The misunderstandings that from time to time occur between communities and the managers of electric-lighting companies will, to my mind, disappear entirely if the relations between the two are correctly founded on the basis of public control, with corresponding protection to the corporations operating this industry. More than 100 years ago, standing in front of a … Read More
“We just need to become the Ben and Jerry’s of the utility world!” So said Mary Powell (pictured left), CEO and president of Green Mountain Power, as she announced in 2014 that her electric utility had just earned B Corp certification, making it one of more than 1,700 companies in the world committed to rigorous standards … Read More
St. Peter, Minn., home to 11 thousand people, is nestled within the verdant hills of the Minnesota River Valley. The town was originally intended to be the state capital of Minnesota, until a legislator named “Jolly” Joe Rolette nabbed the bill and hid it from the governor’s awaiting signature. Unflappable, the city would play its own part in … Read More
Andy Johnson works with the soil. When younger, he served in Peace Corps in Central America for three years, working on conservation practices. Then he worked in the Natural Resource Conservation Service for years, the same agency that his father Paul Johnson headed by appointment from Bill Clinton in 1993. After moving back to northeast Iowa in 2007, he started farming christmas trees and grass-fed beef cows, but thinking about how the concept of conservation applied to his community’s energy use and economy.… Read More
One such model is offered by Cooperative Energy Futures. It launched in Minneapolis in 2009 under the leadership of Timothy DenHerder-Thomas (pictured, left), offering members energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations on their own property. Now, thanks in part to a 2013 state law, they’re offering members an opportunity to “own” a share of a community solar garden atop a North Minneapolis church.
In September 2015, DenHerder-Thomas stopped by ILSR’s studio to talk with John Farrell about the Shiloh Temple Community Solar Garden, and what community-owned power means for the energy industry and everyday people.… Read More
This week Ed Marston, former board member of the Delta-Montrose Electric Association in western Colorado, joins John Farrell on Local Energy Rules to talk about the electric cooperative world. He highlights the good, the bad, and what his and other cooperatives are doing to spur clean energy investment in a region that so desperately needs local economic development.… Read More
On-bill financing is not new. The Tennessee Valley Authority has offered it for years. More recently, numerous municipal utilities and electric cooperatives have created programs. But Midwest Energy, on the prairies of western Kansas, might have the best track record.
Brian Dreiling, manager of energy services at Midwest Energy, shared his utility’s story with Local Energy Rules this week, explaining the on-bill program, what makes it successful, and how an investment in the member-owner’s home is an investment in the utility.… Read More
Cobb EMC serves around 175,000 member-owners just outside of Atlanta, Ga., and is one of 900 member-owned electric cooperatives in the United States. Mark Hackett, president of member-driven Cobb EMC Forum, joins John Farrell this week to talk about how an engaged membership continues to be essential to defending the vitality of a locally owned electric company.… Read More
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 to power hundreds of local economies across the rural United States.… Read More