Release: Solar and Energy Storage Threatens Utility Business Models, Enables Energy Democracy

Date: 17 Jul 2018 | posted in: Press Release | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

What happens to an electric utility when its big bets on new power plants are undercut by customers producing their own power from solar and storing it in cost-effective batteries?

Hundreds of utility power plants could become stranded assets if electric customers pursue these affordable alternatives to utility provided power, undercutting a century of the traditional “bigger is better” electric utility business model. The latest report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance details how battery storage literally and figuratively reverses the grid’s power flow and puts customers in charge. It offers policymakers, utilities, and individuals a roadmap of rules to capture this opportunity for energy democracy and save everyone money.… Read More

Reverse Power Flow: How Solar+Batteries Shift Electric Grid Decision Making from Utilities to Consumers

Date: 17 Jul 2018 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

For 100 years, most decisions about the U.S. electric grid have been made at the top by electric utilities, public regulators, and grid operators. That era has ended, and our report details how the collective impact of individual consumers installing solar-plus-storage reverses the flow of power on the electricity grid.… Read More

Of New Power Generation, How Much is on the Roof? Quarterly Update — 2018 Q1

Date: 12 Jul 2018 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Using the latest available national data on new power generation through the first quarter of 2018, this recent analysis from ILSR’s Energy Democracy Initiative illustrates how renewable energy and small-scale, distributed solar stack up against utility-scale and fossil fuel power plants in supplying the new electricity capacity for the nation.… Read More

Being a B Corp also Benefits Green Mountain Power’s Bottom Line

Date: 26 Jun 2018 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Conventional wisdom suggests that concerns about social and environmental impacts, though well-intended, can distract from a public company’s legal obligation to reward shareholders. But if this conventional wisdom were true, Vermont’s Green Mountain Power ought to be lagging behind its investor-owned electric utility peers. Instead, this certified B Corp is promoting people, planet, and profit, and jumping ahead of its utility industry peers. … Read More

An Open Letter to California Energy Commissioners on the Rooftop Solar Mandate

Date: 22 Jun 2018 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

The conventional wisdom in electricity generation is that scale matters. But this outdated notion rests on the assumption that electricity generators compete only in the wholesale market. California’s nearly 1 million solar roofs already producing power provide the factual counterpunch to this myth, but so does ample research on the economies of scale and the price of competition in the wind and solar markets.… Read More

Community Power State Scorecard Comparison — 2018 vs. 2017

Date: 22 May 2018 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Earlier this spring, ILSR released its 2018 Community Power State Scorecard, revealing the best and worst states for local clean energy across the country. Did many states improve on their 2017 score? In this new comparison of state rankings, we take a closer look at which states have taken the lead, which are improving, and which have a lot more to do when it comes to creating a policy landscape that enables distributed energy.… Read More

The State(s) of Distributed Solar — 2017 Update

Date: 14 May 2018 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Across the country, more states than ever are making solar energy—and distributed solar at that—a key part of their energy mix. But where have these gains been greatest, and what are the economic implications for residents from one state to the next? To answer these questions, an updated analysis of solar markets, using annual data from 2017, takes a closer look at the state-by-state share of distributed solar, highlighting which states have taken the lead to prioritize small-scale, local energy systems.… Read More

Supporting Affordable Residential Access to Community Solar in Minnesota

Date: 3 May 2018 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In April, ILSR submitted comments in support of affordable residential access to community solar for review by Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission. These comments concerned a proposed residential adder framework outlined as part of the state’s community solar program and Minnesota Department of Commerce Value of Solar calculation. We argue that, in a recent analysis submitted to the Commission by Xcel Energy, the utility exaggerated costs likely to be incurred under this new framework. Our comments support those made by allies such as Cooperative Energy Futures and advocate for adder calculations that ensure financeability and broad participation among residential subscribers to the state’s community solar program.… Read More

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