It can build a political movement for climate change by giving average folks some skin in the renewable energy game, and it’s boosting local economies in unexpected places and unexpected ways across America. That’s why Local Energy Rules.

A project of the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Local Energy Rules is a twice monthly podcast produced by Energy Democracy Director John Farrell and Research Associate Maria McCoy (formerly Marie DonahueKarlee Weinmann, and Matt Grimley), along with audio engineer Drew Birschbach.

We share powerful stories of successful local renewable energy and exposing the policy and practical barriers to its expansion. Our audience is researchers, grassroots organizers, and grasstops policy wonks who want vivid examples of how local renewable energy can power local economies.

Subscribe to the podcast feed: iTunes or RSS/XML. New episodes are published bi-weekly on Thursdays. Sign up for new podcast notifications and weekly email updates from the energy program.

Also check out ILSR’s other podcasts: On Building Local Power, we feature original research and discussions about how to increase communities’ local power. On Broadband Bits, Chris Mitchell, Community Broadband Director, interviews experts on Internet access and municipal broadband issues from around the country.

Podcast Episodes

Every Local Energy Rules episode page introduces each interviewee and provides in-depth analysis of the issues discussed.

Don’t miss our Voices of ? series, as well.

Over multiple episodes, we will highlight local leaders working toward 100 percent renewable energy in cities and towns across the country.

