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randy wilson
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Matt Grimley | No Comments | Updated on Jan 13, 2016

Just How Democratic are Rural Electric Cooperatives?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/just-how-democratic-are-rural-electric-cooperatives/

Randy Wilson knew you had to start somewhere. Knocking on doors and hanging around retail store parking lots, he and volunteers from the citizen group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth collected signatures. After weeks of holding out clipboards, they collected the more than 500 signatures needed to run for the board of the Jackson Energy Cooperative… Continue reading

federal-wind-and-solar-tax-credit-phase-out-ILSR-2015 v3
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 5, 2016

Congress Gets Renewable Tax Credit Extension Right

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/congress-gets-renewable-tax-credit-extension-right/

In case you missed it over the holiday, Congress passed a new federal budget, notably extending tax credits for solar, wind, and other renewable energy technologies. The extension differs from previous ones in two ways: it extends the credits for multiple years but also (as ILSR has been discussing since 2012) phases them out over… Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 14, 2015

ILSR’s Distributed Solar Capacity Quarterly Update

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/ilsrs-distributed-solar-capacity-quarterly-update/

Renewable energy continues to dominate new power plant capacity and distributed generation has contributed an increasingly large share. We’ve been tracking this phenomenon since April of 2014, and, finally, the Energy Information Administration has recognized the prevalence of distributed solar and is going to report estimates of this added capacity in their monthly updates. This… Continue reading

hawaii solar price comes up short ILSR
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 21, 2015

Hawaii’s Net Metering Alternative Comes Up (Way) Short

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/hawaiis-net-metering-alternative-comes-up-way-short/

Earlier this week, the Public Utilities Commission of Hawaii approved the proposal of the islands’ largest utility to end net metering for solar customers. It’s the culmination of a years-long battle and a proxy in the national fight between utilities and solar producing customers. It’s also the first big decision taking Hawaii away from the… Continue reading

distributed-generation-under-fire-map-ILSR-2015-1028
Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 21, 2015

UPDATE: Distributed Renewable Energy Under Fire

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/distributed-renewable-energy-fire/

Need evidence that utilities are fighting back against their customer’s desire to generate their own power? This map shows where policies like net metering are undermining the ability of utility customers to exercise their desire for self-reliance. I developed this map as a side project while I was working on explaining the value of solar… Continue reading

solar surge in new power plant capacity
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 11, 2015

Ever Greater Share of New Power from Distributed Solar

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/ever-greater-share-of-new-power-from-distributed-solar/

Second quarter data from the Energy Information Administration and the Solar Energy Industries Association came out this week and distributed solar continues its surging growth. Over 650 megawatts (MW) of new distributed solar capacity was grid connected between April and June, 10% of new power plant capacity. Even more impressive than the steady growth each… Continue reading

solar pv cost of energy 2014 ilsr
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 20, 2015

Questioning Solar Energy Economies of Scale, 2014 Edition

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/questioning-solar-energy-economies-of-scale-2014-edition/

While utilities continue to imply that large-scale solar projects are more economical than small ones, the data is telling another story. In fact, costs for transmission and distribution of utility-scale solar energy may largely undermine the modestly better economics at the point of generation. In other words (as I wrote a month ago), Utility Solar… Continue reading

wind turbines sunrise - flickr David Clarke
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 27, 2015

A Rising Wind: Better Tech Means Greater State Wind Potential

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/a-rising-wind-better-tech-means-greater-state-wind-potential/

For states looking to reduce their reliance on dirty, imported energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory brings good news on the wind. In a May 2015 report, significantly more wind power potential was found in nearly every state thanks to advancing turbine technology. In 2015, 40 states could produce 50% or more of their annual electricity… Continue reading

Big Gig Ripoff thumbnail
Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Jul 22, 2015

Comcast’s Big Gig Rip-Off

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/comcasts-big-gig-rip-off-2/

For some five years now, many have been talking about gigabit Internet access speeds. After arguing for years that no one needed higher capacity connections, Comcast has finally unveiled its new fiber optic option. And as Tech Dirt notes, it is marketed as being twice as fast but costs 4x as much (even more in… Continue reading

topaz utility scale solar - flickr  Pacific Southwest Region USFWS
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 17, 2015

Utility Solar May Cost Less, But It’s Also Worth Less

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/utility-solar-may-cost-less-but-its-also-worth-less/

A new report released this week asserts that utility-scale solar is much more economical than small-scale solar. The clear implication is that we should let incumbent utilities build or buy solar from large-scale arrays instead of allowing customers to generate their own power. There are several reasons to seriously question the mistaken assertion that big… Continue reading

kansas city solar potential map
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 22, 2015

Solar Potential on Public Buildings in Kansas City

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/solar-potential-on-public-buildings-in-kansas-city/

How much solar is installed on municipal buildings? How much could be installed? As we discovered in writing ILSR’s Public Rooftop Revolution report—the latest in the Rooftop Revolution series—nobody had the answer, for almost every city we contacted. But in the course of the research, three cities answered our call to analyze their rooftop solar potential… Continue reading

Minneapolis Solar Potential Municipal buildings map
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 15, 2015

Solar Potential on Public Buildings in Minneapolis

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/solar-potential-on-public-buildings-in-minneapolis/

How much solar is installed on municipal buildings? How much could be installed? As we discovered in writing ILSR’s Public Rooftop Revolution report—the latest in the Rooftop Revolution series—nobody had the answer, for almost every city we contacted. But in the course of the research, three cities answered our call to analyze their rooftop solar potential… Continue reading

us power plant capacity additions quarterly ILSR 2015-0610
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 10, 2015

Distributed Solar Surges in Early 2015

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/distributed-solar-surges-in-early-2015/

Distributed solar was 13% of all new power plant capacity in 2014, and 2015 is starting off even bigger. Distributed residential and commercial solar installations surged 45% over the same period last year and accounted for 35% of all new power plant capacity in the first quarter of 2015. The following chart shows the quarterly… Continue reading

Graph: New banks created by year, 1993 to 2013.
Resource filed under Banking | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 22, 2015

Number of New Banks Created by Year, 1993 to 2013

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/number-of-new-banks-created-by-year-1993-to-2013/

The number of community banks has declined sharply in the last few years. Part of the decline is owed to the fact that virtually no new banks have been created since 2009. Between 2004 and 2008, an average of about 300 commercial banks disappeared each year, mostly as a result of mergers. But these losses were offset by the creation of 146 new banks each year on average. From 2009 to 2013, we continued to lose about the same number of banks annually, but gained only 6 new banks on average each year. Continue reading