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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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People Holding Hands
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/

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

lobbying or solar from us utilities ilsr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 25, 2016

Instead of Lobbying, Top 25 Utilities Could Have Doubled U.S. Solar Capacity

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/instead-of-lobbying-top-25-utilities-could-have-doubled-u-s-solar-capacity/

The Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute just released a report analyzing the top 25 U.S. investor-owned electric utilities, and one of the highlights is that these 25 largest utilities collectively spent over $400 million of money (from their ratepayers) lobbying in the past four years. In many cases, this involved lobbying against net metering, renewable… Continue reading

rooftop solar potential usa by state ilsr change 2008-16
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 11, 2016

Sharply Higher Rooftop Solar Potential Increases Opportunity for Energy Self-Reliance

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/sharply-higher-rooftop-solar-potential-increases-potential-for-energy-self-reliance/

Earlier this year, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory released a new estimate of rooftop solar potential, an update to 2008 figures we used in our landmark state-by-state energy atlas, Energy Self-Reliant States. The bottom line: there’s much more potential to generate our electricity from solar on nearby buildings than we previously thought. The irony is… Continue reading

CERTS Image
Featured Article, Report, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 29, 2016

Report: Re-Member-ing the Electric Cooperative

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

by John Farrell, Matt Grimley & Nick Stumo-Langer Electric cooperatives have been the backbone of the nation’s rural electrical system for more than 80 years. Their mission and business model now face more challenges than ever, from financial to contractual to basic member control. But the opportunity is equally great, with a chance for member-driven investment… Continue reading

utility substation - Tyler Wilson via Flickr
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 25, 2016

Pursuing Grid Modernization in a Monopoly Model

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/pursuing-grid-modernization-in-a-monopoly-model/

How can a state modernize its electric system when it’s in the hands of vertically integrated monopolies? We offer some thoughts via its comments on a Grid Modernization docket being reviewed by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Background: the grid modernization docket is a relatively new requirement, asking the state’s largest investor-owned utility to explain… Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 14, 2016

ILSR’s Distributed Solar Capacity Quarterly Update (2015 Q4)

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/ilsrs-distributed-solar-capacity-quarterly-update-2015-q4/

It was the biggest quarter ever for solar, which supplied one-third of over 7.3 gigawatts of new power plant capacity added to the grid. Distributed solar kept pace, with 832 megawatts (AC) added in the last three months of 2015! Important note: in prior versions of this update I made an error, forgetting to covert… Continue reading

solar panels and building - flickr USDA
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 22, 2016

Small Ohio Town to Feature Large Distributed Solar and Storage

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/small-ohio-town-to-feature-large-distributed-solar-and-storage/

Energy storage is the “next charge” for distributed renewable energy, and the small town of Minster, OH, provides a powerful illustration. Committed to building a 3-megawatt (AC) solar facility, the village’s energy department (municipal utility) was blindsided by the state legislature in mid-2014. The state’s energy policy had previously favored purchase of solar from in-state… Continue reading

zapped - timothy vogel via flickr
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 5, 2016

Zapped by the Utility: 5 Reasons Raising Fixed Fees is Unfair

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/zapped-5-reasons-raising-fixed-fees-is-unfair/

Like mine, your eyes probably glaze when you see items like “fuel cost adjustment clause,” but tucked in your monthly electric bill are two big components that matter. One is a fixed amount you pay to be connected to the grid every month. The second is a variable portion is based on what you use…. Continue reading

CommunityPower-Logo-Main-banner
Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 28, 2016

Open Letter Urges Xcel Energy to Adhere to Minnesota Clean Energy Commitments

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/open-letter-urges-xcel-energy-to-adhere-to-minnesota-clean-energy-commitments/

Contact: Alice Madden Alice@communitypowermn.org 206-372-8471           To: Christopher Clark, President, Northern States Power Company – Minnesota January 26, 2016   Dear Mr. Clark, Community Power, a tireless advocate for clean, affordable, and equitable energy systems, is excited about Xcel Energy’s upcoming supplement to its Integrated Resource Plan illustrating alternatives to replacing… Continue reading

guy with knife and kid - flickr Ross Catrow v2
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 28, 2016

New Fossil Fuel Power Plants: Assets or Liabilities?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/new-fossil-fuel-power-plants-assets-or-liabilities/

In any conversation about the transition to a renewable energy economy, solar and wind advocates will eventually come up against the term “stranded assets.” It’s a misleading term, usually deployed in defense of legacy fossil fuel power plants (and their owners). But as times change, “stranded assets” can be redefined and in the next few… Continue reading