Podcast Number: Podcast Name: Interviewee: Title:
141 Drone Data Helps a Minnesota City Conserve Energy Shannon Mortenson City Administrator, Warren, Minn.
140 Rep. Seth Berry on the Movement for Publicly-Owned Power in Maine Seth Berry Maine State Representative and Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Technology
139 Colorado Law Creates Transparency at Rural Electric Co-ops Joe Smyth Researcher, Energy and Policy Institute
138 Queremos Sol: Seeking Solar Power for All Puerto Rican Homes Ingrid Vila Founder of Cambio
137 Voices of 100%: A Renewable City Coalition Grows in Western Montana Patrick Judge and Mark Juedeman Sustainability Coordinator and Citizens Conservation Commission Member, Helena, Mont.
136 The Role of Antitrust Law in Creating Energy Democracy Jean Su Attorney and Director of the Energy Justice program, Center for Biological Diversity
135 Get More Solar by Making Utilities Share Data Yochi Zakai Attorney representing the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Shute, Mahaly, and Weinberger
134 Voices of 100%: Eau Claire Solar Gardens Save the Day Kate Beaton and Ned Noel City Council Member and Senior Planner, Eau Claire, Wisc.
133 For Public Utilities, Customers Spark Pioneering Policy with a Vote Eric Williams Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, Omaha Public Power District
132 Entrepreneurs, Innovators, and Roadblocks in the Rooftop Revolution Danny Kennedy Co-founder of Sungevity and Chief Energy Officer of New Energy Nexus
131 Voices of 100%: In Case of Emergency, Break Down Barriers to Net Zero Mark Gamba and Natalie Rogers Mayor and Climate Action and Sustainability Coordinator, Milwaukie, Oregon.
130 Greetings From Hawaii, Where Utility Profit Depends on Performance Isaac Moriwake Managing Attorney of the MidPacific/Hawaii office, EarthJustice
129 How Big Utilities’ Climate Pledges Fall Short John Romankiewicz Beyond Coal Senior Analyst, Sierra Club
128 Voices of 100%: Youth Propel a Climate Action Plan in St. Louis Park Larry Kraft and Emily Ziring City Council Member and Sustainability Manager
127 Community Solar Collective Gives Member-Owners Power Timothy DenHerder-Thomas General Manager, Cooperative Energy Futures
126 Connecting Customers to Create a Virtual Power Plant Cisco DeVries CEO, OhmConnect
125 Voices of 100%: Hanover Residents Raise Hands for Renewable Energy April Salas Sustainability Director, Hannover, N.H.
124 Should Big Utilities Pay for Their Bad Choices? Leslie Glustrom Founding Member, Clean Energy Action
123 Greenpenny Puts Community Banking to Work for Clean Energy Jason MacDuff Vice President, Greenpenny
122 Expanding Access to Energy Efficient Appliances Marti Frank Principle, Efficiency for Everyone and Founder/Director of the Shift Consortium
121 Minneapolis Health Department Splits the Bill with Green Investors Patrick Hanlon Director of Environmental Programs, Minneapolis Health Department
120 A Portland Fund, Collected from Corporations, Finances Community Benefits Jaimes Valdez Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund startup team member
119 In Seattle, Corporations Must Pay Their Fair Share to Support Climate Justice Jill Mangaliman and Abigail Juaner Executive Director of Got Green and Equitable Program Development Manager at Puget Sound Sage
118 A Solar Settlement for the Good of the Grid Thad Culley Senior Regional Director of the Southeast, Vote Solar
117 Voices of 100%: Louisville’s Clean Energy Pledge Takes On Multiple Crises Brandon Coan and Gretchen Milliken Metro Councilman, Louisville and Director of Advanced Planning and Sustainability
116 The Post-Election Potential for a 30 Million Solar Home Stimulus John Farrell and Katie Kienbaum Director and Senior Researcher on ILSR’s Energy Democracy Initiative
115 Berkeley Puts Equitable Climate Action on the Ballot Ben Paulos Member of the Berkeley Energy Commission, energy professional
114 Voices of 100%: Gainesville’s Utilities Craft Path to Zero Carbon Adrian Hayes-Santos and Bob Tancig Gainesville City Commissioner and climate advocate
113 Optimistic Pueblo is Outspent in First Attempt at Utility Takeover Jamie Valdez Community Team Coordinator, Mothers Out Front and Volunteer, Sierra Club
112 Voices of 100%: Arkansas City Advances its Energy Action Plan Lioneld Jordan and Peter Nierengarten Mayor and Environmental Director
111 The Secret to Low Cost, Low Carbon Home Heating? Your Water Pipes Jay Egg author, educator, and geothermal consultant
110 Voices of 100%: Midway to Local Goal, Missoula Seeks New Clean Energy Bryan von Lossberg and Dave Strohmaier Missoula City Council President and Missoula County Commissioner
109 Is Energy Still a “Natural Monopoly”? Scott Hempling author, expert witness, lawyer, and law professor
108 Co-op Power Raises the Bar for Community Solar Nationwide Lynn Benander President, Co-op Power
107 Can Southern Cities Sever Ties with Tennessee Valley Monopoly? Maggie Shober Director of Utility Reform, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
