One of the most positive and interesting developments in sustainability is the spread of distributed power generation — small, locally rooted projects built and maintained by the communities they serve.
According to Ted Bernhard at Clean Edge, this stuff is just on the verge of taking off:
… today the U.S. finds itself on the verge of another new wave of thinking that incorporates the lessons of the past, but goes beyond merely addressing cost and environmental concerns and seeking maximum output. This new model, which is gradually and quietly rolling into communities across the country, is the distributed "community renewables" model, in which new power projects are smaller and tightly integrated with local communities and local resources in a way that the economics become more favorable and communities are able to participate directly in some of the benefits.
Check out Bernhard’s piece, where he describes the three characteristics that distinguish these projects from their larger centralized brethren. Juicy stuff.