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Featured Article, Report, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 26, 2016

Report: Beyond Sharing – How Communities Can Take Ownership of Renewable Power

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

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Introduction
Benefits of Community Renewable Energy
U.S. Barriers to Community Renewable Energy
Barrier Busting
Exceptional Community Energy Projects
Community as City
A Community Renewable Energy Gold Standard
Conclusion
Appendix
Footnotes

The electric utility monopoly is breaking up, but will renewable energy become another form of wealth extraction or will community renewable energy enable communities to capture their renewable power?

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Download the Executive Summary

Executive Summary

In the past five years, the opportunity for community renewable energy has coalesced around “shared solar,” where participants share the electricity output from a nearby solar array in the form of credits on their electricity bill. Some forecasts suggest that shared solar could supply 5-10 gigawatts of new power capacity in the next 5 years.

Trnsprt Growth in Community Renewable

But shared solar is just a small slice of the community renewable energy opportunity, which could include many other renewable technologies such as wind or geothermal, but also community-owned projects that would allow greater local capture of economic benefits. While shared solar is a model shown to avoid several of the pitfalls typical for community renewable energy, these pitfalls could be bridged to much more broadly expand the economic opportunity.

U.S. Barriers to Community Renewable Energy

Three major barriers still inhibit widespread expansion of community renewable energy, much as they did when ILSR published its community solar report in 2010.

  1. Federal and state securities laws, meant to shield ordinary people from Ponzi schemes and bad investments, are often too onerous for community-scale renewable energy projects.
  2. Federal tax incentives require specific and sufficient tax liability, in ways that often precludes ordinary community investors.
  3. Finally, legal limitations to sharing electricity output from community-based renewable energy projects mean only states with explicit exemptions are likely to see substantial growth in community renewables.

Trnspt 14 State with VNM policies

Busting the Barriers?

Within limits, policy makers have found ways to work around or reduce the barriers to community renewable energy, but their solutions haven’t yet proven widely scalable without significant compromise. Continue reading

Photo: Lost our lease.
Featured Article, Report, Resource filed under Independent Business | Written by Olivia LaVecchia | No Comments | Updated on Apr 20, 2016

New Report: How Rising Commercial Rents Are Threatening Independent Businesses, and What Cities Are Doing About It

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

As the cost of leasing commercial space soars in many U.S. cities, a new report from ILSR examines what’s behind the skyrocketing rents and explores six broad policy strategies that elected officials and community leaders are proposing to keep commercial space appropriate, accessible, and affordable for independent businesses. Continue reading

Minnesota Broadband image TPT Almanac at the Capitol feature image with play arrow
Featured Article, Resource filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Apr 8, 2016

Local Media Covers The MN “Donut Hole” Phenomenon: Video, Editorial

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/42642-2/

As Minnesota’s Legislature decides on funding for the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, local media is calling on state leaders to prioritize local connectivity in the Capitol Chambers. This year, Governor Dayton’s office is recommending allocating $100 million to the program. Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Christopher | No Comments | Updated on Apr 18, 2016

RS Fiber: Fertile Fields for new Rural Internet Cooperative

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/report-mn-rural-fiber/

21ST CENTURY FARMS REQUIRE 21ST CENTURY CONNECTIVITY. Denied Access by telephone and cable companies, they created a new model. Winthrop, MN — A new trend is emerging in rural communities throughout the United States: Fiber-to-the-Farm. Tired of waiting for real Internet access from big companies, farmers are building it themselves. Communities in and around Minnesota’s… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Apr 7, 2016

The Most Substantive Political Debate in Recent History

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/the-most-substantive-political-debate-in-recent-history/

Win or lose, Bernie Sanders has made this Democratic primary the most substantive in my lifetime. Not that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is devoid of ideas. She has some thoughtful ones. But the boldness of Sanders’ proposals is what has driven this historic and instructive debate. The dynamic so far consists of Sanders setting a marker… Continue reading