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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 25, 2016

Pursuing Grid Modernization in a Monopoly Model

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/pursuing-grid-modernization-in-a-monopoly-model/

How can a state modernize its electric system when it’s in the hands of vertically integrated monopolies? We offer some thoughts via its comments on a Grid Modernization docket being reviewed by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Background: the grid modernization docket is a relatively new requirement, asking the state’s largest investor-owned utility to explain… Continue reading

Featured Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Matt Grimley | No Comments | Updated on Mar 3, 2016

Report: Mighty Microgrids

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/report-mighty-microgrids/

Communities all over the country are finding ways to break the macro barriers to microgrids. As we flip from a top-down to bottom-up grid management structure, major policy barriers must be lifted in order to expand energy democracy to customers and producers. DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT   Executive Summary The electric grid is no longer… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 28, 2015

A Plan B for Every Monopoly Electric Utility?

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/a-plan-b-for-every-monopoly-electric-utility/

Electric companies seemingly face a business “death spiral” because the 20th century rules for the electric grid make it a challenge to address stagnant energy demand and competition from energy-producing customers. The result is a utility-funded war on solar and other distributed power, and retrenchment on last century’s business model as many utilities try to… Continue reading

Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Oct 6, 2015

Report: Hawai’i at the Energy Crossroads

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/report-renewable-hawaii/

UNDER THE SPECTER OF A MAINLAND UTILITY TAKEOVER, ISLANDERS MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN A LEGACY OF LARGE CENTRALIZED POWER OR A BURGEONING NETWORK OF DISTRIBUTED ENERGY Matt Grimley and John Farrell October 2015 DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT Executive Summary On the one hand: Sky-high electricity prices. A 20th century electricity system burning fuel oil and controlled… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on May 15, 2015

Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 4 “Next Steps”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/beyond-utility-2-0-part-4-next-steps/

Principles, Structure, and Policies of Energy Democracy Energy democracy can best be described as an electricity system that empowers the individuals and communities that have the energy resources of the 21st century (e.g. wind and solar) to economically benefit from their use. It shares the principles of utility 2.0 – an efficient, low- carbon, and… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on May 7, 2015

Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 3 “The Future”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/beyond-utility-2-0-part-3-the-future/

Unfortunately for utilities, new technology and commercial opportunities in the coming years will only increase the threat to the 1.0 business model. Solar energy is growing exponentially as costs have fallen 28% per year from 2009-2013, and electricity from rooftops is approaching or passing parity with utility prices.63 This is the third of four parts of… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Apr 29, 2015

Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 2 “The Present”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/beyond-utility-2-0-part-2-the-present/

Aggressive state policy and cost reductions for clean energy have created two business model crises for electric utilities: stagnant sales and exponentially rising production from distributed renewable sources. This is the second of four parts of our Beyond Utility 2.0 to Energy Democracy report being published in serial.  To see the first post, click here. Download the entire… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Apr 22, 2015

Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 1 “A Prelude to the Future”

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/beyond-utility-2-0-part-1-prelude/

The U.S. electricity system is undergoing the biggest change in its 130-­year history. The scale of electricity generation is rapidly shrinking, from coal and nuclear power plants that can power a million homes to solar and wind power plants that power a few to a few hundred nearby homes. Electricity demand has leveled off, so… Continue reading

Article, Resource filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 6, 2015

Watch: Unveiling the Five Pillars of Energy Democracy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/unveiling-pillars-energy-democracy/

Exciting changes are on the horizon for our century-old utility structure as solar power, energy storage, and electric vehicles open new avenues for utility customers to produce their own power and control their energy use. Utilities are scrambling to remain relevant in this technological firestorm, and energy wonks are envisioning a new business model––Utility 2.0––that… Continue reading

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Feb 6, 2015

Are We Sunk? The Electric Utility’s Titanic Problem

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/electric-utility-titanic-problem/

In my recent report on the utility business model of the future, I laid out 5 pillars of a democratic energy system. It’s hard not to notice the contrast between this vision of the future and the 15-year business plan laid out by Xcel Energy in Minnesota, the incumbent monopoly serving about half the state’s… Continue reading