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
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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
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
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
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
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
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
If you work to secure Americans’ rights to solar energy or to accelerate the deployment of inexpensive renewable energy, you understand that not everyone is in favor. In particular, incumbent electric utilities tend to oppose competition in their (often monopoly) share of the electricity market. Where competition exists, it is plagued by unfairness. Below, we… Continue reading
If you’re reading energy news of late, you might have come across three new ways that forces are aligning against local renewable energy. State governments are increasingly pre-empting local authority on a range of issues, including energy. Utility companies are undercutting state regulation with their legislative lobbyists. And utilities are also bringing their monopoly market power to bear in previously competitive markets.
As an increasing number of cities across the U.S. pledge their commitment to purchase 100% of their power from renewable sources in the coming decades, some researchers questioned the feasibility of such energy policies. One recent 100% study takes the position that it is impractical for the continental U.S. to commit to 100% water, wind,… Continue reading
The U.S. vehicle market will undergo a massive technology disruption from electric vehicles in the coming decades. Many analysts see the potential for surging sales of these efficient vehicles to enable smart grid management, but few have explored the local impact of electric vehicles: promoting energy democracy. Electric vehicles offer a natural use for solar energy, a pathway to pump more local solar power onto the grid, and a source of resilient power when the grid goes down. Ultimately, electric vehicles are another tool to miniaturize the electricity system, providing unprecedented local control.