A widening chasm between what customers want and what Santa Fe’s electric utility delivers is bolstering a campaign to rejigger power production and distribution, possibly putting the city itself in charge. The municipalization campaign, years in the making, comes as the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) leans on a long-term strategy that shortchanges renewables, … Read More
“We just need to become the Ben and Jerry’s of the utility world!” So said Mary Powell (pictured left), CEO and president of Green Mountain Power, as she announced in 2014 that her electric utility had just earned B Corp certification, making it one of more than 1,700 companies in the world committed to rigorous standards … Read More
Incentives designed to make rooftop solar feasible for a wider range of consumers are under attack nationwide, threatening new solar development as well as the consumers that already have rooftop panels. The staunchest opponents? Utilities who say, despite a growing body of research to the contrary, that rooftop solar hurts other ratepayers and their bottom lines. … Read More
A surge of interest in residential solar arrays threatens traditional utilities’ outdated business model of selling more and more electricity, prompting them to adopt a controversial fee that hurts efficiency and diminishes long-range cost savings — even for themselves. Mandatory fixed fees on utility bills force consumers to pay up no matter how much, or how … Read More
Andy Johnson works with the soil. When younger, he served in Peace Corps in Central America for three years, working on conservation practices. Then he worked in the Natural Resource Conservation Service for years, the same agency that his father Paul Johnson headed by appointment from Bill Clinton in 1993. After moving back to northeast Iowa in 2007, he started farming christmas trees and grass-fed beef cows, but thinking about how the concept of conservation applied to his community’s energy use and economy.… Read More
One such model is offered by Cooperative Energy Futures. It launched in Minneapolis in 2009 under the leadership of Timothy DenHerder-Thomas (pictured, left), offering members energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy installations on their own property. Now, thanks in part to a 2013 state law, they’re offering members an opportunity to “own” a share of a community solar garden atop a North Minneapolis church.
In September 2015, DenHerder-Thomas stopped by ILSR’s studio to talk with John Farrell about the Shiloh Temple Community Solar Garden, and what community-owned power means for the energy industry and everyday people.… Read More
This week Ed Marston, former board member of the Delta-Montrose Electric Association in western Colorado, joins John Farrell on Local Energy Rules to talk about the electric cooperative world. He highlights the good, the bad, and what his and other cooperatives are doing to spur clean energy investment in a region that so desperately needs local economic development.… Read More
On-bill financing is not new. The Tennessee Valley Authority has offered it for years. More recently, numerous municipal utilities and electric cooperatives have created programs. But Midwest Energy, on the prairies of western Kansas, might have the best track record.
Brian Dreiling, manager of energy services at Midwest Energy, shared his utility’s story with Local Energy Rules this week, explaining the on-bill program, what makes it successful, and how an investment in the member-owner’s home is an investment in the utility.… Read More
Cobb EMC serves around 175,000 member-owners just outside of Atlanta, Ga., and is one of 900 member-owned electric cooperatives in the United States. Mark Hackett, president of member-driven Cobb EMC Forum, joins John Farrell this week to talk about how an engaged membership continues to be essential to defending the vitality of a locally owned electric company.… Read More