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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 23, 2016

Being Black Still a Barrier to Rural Cooperative Board Membership

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/being-black-still-a-barrier-to-rural-cooperative-board-membership/

In 1984, the New York Times ran a story highlighting the almost universally white boards of directors among 300 Southern electric cooperatives serving populations with thousands of African American member-owners: According to Oleta G. Fitzgerald, a staff lawyer with the [Southern Regional Council], a survey of 300 cooperatives in Southern states showed no more than… 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

Rural Farmland in America
Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Mar 11, 2016

Are Rural Electric Cooperatives Driving or Just Dabbling in Community Solar?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/rural-electric-and-cooperatives-community-solar/

Electric cooperatives, member-owned organizations that sell electricity to those within their service area, are perhaps the nation’s largest group of utilities that could champion clean, local power. They tend to cover enormous swaths of the most rural territory, often with excellent wind and solar resources. In one manner of renewable energy, cooperatives are leading the… Continue reading

destruction of a brick wall
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 28, 2015

Did FERC Just Smash the Biggest Roadblock to Clean, Local Power for Electric Co-ops?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/did-ferc-just-smash-the-biggest-roadblock-to-clean-local-power-for-electric-co-ops/

Because they only sell 11% of the country’s electricity and they largely overlap politically conservative areas, electric cooperatives are often the forgotten stepchild of the clean energy movement. But with 7 of the top 10 dirtiest power systems (as measured by carbon intensity) and territory that overlaps some of the best renewable energy resources in the country,… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 10 Comments | Updated on Aug 18, 2014

Why Aren’t Rural Electric Cooperatives Champions of Local Clean Power?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/rural-electric-cooperatives-champions-local-clean-power/

When it comes to ownership, there are few better structures for keeping a community’s wealth local than a cooperative. So why is it that America’s rural electric cooperatives are tethered to dirty, old coal-fired power plants instead of local-wealth generating renewable power? There are a lot of answers to this question, but it might start… Continue reading

john farrell presenting at electrons on the run 2014
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Apr 10, 2014

Watch: How Democratic Energy Fits the Rural Electric Philosophy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/democratic-energy-fits-rural-electric-philosophy/

The following presentation was given by ILSR’s Director of Democratic Energy John Farrell at the Electrons on the Run mini-conference in Alexandria, MN, on March 12, 2014.  The presentation illustrates how distributed renewable energy in the 21st century fits the rural electric utility philosophy of self-reliance and local economic development, just as providing local electricity… Continue reading

KIUC lineman and truck
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 21, 2014

A Perfect Storm for Renewables – Episode 18 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/perfect-storm-renewables-episode-18-local-energy-rules/

“We have a perfect storm for renewables,” says Jan TenBruggencate, second-term board member of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative. The Hawaiian utility, made local when the investor-owned utility left the business a decade ago, is surging toward 40% renewable energy in the next year, with a third of that total from customer-generated solar. Half its… Continue reading

farmers electric cooperative IA
Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Dec 5, 2013

The #1 Solar Utility is in…Iowa? – Episode 12 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/1-solar-utility-in-iowa-episode-12-local-energy-rules/

It may be one of the oldest cooperative utilities in the country, but in the next six months, Farmers Electric Cooperative (FEC) of southeastern Iowa will be leading the nation in this 21st century energy source. Upon completion of a new solar array, the 640-member cooperative will have over 1,500 Watts of solar per customer… Continue reading

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Jan 16, 2013

Anya Schoolman – Episode 1 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/anya-schoolman-episode-1-local-energy-rules-podcast/

What began as a group of neighbors hoping to reduce their impact on global warming has since become a major force for solar advocacy in Washington, DC. The Mount Pleasant Solar Cooperative was started by two teenage boys who wanted to make solar power convenient and affordable through a bulk-purchase program. Along the way, the… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 13 Comments | Updated on Sep 7, 2012

Minnesota’s First Community Solar Project is Minnesota-Made

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

Update 12/20/12: This project includes battery storage. Just last month, the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association, serving communities just north and west of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, announced Minnesota’s first community solar project.  The 40 kW solar array will be located at the cooperative’s headquarters, with members allowed to purchase individual panels in the project… Continue reading