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Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 24, 2017

Dumb and Dumber: Looking Beyond the Department of Energy’s Flawed “Baseload” Study

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/dumb-and-dumber-beyond-doe-baseload-study/

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Department of Energy commissioned a study purportedly about grid reliability. In reality, it’s more likely the study is a fishing expedition searching for ways to buttress fossil fuel contributors to and allies of the Trump administration — folks squeezed by competition from less costly wind and solar power. Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Karlee Weinmann | No Comments | Updated on Dec 26, 2016

New Year’s Resolutions for Electric Utilities, Happy 2017!

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/2017-electric-utility-resolutions/

The turn of the year is a perfect time for monopoly electric utilities nationwide to reflect on their substandard policies and embrace changes that will bring cleaner, more affordable energy to their customers. By finally committing to truly support distributed generation and renewables, these utilities can ensure their customers will have the choice and freedom… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 3, 2016

Why is Green Pricing a Premium When Wind Power is Cheap?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/why-is-green-pricing-a-premium-when-wind-power-is-cheap/

Ten years ago, a North Dakota cooperative stopped charging customers a premium for getting energy from the wind, because they found it wasn’t costing anything extra. The cooperative, like many utilities, used a “green pricing” program that allowed customers to voluntarily pay more to get their energy solely from renewable resources. Dozens of utilities still… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 20, 2016

Why Going Local Makes Sense for the Clean Energy Transition

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/why-going-local-makes-sense-for-the-clean-energy-transition/

This is a response to a Forbes commentary published last week, by Steve Cicala In his commentary last week, Steve Cicala fell into a common trap for economists analyzing the electricity system. Touting what economics calls competitive advantage, Mr Cicala suggests we pursue the lowest price by taking cheap solar electricity from the Southwest, wind… Continue reading

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

New Fossil Fuel Power Plants: Assets or Liabilities?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/new-fossil-fuel-power-plants-assets-or-liabilities/

In any conversation about the transition to a renewable energy economy, solar and wind advocates will eventually come up against the term “stranded assets.” It’s a misleading term, usually deployed in defense of legacy fossil fuel power plants (and their owners). But as times change, “stranded assets” can be redefined and in the next few… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 28, 2015

A Plan B for Every Monopoly Electric Utility?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/a-plan-b-for-every-monopoly-electric-utility/

Electric companies seemingly face a business “death spiral” because the 20th century rules for the electric grid make it a challenge to address stagnant energy demand and competition from energy-producing customers. The result is a utility-funded war on solar and other distributed power, and retrenchment on last century’s business model as many utilities try to… Continue reading

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

Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 3, 2015

Kansas City’s Royal Effort to Solarize City Rooftops – Episode 25 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/kansas-citys-royal-effort-to-solarize-city-rooftops/

Kansas City, MO, has neither the abundant sunshine nor high cost of electricity that have driven solar installations in other cities. Despite this, the city has close to 1.5 MW of solar in 59 separate installations on municipal properties. Thanks to utility rebates, two department leaders, and a unique opportunity that allowed it to access… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on May 26, 2015

The Hole in Brian Potts’ WSJ Critique of the “Solar-Panel Craze.”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/the-hole-in-brian-potts-wsj-critique-of-the-solar-panel-craze/

In his Sunday Wall Street Journal commentary on May 17, Brian Potts suggests that cost is the bottom line in the electric customer shift to solar, and that rooftop solar costs too much. But his defense of the utility’s view of energy costs leaves a big hole in the big picture: the value of solar… Continue reading