John Farrell is a co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs the Energy Democracy Initiative. Widely known as the guru of distributed energy, he has received accolades for his vivid illustrations of the economic and environmental benefits of local ownership of decentralized renewable energy. He hosts the Local Energy Rules podcast, discussing monopoly power, energy democracy, and how communities can take charge to transform the energy system. He frequently discusses the ownership and scale of the energy system on Twitter, @johnffarrell.

John authored Energy Self-Reliant States, a state-by-state atlas of renewable energy potential highlighted in the New York Times, showing that most states don’t need to look outside their borders to meet their electricity needs. He’s also written extensively on the economic advantages of Democratizing the Electricity System and community renewable energy, published a rich interactive map on solar grid parity, and polished the policies (like Minnesota’s solar energy standard) necessary to support locally owned renewable energy development.

John provides data-rich presentations on local renewable energy for the common citizen, and has wowed crowds from Presque Isle, Maine to San Francisco to Berlin. He’s keynoted conferences like Solar Energy Focus in Washington, DC, and the Midwest Energy Fair.

John’s work appears most regularly on ILSR’s website. His posts (and those of his colleagues) are frequently enriched by charts, translating the complex economics of energy into tools for advancing local energy ownership.

Reach John on Twitter @johnffarrell or by email at

Media Clips

John’s expertise is sought after in energy circles all over the United States. He is an engaging and lively interviewee and provides rich content at conferences and in webinars. Check him out in action in the clips below!