106 Voices of 100%: St. Louis Coalition Plans to Put Coal in the Past Rev. Rodrick Burton and Andy Knott Pastor, New Northside Missionary Baptist Church and Senior Campaign Representative, Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign
105 Solar Plus Storage Company Seeks to Disrupt the Status Quo Anne Hoskins Chief Policy Officer, Sunrun
104 Voices of 100%: Pandemic Pauses Clean Energy Planning in Georgia Charles Utley Associate Director, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
103 D.C. Neighbors Unite to Fight for Solar Rights for All Yesenia Rivera Director of Energy Equity and Inclusion, Solar United Neighbors
102 Voices of 100%: Michigan City Sets Steady Pace to a Clean Electricity Goal Amy Shamroe and Tim Werner Mayor Pro Tem and City Commissioner, Traverse City. Both are board members, Traverse City Power and Light.
101 Local Energy Production Builds Resiliency in the Bay Area Jessie Denver Manager of the Distributed Energy Resources Program, East Bay Community Energy
100 Celebrating 100: A Spotlight on 6 Leaders of 100% Renewable Cities John Farrell Co-Director, Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Director, Energy Democracy Initiative
99 In the Wake of Wildfires, California Community Chooses Local Power Matthew Marshall Executive Director, Redwood Coast Energy Authority
98 California Community Ignites Choice Model and Stays in the Driver’s Seat Jessica Tovar Coordinator, East Bay Clean Power Alliance
97 Voices of 100%: A Long Island Town’s Ambitious Plan to Protect its Coasts and Procure Clean Energy John Bouvier Town Council Member, Southampton, N.Y.
96 Oregon Co-op Law Lets Everyday People Invest in Local Renewable Energy Dan Orzech General Manager, Oregon Clean Power Cooperative
95 Community Choice is Just One Strategy for a Sustainable Westchester Nina Orville and Dan Welsh Director of Heat Smart/ Community Solar programs and Director of Westchester Power, Sustainable Westchester
94 Cooperative Ownership Puts Community Solar in the Community Subin DeVar Director of the Community Renewable Energy program at Sustainable Economies Law Center, Oakland, Calif.
93 Voices of 100%: Climate Justice Plan Upends Typical City Process, Putting Communities First Leah Bamberger Director of Sustainability, Providence, R.I.
92 Island Utility Aims for Two-Thirds Renewable Energy by 2020 David Bissell CEO of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative
91 Turkey Talk: Energy Policy and Thanksgiving David Morris and Maria McCoy ILSR Co-founder and Distinguished Fellow, ILSR Research Associate
90 Voices of 100%: When 100% Renewable Electricity Isn’t Enough, Burlington Targets Net Zero Darren Springer and Miro Weinberger General Manager of Burlington Electric, Mayor of Burlington Vermont
89 A New Deal for Electric Co-ops: How Members Can Exercise Ownership to Strengthen Democracy Liz Veazey and Chris Woolery Network Director of We Own It, Residential Energy Coordinator at the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development
88 Voices of 100%: Colorado Town’s Residents and Businesses Join Forces for Clean Energy Monique DiGiorgio and Lissa Ray Managing Director of Local First – La Plata County, Climate Activist
Extra Evaluating the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership, Five Years In Cam Gordon and Alice Madden Minneapolis City Council member and Organizer for Community Power
87 Why Gas Has to Go – And How Cities Can Show it the Door Kate Harrison and Sean Armstrong Berkeley City Councilor and Zero Net Energy Designer/Managing Principal at Redwood Energy
86 Voices of 100%: South Carolina City Tries Green Energy in a Red State Stephen Benjamin Mayor, Columbia, South Carolina
85 From the Archive: South Miami, a Bright Spot for Solar in the Sunshine State Philip Stoddard Mayor, South Miami, Florida
84 Voices of 100%: Will Oklahoma Cities Follow Norman’s Lead to Renewable Energy? Breea Clark Mayor, Norman, Oklahoma
83 The Environment, The Economy, and Equity Denise Fairchild President of Emerald Cities Collaborative
82 Voices of 100%: Cleveland Commits to Clean and Equitable Energy Jocelyn Travis Campaign Manager for Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign, Cleveland
81 Lights Out? Not for This Michigan City Maria Thomas Outreach and organizing coordinator for Soulardarity
80 Voices of 100%: Can Philadelphia and its Suburbs Revolutionize Their Local Energy System? Meenal Raval Organizer for Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign, Southeastern Pennsylvania
79 Voices of 100%: Small Iowa Town Pushes for Energy Independence Chris Ball Community Development Director, City of Bloomfield, Iowa
78 Using Disaster to Build a New, (d)emocratic Energy Paradigm Ingrid Vila Engineer and director of Cambio, member of Queremos Sol Coalition, Puerto Rico
77 A Local First Approach to Rebuilding Puerto Rico’s Electricity System Marcel Castro Sitiriche Professor of electrical engineering and Co-director of Cohemis, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez
