New Report: Rooftop Revolution Changes Everything with Cost-Effective Local Solar

Date: 21 Mar 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States, Press Release | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Within ten years, 100 million Americans in the nation’s largest cities will be able to get cheaper electricity from rooftop solar than their utility provides. That’s just the opening salvo from a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Rooftop Revolution: Changing Everything with Cost-Effective Solar,” not only illustrates the enormous, emerging potential for local solar power, but also describes how the rules of the electricity system must change now for the electricity system to be ready for the decade’s energy democracy opportunity.… Read More

Refundable Federal Tax Credit Could Remove Barrier to Community Wind

Date: 8 Mar 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 1 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Update 3/9/12:Turns out I would be a lousy tax attorney and that the form of tax credit does not affect the passive loss rules. What if a small change in federal renewable energy policy could make community wind development easier? … Read More

Listen: John Farrell Talks Renewable Energy Incentives and Boulder’s Municipal Energy Effort with Tom McKinnon on KGNU

Date: 15 Dec 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States, Media Coverage | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In this short interview on KGNU’s science show – How on Earth– with Tom McKinnon, we talk about: the problems presented for local ownership of energy resources when federal incentives use the tax code, the trouble for clean energy when … Read More

Federal Tax Credits Handcuff Clean Energy Development

Date: 5 Dec 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 2 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Clean energy advocates should cast aside their worries about increasing Republican scrutiny of energy subsidies.  The clean energy industry’s foolish reliance on tax incentives has already handcuffed its expansion. Unlike the leading nations in the clean energy race, the United … Read More

Bigger Subsidies Make Bigger Solar a Bad Bet

Date: 18 Nov 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Americans seem unable to resist big things, and solar power plants are no exception. There may be no reasoning with an affinity for all things “super sized,” but the economics of large scale solar projects (and the unwelcome public scrutiny) … Read More

Community Wind Act: More Locally Owned Wind Power

Date: 10 Nov 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Wind TurbineThe use of the tax code has long made the federal wind power incentives something of a bane for community wind power.  Finding strategies to use the passive-income-only Production Tax Credit has made community wind developers do legal acrobatics to structure deals with tax equity partners that can use the credits.

Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Jon Tester (D-MT) hope to make community wind easier with the Community Wind Act.

The bill, introduced in late October 2011, would extend an existing 30% investment tax credit (ITC) for very small wind (100 kilowatts and smaller) to wind projects up to 20 megawatts in size.  Since the ITC doesn’t require passive income, it may be easier for community wind developers to use the credit internally or to find tax equity partners closer to home. 

Brian Minish, whose company Val-Add Services helped develop the innovative South Dakota Wind Partners community wind project, believes that the Community Wind Act could make a big difference: 

We strongly support the Franken-Tester Community wind bill so other groups like ours have the opportunity to build competitive wind farm projects.  Not needing to have investors with passive income to be able to utilize the production tax credits to take advantage of the federal incentive helped our project be successful.

The Wind Partners project brought together over 600 local farmers and South Dakota residents to own seven utility-scale wind turbines in a 10.5 megawatt wind project and utilized the short-lived cash grant in lieu of the Production Tax Credit.  With the Community Wind Act, Wind Partners could more easily be replicated.

Click here for the full bill (pdf) or a 1-page summary from Sen. Franken’s office.  Click here to track S. 1741 on Govtrack.

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Overcoming the Roadblocks: Democratizing the Electricity System

Date: 21 Jul 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

A serialized version of our new report, Democratizing the Electricity System, Part 5 of 5. Click here for: Part 1 (The Electric System: Inflection Point) Part 2 (The Economics of Distributed Generation) Part 3 (The Political and Technical Advantages of … Read More

Regulatory Roadblocks to Democratizing the Electricity System

Date: 14 Jul 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

A serialized version of our new report, Democratizing the Electricity System, Part 4 of 5. Click here for: Part 1 (The Electric System: Inflection Point) Part 2 (The Economics of Distributed Generation) Part 3 (The Political and Technical Advantages of … Read More

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