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New Report Sheds Light on America’s Monopolized Energy Sector . . . and How We Can Fix It

Date: 7 Jan 2021 | posted in: Energy | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

A new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliances shows that America’s monopoly problem extends into the energy and electricity sector. While last year’s Big Tech hearings and House antitrust report spotlighted monopoly abuses at Amazon, Google, and other tech giants, the report from ILSR makes clear that America’s monopoly problem has spread into many other sectors of the economy — including the electricity sector. The report is the latest in a series from ILSR focused on fighting monopoly power throughout several sectors of our economy, including Banking, Broadband, Food and Farming, Pharmacy, Waste and Recycling, and Small Business.… Read More

Report: Could Existing Water Pipes Replace Dirty Energy Utilities?

Date: 13 Oct 2020 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This report explores water main geothermal: a novel, affordable way to decarbonize home heating and air conditioning using existing city water mains.… Read More

Report: 47 States Could Meet 100% of Electricity Needs Using In-State Renewables

Date: 10 Sep 2020 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

The third edition of this report asks yet again: if each U.S. state took full advantage of its own renewable energy resources, would it be sufficient to satisfy that state’s electricity consumption? The answer for most states is yes, easily.… Read More

Sparking Grid Savings Starts at Home

Date: 2 Sep 2020 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This 2020 update to a 2016 report finds that while new technology has made electricity demand response simple and cost-effective, and has opened the opportunity for residential savings, utility implementation of demand response programs is lagging.… Read More

Why Utilities in Minnesota and Other States Need to Plan for More Competition

Date: 22 Jul 2020 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This report explores the undercounting of customer-sited and non-utility solar in utility distributed resource forecasting. It finds that Xcel Energy’s forecasts for distributed solar in Minnesota are strikingly low.… Read More

Funding, Expertise, Utility Cooperation: Three Things Cities Need to Reach 100% Renewable Energy

Date: 10 Jun 2020 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This report, written by University of Michigan master’s students in the School for Environment and Sustainability, uses survey results to identify 11 key recommendations city leaders can use to transition to 100% renewable energy.… Read More

Report: Designing Community Solar Programs that Promote Racial and Economic Equity

Date: 27 Feb 2020 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This white paper, put together by a team of community solar specialists, offers guidance for those working to establish equitable community solar programs. It details 30 policy/program guidelines for municipal utility administrators, policymakers, and advocates of accessible solar for all.… Read More

Report: An Alternative to Electricity Monopolies Enables Communities to Center People and Planet

Date: 19 Feb 2020 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This report examines community choice energy, a policy giving cities and counties the right to purchase energy on behalf of electricity customers. Enabled in 9 states, community choice agencies are revolutionizing the utility model by offering cheaper, cleaner energy that aligns with local goals.… Read More

Minnesota’s Solar Gardens: the Status and Benefits of Community Solar

Date: 6 May 2019 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Minnesota is the national leader in community solar, with 208 projects around the state, more than a third of all community solar projects in the U.S. The state’s community solar policy is the best, making it easy to develop and subscribe to solar power. Read more about the benefits for customers, workers, and landowners in a new report from Vote Solar, MnSEIA, and the Institute for Local Self Reliance.… Read More

Report: Waste Incineration: A Dirty Secret in How States Define Renewable Energy

Date: 12 Dec 2018 | posted in: Energy, Waste to Wealth | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Almost half of U.S. states allow energy produced by burning garbage to count toward their renewable energy requirements. In a new report, we unpack why incineration is so problematic and how communities can embrace cleaner alternatives. … Read More

Reverse Power Flow: How Solar+Batteries Shift Electric Grid Decision Making from Utilities to Consumers

Date: 17 Jul 2018 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

For 100 years, most decisions about the U.S. electric grid have been made at the top by electric utilities, public regulators, and grid operators. That era has ended, and our report details how the collective impact of individual consumers installing solar-plus-storage reverses the flow of power on the electricity grid.… Read More

Mergers and Monopoly: How Concentration Changes the Electricity Business

Date: 31 Oct 2017 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

A wave of consolidation has swept across the U.S. economy over the past decade, reshaping already-powerful corporations into financial and political powerhouses. The trend has taken particular hold among electric utilities, a sector where monopoly reigns virtually unchecked.

Consolidated, investor-owned utilities now have service territories that span several states and include millions of customers. They say gobbling competitors delivers operational efficiencies and cost savings. But who sees the benefits? And what are the unspoken costs?

This report explains how concentration of power in monopoly utilities delivers fewer customer benefits than alleged, and how the unmentioned costs of concentrating power in a few firms undermines protection of the public interest.… Read More

Report: Choosing the Electric Avenue – Unlocking Savings, Emissions Reductions, and Community Benefits of Electric Vehicles

Date: 7 Jun 2017 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

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.
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Report: Inclusive Financing for Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Date: 11 Nov 2016 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Energy efficiency and renewables represent the most promising pathway to lower energy costs for individual consumers and utilities. But limited access hinders progress. Utilities can knock down major barriers to energy efficiency and renewables by allowing customers to make site-specific investments and recovering utility costs through an opt-in tariff. … Read More

Report: Sparking Grid Savings Starts at Home

Date: 12 Oct 2016 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

New technology, particularly in the hands of electric customers, is creating an unprecedented opportunity to tap the many other sources of controllable electricity demand in homes and businesses. Utilities, like Xcel Energy in Minnesota, should harness these lower-cost ways to meet rising peak energy demand.… Read More

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