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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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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 21, 2017

Boulder Voters Say (Again): “We’ll Lead Movement to Energy Democracy”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/boulder-voters-say-again-well-lead-movement-to-energy-democracy/

It was a squeaker. With 85% of votes cast, the outlook for Boulder’s quest to control its energy future seemed dimmer than it had since 2011. The nays were up by 100 votes, in favor of ending funding for the city’s effort to take over its electric utility and bolster locally-produced renewable energy. A late… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 15, 2017

Can Puerto Rico Overcome a Colonial Past to Build a Greener Grid?

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

This article was originally published in Greentech Media on November 6th, 2017. Puerto Rico’s history of intervention and mismanagement created a financially disastrous backdrop for Hurricane Maria. On September 20, Hurricane Maria swept across Puerto Rico, destroying its electricity grid. The storm felled half of the cross-island transmission towers. Nine out of 10 back-alley power poles blew… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 8, 2017

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 filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 31, 2017

Mergers and Monopoly: How Concentration Changes the Electricity Business

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/electricity-mergers-and-monopoly/

Executive Summary A wave of consolidation has swept across the U.S. economy over the past decade, reshaping already-powerful corporations into financial and political powerhouses. The trend has taken particular hold among electric utilities, a sector where monopoly reigns virtually unchecked. Consolidated, investor-owned utilities now have service territories that span several states and include millions of… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 30, 2017

Six Reasons Your Next Car Should Be Electric

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/6-reasons-electric-car/

Learn the six biggest reasons why your next vehicle should be an electric vehicle, pulled from our comprehensive report, Choosing the Electric Avenue. Hint: it’s cost-effective, environmentally sound, and has all the same benefits of your gas-powered car! Continue reading

Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 27, 2017

PURPA: A Quiet Death or Longer Life After 40 Years of Wholesale Electricity Competition?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/purpa-a-quiet-death-or-longer-life-after-40-years-of-wholesale-electricity-competition/

This article was originally published in Greentech Media on September 18th, 2017. In the first week of September, a U.S. House Energy and Commerce subcommittee held hearings questioning a 40-year-old law that forms the bedrock of competition in the electricity market. Before the law took effect, electric utilities had a complete monopoly over electricity generation…. Continue reading

Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 12, 2017

Press Release: Mayor Hodges’ Budget Would Make Minneapolis a National Clean Energy Leader

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/press-release-hodges-budget-energy-leader/

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. — Cities across the country are grappling with extreme weather, rising sea levels, and an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many of them have committed to do what they can to address this crisis. But the City of Minneapolis, under a budget proposed by Mayor Betsy Hodges, is poised to do something novel: put real resources behind its climate and energy pledge. The mayor’s budget proposal would unlock more than $2 million in new funding, leverage more than $20 million in utility conservation funds and expand access to energy savings to many more residents and businesses. Continue reading

Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 30, 2017

Minnesota Has the Best Community Solar Program — Here’s Why

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

This article was originally published on MinnPost on August 21st, 2017 in its Community Voice submission section. As a long-time advocate for community-scale investment in renewable energy, I’m often asked about community solar: a burgeoning part of the solar industry and a model for its growth. In community solar programs, multiple households or businesses near a common… Continue reading

Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 29, 2017

Of New Power Generation, How Much is on the Roof?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/of-new-power-generation-how-much-is-on-the-roof/

Each quarter, several sources report on the new power plants built in the United States. Since 2012, there’s been a surge the share of new power generation coming from solar power. In that year, solar represented 10% of new power capacity. It rose to 40% in 2013 and has been 30% or higher in the… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 24, 2017

Dumb and Dumber: Looking Beyond the Department of Energy’s Flawed “Baseload” Study

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/dumb-and-dumber-beyond-doe-baseload-study/

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Department of Energy commissioned a study purportedly about grid reliability. In reality, it’s more likely the study is a fishing expedition searching for ways to buttress fossil fuel contributors to and allies of the Trump administration — folks squeezed by competition from less costly wind and solar power. Continue reading