Colorado division announced plans to use more solar power because it is cost competitive with gas. Maybe they need a memo… Continue reading