A citizen-led effort to establish in a city-run electric utility in the small northeast Iowa community of Decorah is picking up steam, with advocates — including some local officials — forecasting significant local economic growth powered by the transition. Decorah, with about 8,000 residents, is tucked in the northwest corner of Iowa just south of… Continue reading
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About Karlee Weinmann
Karlee Weinmann is a research associate for ILSR’s Energy Democracy initiative. She produces reports that spotlight best practices and spur meaningful action in an evolving energy economy. Before joining ILSR, she worked as a journalist focused primarily on the intersection of policy, community and business.
Electric vehicle sales are surging, and the trend shows no signs of stopping — particularly as the battery technology that powers them enables longer trips and comes at a lower cost. The first electric cars hit the market more than 100 years ago, but this time, there’s plenty of reasons to believe they’re not only… Continue reading
A 40-year-old federal law has a new life in promoting a competitive U.S. clean energy market because of falling costs for wind and solar. But despite its lofty potential, the policy remains trapped between regulatory obstacles and utility resistance — forcing communities across the country to leave significant economic benefits on the table. The Public… Continue reading
Minnesota’s largest utility is planning a pilot community solar program specifically targeted to low-income customers, an important first step in bridging significant gaps in accessing the benefits of the state’s burgeoning clean energy economy. Xcel Energy filed a program outline with Minnesota regulators last month, which drew general support from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance… Continue reading
Minnesota’s largest investor-owned utility, Xcel Energy, last month reported sparse participation in a program designed to deliver value to customers who charge their electric vehicles when it’s most convenient for the grid. But despite its benefits for the grid and cost savings for customers, the initiative appears stuck in neutral.
By April 2017, a year and a half after its launch, just 95 Xcel customers had opted in to the state-mandated electric vehicle charging tariff. With nearly 1,000 plug-in vehicles registered to Minnesota drivers — a bulk of them likely in Xcel’s metro-area territory — participation numbers hover well below reasonable expectations. Why? Continue reading
The combination of falling prices and rising interest put rooftop solar on a strong trajectory. But even as solar goes mainstream, it’s tough for consumers to tell which installer, which panels, and which financing is right for them.
There has been little transparency in solar pricing, and consumers without technical expertise have a tough time shopping around. It’s a barrier to widespread solar adoption that gnaws at Vikram Aggarwal, and one he’s trying to fix through his online solar-shopping platform, EnergySage.
“The solar economics are so good that if you are a business owner today in America and you are not looking at solar, you are leaving good money on the table,” Aggarwal said. “In a number of states, if you’re a homeowner and you’re not considering solar, you are again leaving good money on the table.” Continue reading
Improving battery life and safety standards place electric vehicles and self-driving cars closer than ever to the mainstream, and the City of Austin is laying plans to capitalize on the transition. Experts predict a dramatic transformation of the U.S. transportation system will take hold in the coming decade. Karl Popham, who manages emerging technologies and… Continue reading
An innovative group purchasing program in Boulder County, Colorado, put hundreds of electric vehicles on local roads and sparked the addition of more than 1 megawatt of rooftop solar in its first two years. Now, the initiative is a springboard for efforts nationwide to allow consumers to seize control of their clean energy future. The… Continue reading
Is the U.S. on the cusp of a clean energy revolution that will fundamentally change how we live, work, and get around? That’s exactly what entrepreneur and lecturer Tony Seba argues in his book, Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation. His multi-pronged predictions include: all new energy will be provided by solar or wind, all… Continue reading
Fast-improving technology and growing consumer interest continue to put momentum behind the clean energy transition. Unlike utilities and other industry players that have largely ignored growth opportunities as market dynamics shift, a coalition of independent solar companies is harnessing its combined power to command more influence in the marketplace. Amicus Solar Cooperative formed in Colorado… Continue reading