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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 1, 2017

Energy Democracy in 4 Powerful Steps

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/energy-democracy-in-4-steps/

There’s no question that the energy system is undergoing change. One need look no further than the 1 million solar rooftops in the U.S. or — for the wonky — the source of new power capacity in the U.S. over the past 15 years. In 2003, just 20% of new electric capacity came from renewable power plants. In the last eight years, it’s been at or over 60% almost every year. In the first three quarters of 2016, 16% of our new power capacity came from distributed solar alone (such as home rooftop solar arrays).

But few people realize that the change from fossil fuels to renewable sources is just a harbinger for a phase of massive disruption in energy markets. The disruption will remake how the energy system serves its users and offer unprecedented choices for customers. It may go further than choice.  As the energy system shifts away from the outdated utility monopoly model, the four Ds of energy democracy — distributed power, decentralization, democracy from ownership, and disruptive technology — have the potential to put those users in charge and allow them to reap the economic benefits.

Democracy from Distributed Power

Power generation is the first line of democratization, brought on by the miniaturization of power plants. Last century was defined by gigawatt-scale nuclear and coal and hundred-megawatt-scale gas power plants. Now, power generation has shrunk down to multi-megawatt wind turbines and multi-watt solar panels.

Even the largest wind and solar power plants are compilations of hundreds or thousands of mass produced individual turbines or solar cells.  Continue reading

Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Energy | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Feb 22, 2017

Sherco Power Plant: The Wrong Project, for the Wrong Reasons, At a Big Cost

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/sherco-power-plant-the-wrong-project-for-the-wrong-reasons-at-a-big-cost/

Have you seen this advertisement from Xcel Energy? We’ve done a little bit of work to clarify their message for them.

The proposed Sherco natural gas plant bill will soon be at Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s desk, after you watch our video, give him a call and tell him you oppose this billion-dollar boondoggle. Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Karlee Weinmann | No Comments | Updated on Apr 22, 2017

Residential Subscribers in Focus as Minnesota Weighs Community Solar Incentives

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/minnesota-community-solar-adder-puc-2017/

In its filing on providing community solar incentives for residential subscribers, the Department outlined a loose framework for the “adder,” designed to encourage community solar developers to pursue projects accessible that target residential subscribers. The agency pitched an incentive worth $0.025 per kilowatt-hour, to be phased out over time. The residential adder discussion is part… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 4, 2017

Would You Pay 5% More for Local Energy?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/would-you-pay-5-more-for-local-energy/

In recent months, a raft of cities and states pushed up their renewable energy targets to 50%, 80%, or even 100%. But how will that energy be delivered? Will it be from the top down, by merchant wind and solar power plants? Or from the bottom up, by customers producing their own power? The answer… Continue reading

Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Apr 6, 2017

Thanks To Your Local Economy, Renewables Aren’t Going Anywhere – Episode 15 of the Building Local Power Podcast

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/thanks-to-your-local-economy-renewables-arent-going-anywhere-episode-15-of-the-building-local-power-podcast/

Welcome to episode fifteen of the Building Local Power podcast. For full transcript of the podcast, click here. In this episode, Christopher Mitchell, the director of ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks initiative, interviews John Farrell and Karlee Weinmann, researchers for ILSR’s Energy Democracy initiative on the prospects of renewable energy given President Trump’s executive orders undermining the… Continue reading