This 1992 report by David Morris and Irshad Ahmed was one of the first comprehensive looks at how plant matter derived products could replace many of our fossil fuel derived materials. One hundred and fifty years ago, all of our industrial materials were derived from plants. In 1992, plant matter accounted for less than 5% of … Read More
Most of us view the road system as a pay-as-you-go proposition. We believe that vehicle licenses, parking fees and gas taxes fully finance the construction and maintenance of our roads. The truth is that less than 50 percent of the nearly $90 million the city of Minneapolis spends on driving-related projects each year is covered by … Read More
This 1991 report by David Morris looked at the implications of establishing a carbon tax in Minnesota. Minnesota should impose a carbon tax designed to raise revenue rather than to change behavior. A reasonable tax might be $6 per ton, in line with taxes already imposed by European governments, although lower than those proposed by the European Commission. Such a tax would raise the cost of energy and raise revenues and might encourage efficiency.
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This book by David Morris (first published in 1983) was the first how-to book published after Congress ended the 100-year-old monopoly by utilities on the generation of power. The book examines the technical and economic aspects of four small scale power technologies (photovoltaics, wind power, hydropower and onsite cogeneration) and offers advice on how to negotiate a contract for sale of on-site power to local utilities.… Read More
The first half of this book discusses the century-long struggle by cities to gain autonomy and authority from state governments and create their own planning and service delivery capacities. The second part describes the first urban-based localization movements. Given the relevance of the book to current localist efforts, we’ve written a new foreword that traces the local energy initiatives after the 75 percent plunge in oil prices after 1982 and the coming to power of a new administration hostile to renewable energy.… Read More
"From the hills of Seattle to the flatlands of Davis, from the industrial city of Hartford to the universty town of Madison, cities are beginning to redefine their role in our society," begins this important essay. For Morris the new role should should include inducing the widest distribution of productive capacity. New technologies make possible a more self-conscious and organic city. Local self-reliance becomes a strategy that embraces economic, environmental, and political goals. Morris argues that we have had far too much government and far too little governance. Government is bureaucratic. Governance is democratic. Communities can design their future. The new city-state emerge. … Read More
The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment invited the Institute for Local Self-Reliance to evaluate the comparative economics rooftop solar arrays and the solar powered satellites (SPS) proposed by NASA that would beam power generated in space back to earth. The report concluded, "If decentralized applications achieve the same array efficiency as those projected for SPS arrays, and if buildings are designed to maximize photovoltaic potential, the residential sector can meet all its energy demands from rooftop arrays, and have enough electricity left over to operate family vehicles, or to export into the grid system."… Read More
Thiswas the first study to track the flow of energy-related dollars through an urban economy and the impact on this flow from an aggressive energy efficiency and solar energy initiative. The study concluded that 85 cents of every energy dollar left the city, a far higher leakage than from any other household expenditure. The study also estimated the rooftop space available in DC for solar and the economic impact of energy efficiency.… Read More
Thisreport by David Morris was published (1975) shortly after the first plant manufacturing solar cells for terrestrial applications (Solarex) opened in suburban Washington, D.C. The report examined the embryonic PV industry, which was limited to remote, non-grid connected applications. The report proposed the creation of a government sponsored artificial market where demand would be increased at a steady pace in return for guarantees by companies that they would reduce the price of their product at an equally steady pace. The report also investigated the economies of scale of solar cells and concluded there were few, that rooftop arrays could generate its own power just as, or more efficiently then centralized solar power plants.