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About John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. More

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sun and transmission lines - flickr Dennis Wilkinson
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 18, 2016

California Weighs Fair Pricing for Distributed, Centralized Energy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/california-weighs-fair-pricing-for-distributed-centralized-energy/

This article published with the substantial assistance of ILSR intern, McKenna Eckerline. Everyone hates paying for something that they don’t use (how many cable channels do you have?). In California, local electricity customers may finally get satisfaction about paying for the transmission grid capacity that they don’t use. At issue is an obscure pricing mechanism… Continue reading

Faz_S_Sofia_canavial_090607_REFON
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 23, 2016

Local Utilities Have Lost Local Control

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/local-utilities-have-lost-local-control/

This post made possible by the tireless efforts of ILSR intern Abbigail Feola. She dug up the data, identified the story worth sharing, and wrote the following piece below. Historically, the purpose of both municipal and cooperative utility agencies has been to bring energy services to communities that for-profit corporations thought unprofitable to serve. This… Continue reading

community solar people cheering - BlackRockSolar flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 16, 2016

Maryland Scores 3 out of 4 on Principles for a Good Community Solar Program

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/maryland-scores-3-out-of-4-on-principles-for-a-good-community-solar-program/

Maryland is the latest state to adopt a community solar program, and a review of the program rules shows that the state is serious about getting community solar right. It meets at least 3 of the 4 principles for a good program from our Beyond Sharing report on community renewable energy. A Pretty Big “Pilot”… Continue reading

midwest wind turbine - Sylvan Mably via Flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 3, 2016

Why is Green Pricing a Premium When Wind Power is Cheap?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/why-is-green-pricing-a-premium-when-wind-power-is-cheap/

Ten years ago, a North Dakota cooperative stopped charging customers a premium for getting energy from the wind, because they found it wasn’t costing anything extra. The cooperative, like many utilities, used a “green pricing” program that allowed customers to voluntarily pay more to get their energy solely from renewable resources. Dozens of utilities still… Continue reading

racial disparity in electric cooperatives thumb
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 23, 2016

Being Black Still a Barrier to Rural Cooperative Board Membership

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/being-black-still-a-barrier-to-rural-cooperative-board-membership/

In 1984, the New York Times ran a story highlighting the almost universally white boards of directors among 300 Southern electric cooperatives serving populations with thousands of African American member-owners: According to Oleta G. Fitzgerald, a staff lawyer with the [Southern Regional Council], a survey of 300 cooperatives in Southern states showed no more than… Continue reading

buy local sign - flickr Steve Garfield
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 20, 2016

Why Going Local Makes Sense for the Clean Energy Transition

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/why-going-local-makes-sense-for-the-clean-energy-transition/

This is a response to a Forbes commentary published last week, by Steve Cicala In his commentary last week, Steve Cicala fell into a common trap for economists analyzing the electricity system. Touting what economics calls competitive advantage, Mr Cicala suggests we pursue the lowest price by taking cheap solar electricity from the Southwest, wind… Continue reading

50 States of Solar Report - NC Clean Energy
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 16, 2016

Distributed Generation Under Fire (2015)

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/distributed-generation-still-under-fire/

We’ve been keeping a running tally of where distributed generation has come under attack, usually from incumbent utility companies, and displayed it in map format every few months. But the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center and Meister Consultants Group have done such a good job with their 50 States of Solar reports, that we’re… Continue reading

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

Not Just Illegal, Targeting Solar Facilities With Fees is Poor Policy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/targeting-solar-facilities-with-fees/

Should utilities be able to add special fees on customers that have solar or small wind installations? Not only is it against Minnesota state law, but in our recent comments to the state’s Public Utilities Commission, we explain how one-off fees on customers using distributed generation to cut their energy consumption violates the spirit of… Continue reading

People Holding Hands
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/

Browse the Report 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… Continue reading