In New Op-Ed, ILSR’s John Farrell Notes Major Shifts in Technology and Decision-making Power Are Transforming Energy Sector

Date: 19 Oct 2018 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States, Media Coverage | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In early October, ILSR’s John Farrell wrote an op-ed for PV Magazine, illustrating how important shifts in both technology and decision-making are transforming the energy sector with significant implications for how to generate electricity and regulate public utilities.

Drawing on research from Reverse Power Flow, a report published earlier this year, and other ILSR analyses, Farrell provides key trends in solar plus storage to demonstrate how decentralized, distributed generation resources are much better long-term investments than new natural gas or other centralized fossil fuel plants. He outlines four recommendation across local, regional, and state levels for ensuring communities can benefit fully from this reversal in how power, both literally and figuratively, flows in the energy sector.

Electric utilities rely on long planning horizons. Traditionally, they favored building large power plants and high voltage transmission lines, paid off over a generation. Many still do. Federal agencies report that power plant owners plan to build over 60 gigawatts of new gas power plant capacity over the next four years alone.


But while utilities and regulators plan to spend tens of billions of dollars on large power plants, millions of customers are building their own generating capacity… It also suggests a major reversal of energy sector decision-making power.

Read the full op-ed, here.

In addition to this latest commentary, be sure to explore the in-depth Reverse Power Flow: How Solar+Batteries Shift Electric Grid Decision Making from Utilities to Consumers report, and watch the corresponding webinar recording “Shifting Power from Utilities to Consumers via Solar Plus Batteries.”

This article originally posted at For timely updates, follow John Farrell or Marie Donahue on Twitter, our energy work on Facebook, or sign up to get the Energy Democracy weekly update.

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Marie Donahue

Marie Donahue was a Research Associate with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Energy Democracy and Independent Business Initiatives in 2018-2019. She analyzed and wrote about the implications of corporate concentration and monopoly in these sectors.