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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 18, 2017

Why Minnesota’s Community Solar Program is the Best

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

Update November 2016: From now on, we’ll keep the most recent data on the program’s development in this post I’ve been asked a lot of questions about Minnesota’s community solar program over the past couple years and it’s time to make one thing clear: Minnesota’s program is the best in the country. Why? Because there… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Karlee Weinmann | No Comments | Updated on Sep 11, 2017

Get Charged Up About Drive Electric Week

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

Electric vehicle sales are surging, and the trend shows no signs of stopping — particularly as the battery technology that powers them enables longer trips and comes at a lower cost. The first electric cars hit the market more than 100 years ago, but this time, there’s plenty of reasons to believe they’re not only… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Aug 15, 2017

Energy and Policy Institute Exposes Three Ways Electric Utilities Stomp Innovation and Competition

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/energy-and-policy-institute-exposes-three-ways-electric-utilities-stomp-innovation-and-competition/

If you work to secure Americans’ rights to solar energy or to accelerate the deployment of inexpensive renewable energy, you understand that not everyone is in favor. In particular, incumbent electric utilities tend to oppose competition in their (often monopoly) share of the electricity market. Where competition exists, it is plagued by unfairness. Below, we… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Karlee Weinmann | No Comments | Updated on Jul 12, 2017

Slow-to-Accelerate EV Charging Program Provides Lessons for Improvement

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/xcel-energy-ev-charging-minnesota/

Minnesota’s largest investor-owned utility, Xcel Energy, last month reported sparse participation in a program designed to deliver value to customers who charge their electric vehicles when it’s most convenient for the grid. But despite its benefits for the grid and cost savings for customers, the initiative appears stuck in neutral.

By April 2017, a year and a half after its launch, just 95 Xcel customers had opted in to the state-mandated electric vehicle charging tariff. With nearly 1,000 plug-in vehicles registered to Minnesota drivers — a bulk of them likely in Xcel’s metro-area territory — participation numbers hover well below reasonable expectations. Why? Continue reading

Featured Article, Report, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jun 7, 2017

Report: Choosing the Electric Avenue – Unlocking Savings, Emissions Reductions, and Community Benefits of Electric Vehicles

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

The U.S. vehicle market will undergo a massive technology disruption from electric vehicles in the coming decades. Many analysts see the potential for surging sales of these efficient vehicles to enable smart grid management, but few have explored the local impact of electric vehicles: promoting energy democracy. Electric vehicles offer a natural use for solar energy, a pathway to pump more local solar power onto the grid, and a source of resilient power when the grid goes down. Ultimately, electric vehicles are another tool to miniaturize the electricity system, providing unprecedented local control.

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Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Jun 20, 2016

ILSR’s Distributed Solar Capacity Quarterly Update (2016 Q1)

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/ilsrs-distributed-solar-capacity-quarterly-update-2016-q1/

Solar made up over a half of the added power plant capacity during the first quarter of 2016. With over 800 MW (AC) coming from distributed solar, this year is shaping up to be another banner year for renewable energy. See previous updates: 2015 Q4, 2015 Q3, 2015 Q2, 2015 Q1, 2014 Q4, 2014 Q3, 2014 Q2 Distributed… 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 Mar 25, 2016

Pursuing Grid Modernization in a Monopoly Model

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/pursuing-grid-modernization-in-a-monopoly-model/

How can a state modernize its electric system when it’s in the hands of vertically integrated monopolies? We offer some thoughts via its comments on a Grid Modernization docket being reviewed by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Background: the grid modernization docket is a relatively new requirement, asking the state’s largest investor-owned utility to explain… Continue reading

Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 14, 2016

ILSR’s Distributed Solar Capacity Quarterly Update (2015 Q4)

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/ilsrs-distributed-solar-capacity-quarterly-update-2015-q4/

It was the biggest quarter ever for solar, which supplied one-third of over 7.3 gigawatts of new power plant capacity added to the grid. Distributed solar kept pace, with 832 megawatts (AC) added in the last three months of 2015! Important note: in prior versions of this update I made an error, forgetting to covert… Continue reading

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