Updating Minnesota’s Dated Distributed Generation Tariff

Date: 1 Oct 2020 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In this testimony sent to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, John Farrell explains why the state’s 2001 distributed generation tariff has come up short and deserves an update.… Read More

Why it’s Short-Sighted to do Centralized Planning in a Decentralizing Electricity Grid

Date: 11 May 2020 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

With financial rewards tied to building big, utilities overlook distributed energy resources like rooftop solar. This essay, written to advise utility regulators in Michigan, has implications for utility resource planning nationwide.… Read More

Report: An Alternative to Electricity Monopolies Enables Communities to Center People and Planet

Date: 19 Feb 2020 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This report examines community choice energy, a policy giving cities and counties the right to purchase energy on behalf of electricity customers. Enabled in 9 states, community choice agencies are revolutionizing the utility model by offering cheaper, cleaner energy that aligns with local goals.… Read More

Letter Supporting an Accurate Value of Solar

Date: 4 Nov 2019 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

The following letter to regulators in Kentucky shares ILSR’s experience with value of solar policy, including the key categories of value to assess, the importance of a utility-independent methodology, the tension between accuracy and usefulness in setting prices, and what to expect from previous exercises in other states.… Read More

Ejecting the Power Line Foxes from the Electric Customer Henhouse

Date: 24 Jun 2014 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 2 Facebooktwitterredditmail

The neighbors of the proposed Badger-Coulee high-voltage line in Wisconsin are like those in many other parts of the country, upset that their utility will construct 200-foot steel towers across their region and through their property (they have some other … Read More

How Solar Saves on Grid Costs – Episode 13 of Local Energy Rules Podcast

Date: 19 Dec 2013 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States, Podcast | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

“We can avoid that $100 million investment in transmission lines, distribution lines, in capital infrastructure…” How can a utility like Long Island Power Authority avoid all that new capital expenditure?  Find out in this interview with Vice President of Environmental … Read More

Community-Owned Transmission?

Date: 15 Nov 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

The enormous growth in local renewable energy is decentralizing the electricity system, often supplanting energy from centralized power plants.  But not all renewable energy is built locally, even in a country like Germany with massive local ownership of its renewable … Read More

Distributed Generation Hits Sweet Spot in Cost v. Transmission

Date: 24 Feb 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Update 3/27/12: added clarification to text and chart that prices include federal tax incentives If the cost of electricity were the only factor in energy discussions, we’d probably have a lot more coal and a lot less renewable energy.  But … Read More

California Governor to Western Grid: No Imports of Renewable Energy Needed

Date: 23 Sep 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Western grid operators have been making plans for large-scale renewable energy imports into the California electricity market, prompting the governor’s Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy Facilities to write a “self-reliance” response.

Here are a few highlights of his letter to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC):

California has plenty of in-state development: “The California Independent System Operator indicates that renewable projects totaling 70,000 MW of installed capacity [nearly enough to meet all of the state’s peak summer demand] are seeking to connect to the CAISO-managed grid.”

Transmission costs are up, waaay up.  In particular, “the developer of at least one significant line, TransWest Express, expects the project to cost about 70 percent more than WECC’s original assumptions…we thus appreciate the ongoing efforts of WECC staff to review these and other assumptions and to revise capital cost assumptions upward.”

Transmission line risks: “transmission lines proposed to stretch hundreds of miles over private and public lands face significant permitting and development risk – perhaps most so in the case of DC lines, which offer few electrical benefits to the states they cross.”

In summary, California has a robust in-state market for renewable energy and sufficient in-state renewable resources to serve its entire electricity needs, so Western states would do well to temper their export optimism.

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