76 Voices of 100%: Youth Push Small Minnesota Town to Act on Changing Climate and Invest in Local, Renewable Energy Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux Mayor, Grand Marais, Minn.
75 From the Archive: A David and Goliath Fight to Tap World Class Solar Mariel Nanasi Executive Director, New Energy Economy
74 Why Garbage Incinerators Are A Bad Deal For Communities Marie Donahue and Neil Seldman Research Associate, Energy Democracy Initiative and Co-founder and Director, Waste to Wealth Initiative, Institute for Local Self-Reliance
73 A Massachusetts Town Realizes a Community Vision to Transition from Coal to Sol Lena Entin Deputy Director, Toxics Action Center, and Board Member, Neighbor to Neighbor
72 Don’t-Miss Opportunity for Local Choice in Landmark Carbon-Free Bills Mariel Nanasi Executive Director, New Energy Economy
71 Voices of 100%: Boulder Takes Bold Steps to Support Local Renewable Energy Jonathan Koehn Regional Sustainability Director, City of Boulder, Colo.
70 Planning for Local Energy and Climate Action in Minneapolis Jeremy Schroeder City Councilmember, City of Minneapolis, Minn.
69 Small Minnesota Community Faces David v. Goliath Negotiation for Community Solar Bill Schnell Volunteer, Itasca Clean Energy Team
68 Voices of 100%: Midwestern City Pressures Incumbent Utility to Clean Up Its Act Raj Shukla Chair, Sustainable Madison Committee
67 A ‘Year of 100’ for Local, Renewable Energy in 2018 John Farrell and Marie Donahue Director and Research Associate, Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Energy Democracy Initiative
66 Two Rural Electric Cooperatives Overcome Barriers to Clean, Local Energy Warren McKenna and Luis Reyes Manager and CEOs of Farmers Electric Cooperative (McKenna) and Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (Reyes)
65 Voices of 100%: Abita Springs Fights for Community Solar in Louisiana LeAnn Magee Chair, Abita Committee for Energy Sustainability
64 Solar Co-ops Support Clean Energy Advances in D.C. Anya Schoolman Solar United Neighbors
63 Voices of 100%: Will Portland Voters Opt for New Equitable Clean Energy Fund? Alan Hipólito Executive Director, Verde; Leader, Portland Clean Energy Initiative
62 Voices of 100%: Atlanta Works Toward Clean Energy for All Megan O’Neil Energy Programs Manager, City of Atlanta
61 Voices of 100%: San Diego’s Pathway Forward Cody Hooven Chief Sustainability Officer, City of San Diego
60 Voices of 100%: Shifting the Paradigm toward Renewable Power in Pueblo, Colo. Larry Atencio City Council Member and Mayoral Candidate, City of Pueblo, Colo.
59 A New Credit Union Aims to Lower the Cost of Clean Energy Blake Jones Volunteer Board Chair, Clean Energy Credit Union
58 Voices of 100%: Mayor Dale Ross on Georgetown’s Successful Switch to Renewable Power Dale Ross Mayor, Georgetown, Texas
57 Community Solar With an Equity Lens: Generating Electricity and Jobs in North Minneapolis Timothy DenHerder-Thomas General Manager, Cooperative Energy Futures
56 Ohio Residents Exercise Community Choice to Bill Themselves for Public Solar Mathew Roberts Information and Outreach Director, UpGrade Ohio
55 From the Archive: Anya Schoolman, Executive Director of Solar United Neighbors Anya Schoolman Executive Director, Solar United Neighbors
54 Ballot Initiative Shapes Iowa Town’s Fight for Local Power Andy Johnson and Joel Zook Leaders, Decorah Power
53 South Miami: A Bright Spot for Solar in Sunshine State Philip Stoddard Mayor, South Miami, Fla.
52 Getting San Diego Ready for 100% Renewable Energy Nicole Capretz Executive Director, Climate Action Campaign
Extra John Farrell Delivers Keynote Presentation at Alternative Energy Resources Organization Expo N/A
51 Electric Vehicles Use Local Power to Cut Pollution and Driving Costs John Farrell and Karlee Weinmann Researchers, Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Energy Democracy Initiative
50 In Small-Town Iowa, a Movement to Own the Future Andy Johnson, Joel Zook, and Larry Grimstad Leaders, Decorah Power
49 Declare Energy Independence with Solar (Just Shop Around First) Vikram Aggarwal CEO, EnergySage
48 Amid EV Surge, Austin Eyes a New Way of Doing Business Karl Popham Electric Vehicles Technology Manager, Austin Energy
47 Boulder County Incentive Program Drives Adoption of Two ‘Sexy Electrics’: Solar and Electric Cars Brad Smith Sustainability Outreach and Education Specialist, Boulder County, Colo.
46 Will All New Vehicles Be Electric By 2030? One Expert Says Yes Tony Seba Entrepreneur & Author, Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation
45 Working Together, Small Solar Firms Compete with Big-Name Rivals Stephen Irvin President, Amicus Solar Cooperative
44 Pioneering Community Solar in the Granite State Peter Hansel Investor and Steering Committee Member, Monadnock Food Co-op solar project
43 Westchester Power Puts New York Communities in Charge of Energy Future Glenn Weinberg Former Program Director, Westchester Power
42 Municipal Utility Offers Springboard for Minnesota City’s Energy Vision Michael Wojcik Ward 2 Council-member at City of Rochester, Minn.
