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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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Community Power Map
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 24, 2016

Introducing the Community Power Map

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

Where are communities taking charge of their energy future? Which states give communities the most power? ILSR’s newly-released Community Power Map provides an interactive illustration of how communities are accelerating the transition toward 100% renewable energy and how state policies help or hinder greater local action. You can help. If we’re missing a state policy, grassroots… Continue reading

handshake - Flickr Tess Dixon
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 11, 2016

Is New York’s “Compromise” the Future for Net Metering?

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

Across the country, utilities are battling their customers over solar, and typically trying to undermine customers that want to cut their energy bills by installing solar arrays. But not all fights end with one side or the other “winning.” In April 2016, New York utilities—already starting down the road to a new market structure under… Continue reading

Jon Wellinghoff Play Image
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 28, 2016

Video: Choices Within Monopoly – A Grid of the Future Conversation with Jon Wellinghoff

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/video-choices-within-monopoly-a-grid-of-the-future-conversation-with-jon-wellinghoff/

In November 2015, Jon Wellinghoff, former chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, spoke to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission about the grid of the future. In particular, he addressed the issue of giving customers meaningful choices within a monopoly grid model, present in Minnesota and 34 other states. In the following video, he outlines… Continue reading

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