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Featured Article, Report, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 26, 2016

Report: Beyond Sharing – How Communities Can Take Ownership of Renewable Power

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/report-beyond-sharing/

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Introduction
Benefits of Community Renewable Energy
U.S. Barriers to Community Renewable Energy
Barrier Busting
Exceptional Community Energy Projects
Community as City
A Community Renewable Energy Gold Standard
Conclusion
Appendix
Footnotes

The electric utility monopoly is breaking up, but will renewable energy become another form of wealth extraction or will community renewable energy enable communities to capture their renewable power?

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Download the Executive Summary

Executive Summary

In the past five years, the opportunity for community renewable energy has coalesced around “shared solar,” where participants share the electricity output from a nearby solar array in the form of credits on their electricity bill. Some forecasts suggest that shared solar could supply 5-10 gigawatts of new power capacity in the next 5 years.

Trnsprt Growth in Community Renewable

But shared solar is just a small slice of the community renewable energy opportunity, which could include many other renewable technologies such as wind or geothermal, but also community-owned projects that would allow greater local capture of economic benefits. While shared solar is a model shown to avoid several of the pitfalls typical for community renewable energy, these pitfalls could be bridged to much more broadly expand the economic opportunity.

U.S. Barriers to Community Renewable Energy

Three major barriers still inhibit widespread expansion of community renewable energy, much as they did when ILSR published its community solar report in 2010.

  1. Federal and state securities laws, meant to shield ordinary people from Ponzi schemes and bad investments, are often too onerous for community-scale renewable energy projects.
  2. Federal tax incentives require specific and sufficient tax liability, in ways that often precludes ordinary community investors.
  3. Finally, legal limitations to sharing electricity output from community-based renewable energy projects mean only states with explicit exemptions are likely to see substantial growth in community renewables.

Trnspt 14 State with VNM policies

Busting the Barriers?

Within limits, policy makers have found ways to work around or reduce the barriers to community renewable energy, but their solutions haven’t yet proven widely scalable without significant compromise. Continue reading

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Featured Article, Report, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 29, 2016

Report: Re-Member-ing the Electric Cooperative

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/report-remembering-the-electric-cooperative/

by John Farrell, Matt Grimley & Nick Stumo-Langer 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… Continue reading

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Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 28, 2016

Open Letter Urges Xcel Energy to Adhere to Minnesota Clean Energy Commitments

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/open-letter-urges-xcel-energy-to-adhere-to-minnesota-clean-energy-commitments/

Contact: Alice Madden Alice@communitypowermn.org 206-372-8471           To: Christopher Clark, President, Northern States Power Company – Minnesota January 26, 2016   Dear Mr. Clark, Community Power, a tireless advocate for clean, affordable, and equitable energy systems, is excited about Xcel Energy’s upcoming supplement to its Integrated Resource Plan illustrating alternatives to replacing… Continue reading

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Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 5, 2016

Zapped by the Utility: 5 Reasons Raising Fixed Fees is Unfair

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/zapped-5-reasons-raising-fixed-fees-is-unfair/

Like mine, your eyes probably glaze when you see items like “fuel cost adjustment clause,” but tucked in your monthly electric bill are two big components that matter. One is a fixed amount you pay to be connected to the grid every month. The second is a variable portion is based on what you use…. Continue reading

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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