It was a squeaker. With 85% of votes cast, the outlook for Boulder’s quest to control its energy future seemed dimmer than it had since 2011. The nays were up by 100 votes, in favor of ending funding for the city’s effort to take over its electric utility and bolster locally-produced renewable energy. A late… Continue reading
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This article was originally published in Greentech Media on November 6th, 2017. Puerto Rico’s history of intervention and mismanagement created a financially disastrous backdrop for Hurricane Maria. On September 20, Hurricane Maria swept across Puerto Rico, destroying its electricity grid. The storm felled half of the cross-island transmission towers. Nine out of 10 back-alley power poles blew… Continue reading
This op-ed was originally published in Next City on October 31st, 2017. As local economies suffer from market concentration in economic sectors ranging from retail to banking, cooperatives across industries are helping to strengthen communities and keep resources local. This is nothing new; cooperatives have a long history of serving local needs. Today, the cooperative ownership… Continue reading
A citizen-led effort to establish in a city-run electric utility in the small northeast Iowa community of Decorah is picking up steam, with advocates — including some local officials — forecasting significant local economic growth powered by the transition. Decorah, with about 8,000 residents, is tucked in the northwest corner of Iowa just south of… Continue reading
Electric vehicles are enabling energy democracy.
That’s the takeaway from the latest Building Local Power podcast episode, a discussion between guest host and Communications Manager Nick Stumo-Langer, Energy Democracy initiative director John Farrell, and Energy Democracy initiative researcher Karlee Weinmann. The conversation features a number of topics, including: the trajectory electric vehicles hold in renewable energy technology, generally; the ways that cities in the wake of recent hurricanes can rebuild to better weather the storms thanks to energy resiliency; and how residents of cities, large and small, can pressure their communities to enact better policies. Continue reading
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
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
As energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies continue to improve both functionally and economically, Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings are spreading in communities around the country. The energy savings and environmental benefits of ZNE buildings, which produce as much energy using on-site renewables as they consume, are catching the attention of city leaders, regulators, and… Continue reading
If you’re reading energy news of late, you might have come across three new ways that forces are aligning against local renewable energy. State governments are increasingly pre-empting local authority on a range of issues, including energy. Utility companies are undercutting state regulation with their legislative lobbyists. And utilities are also bringing their monopoly market power to bear in previously competitive markets.
In this week’s episode of Building Local Power we interview Debbie Dooley, President of Conservatives for Energy Freedom and co-founder of the Green Tea Coalition in the southern United States. Dooley’s organizations promote “consumer choice in the energy field” to “provide competition” and stop monopolies from limiting their customer’s options in renewable energy. The Green… Continue reading