41 In New England, Cooperative Values Drive Solar Growth Isaac Baker Founding Member & Vice President for Community Solar at Co-op Power
40 At the Two-Year Mark, Key Takeaways from the Clean Energy Partnership John Farrell Director, Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Energy Democracy Initiative
39 In Santa Fe, Momentum Builds for Locals to Take Charge of Electricity System Mariel Nanasi Executive Direcor of New Energy Economy
Extra John Farrell Gives Keynote Presentation at Midwest Energy Fair NA
38 Mountains Beyond Mountains: How Green Mountain Power Became More Than an Electric Utility Mary Powell CEO of Green Mountain Power
37 Competition and Freedom at Stake Barry Goldwater Jr. Former U.S. Representative from Calif.
36 Utilities Strip Consumers’ Control Over Energy Bills Rick Gilliam Program Director of DG Regulatory Policy
35 Northeast Iowa’s Winneshiek Energy District Shows How Communities Can Capture Local Energy Dollars Andy Johnson Director of Winneshiek Energy District
34 Sunshine and Ownership: A Cooperative Garden Blooms in North Minneapolis Timothy DenHerder Thomas General Manager of Cooperative Energy Futures
33 Freeing the Electric Cooperative from Serfdom? Ed Marston Former Board Member of Delta-Montrose Electric Association
32 A Kansas Electric Cooperative Offers Energy Savings with $0 Down Brian Dreiling Manager of Energy Services of Midwest Energy
31 Members Reviving Atlanta Electric Co-op After CEO Takes Millions Mark Hackett President of Cobb Electric Membership Corporation Forum
Extra John Farrell Gives Plenary Presentation at NESEA NA
30 Microgrids and Regulation with Chris Villarreal Chris Villarreal Director of Policy for Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
29 Clean Coalition’s Community Microgrids Craig Lewis Executive Director of the Clean Coalition
28 Don’t Take the Bait: Exelon’s Ambitions Go Beyond D.C.’s Power Anya Schoolman Executive Director of the Community Power Network
27 Two Decades of Solar Pioneers in Sacramento Brent Sloan Energy Expert at Sacramento Municipal Utility District
26 Solar for All: An Article of Faith Julia Nerbonne Executive Director of Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light
Extra Unanswered Questions from the Public Rooftop Revolution NA
25 Kansas City’s Royal Effort to Solarize City Rooftops Charles Harris Project Manager at Kansas City, Mo.
24 Duking It Out Over Municipal Solar in Raleigh Robert Hinson Renewable Energy Coordinator at Raleigh, N.C.
23B Lancaster: The Leading Solar City? Jason Caudle City Manager at Lancaster, Calif.
23A Same Price, More Renewables. San Diego’s Fight for Community Choice Lane Sharman Chair of the San Diego Energy District Foundation
22 A Deep Dive on Value of Solar and the Future of Solar Energy Karl Rabago Executive Director of Pace Energy and Climate Center
21 One City Utility is Carbon Neutral, Today Jim Stack Senior Resource Planner of Palo Alto Utilities
20 The Power of the Collective Energy Purchasing K.C. Doyle Founder of Prairie State Local Government Sustainability Network
19 The Leading Community Energy Aggregator Dawn Wiesz Executive Director of Marin Clean Energy
18 A Perfect Storm for Renewables Jan TenBruggencate Board Member of Kauai Utility Cooperative
17 How Can Communities Leverage a Better Energy Future? Stephen Fenberg Executive Director of New Era Colorado
16 Millions of People investing in Solar Billy Parish President at Mosaic
15 Envisioning an Innovative Local Electric Utility Ken Regelson Community Organizer in Boulder, Colorado
14 A David and Goliath Fight to Tap World Class Solar Mariel Nanasi Executive Director of New Energy Economy
13 How Solar Saves on Grid Costs Michael Deering Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Long Island Power Authority
12 The #1 Solar Utility is in…Iowa? Warren McKenna Manager at Farmers Electric Cooperative
11 A Once-in-a-Generation Chance to Achieve a City’s Energy Goals John Farrell Senior Researcher, Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Energy Democracy Initiative
10 Vermont’s Standard Offer Renewable Energy Program David Blittersdorf Founder and CEO of All Earth Renewables
9 A Community Solar Gold Standard Joy Hughes Organizer at Solar Gardens Institute
8 Florida City a World Leader in Solar Ed Regan Assistant General Manager for Strategic Planning at Gainesville, Florida
7 600 Investors in South Dakota’s Premier Community Wind Project Brian Minish CEO of South Dakota Wind Partners
6 Paul Spencer and the Community Solar ‘Holy Grail’ Paul Spencer Founder and President of Clean Energy Collective
5 Susan Osborne and Boulder’s Clean Energy Takeover Susan Osborne Former Mayor of Boulder, Colorado
4 Randy Caviness and Community Wind in Iowa Randy Caviness Member of Green Energy Farmers
3 Steve Johnson of Convergence Energy in Wisconsin Steve Johnson Vice President of Business Development at Convergence Energy
2 Bill Moyer from the Backbone Campaign in Washington Bill Moyer Community Organizer of the Backbone Campaign
1 Anya Schoolman from the Mount Pleasant Solar Cooperative Anya Schoolman Director of Community Power Network