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About John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power. More

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 17, 2017

Solar: Choice, Competition, and Clean Air

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/choice-competition-and-clean-air/

It’s simple to promote solar power as a money saver and clean alternative to fossil fuel generation. But it sells solar short to focus only on savings, when it also gives Americans the freedom to generate their own energy and to challenge the economic and political power of big corporations. Individual Freedom If individuals want… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 11, 2017

Broadly Sharing the Benefits of “Decarbonization”

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

Last summer I saw a presentation on “deep decarbonization” that outlined necessary changes in the U.S. economy in order to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The presentation was fascinating, offering some very specific elements to focus our attention. For example, the following graphic shows the average number of replacements for various infrastructure types prior to… Continue reading

Article, Rule filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 18, 2016

Virtual Net Metering

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

Net metering is a common distributed renewable energy policy in the United States, allowing individuals to “turn back” their meter (and reduce their electric bill) by generating on-site electricity. But utility accounting systems typically prevent people from sharing the output from a single, common solar or wind project. Virtual (or group or neighborhood) net metering… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 18, 2016

Why Minnesota’s Community Solar Program is the Best

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

Update November 2016: From now on, we’ll keep the most recent data on the program’s development in this post I’ve been asked a lot of questions about Minnesota’s community solar program over the past couple years and it’s time to make one thing clear: Minnesota’s program is the best in the country. Why? Because there… Continue reading

Featured Article, Report, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 11, 2016

Report: Inclusive Financing for Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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

Download the Report   Browse the Report Executive Summary A Huge Opportunity      Challenges to Reaching Most Customers      A Necessary Paradigm Shift A Powerful Universal Tool: Inclusive Financing      Program Design       Key Results      Immediate Savings      Universal Access      Simplicity      Bigger Savings  … Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 27, 2016

A Deep Dive to Answer Ken Bone’s Energy Question

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/ken-bone-energy-question/

At the second presidential candidate debate, one red-sweater-wearing American earned notoriety for his question about little-discussed energy policy. The question deserved a thorough response, given that it brushes on some myths of the clean energy transition but also the challenge of guaranteeing justice for displaced workers. Midwesterner Ken Bone asked this question: What steps will… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 12, 2016

Further Thoughts on the Economics of Losing the Federal Solar Tax Credit

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/further-thoughts-on-the-economics-of-losing-the-federal-solar-tax-credit/

Amid the discussion over ending the federal solar tax credit in 2015, I published an analysis of the less-than-expected hit to residential solar costs. I made a big mistake. Instead of a 2.5% cost increase, the impact of the expired tax credit would be closer to 13.3%. But a revised and deeper investigation also shows… Continue reading

Featured Article, Report, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 12, 2016

Report: Sparking Grid Savings Starts at Home

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

  Download the Report   Browse the Report Introduction Big Potential Savings     Peak Reduction from Commercial Buildings     Peak Reduction from Homes Deepening of Peak Energy Reduction in Homes Powerful Examples Automated or No? Conclusion Footnotes Introduction In the past decade, two major trends have threatened the ability of electric utilities to… Continue reading

Featured Article, Report, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 30, 2016

Report: Is Bigger Best in Renewable Energy?

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

  Download the Report   Browse the Report Introduction: The Savings of Size?     Renewable Energy Economies of Scale Evidence to the Contrary     Limits to Scale in Wind     Limits to Scale in Solar     Does Big or Small Grow Fastest? Why Economics Isn’t the Issue Summary Footnotes   Conventional wisdom… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 16, 2016

Reviewing Two Years of a Novel City-Utility Partnership

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/reviewing-two-years-of-a-novel-city-utility-partnership/

The first-in-the-nation Clean Energy Partnership has reached the end of its first two-year work plan and has gathered a lot of baseline data. But is it successful? As expected, it’s hard to tell.  The first work plan wasn’t adopted until well into the first year of the Partnership (2015), and a lot of existing utility… Continue reading