John Farrell

John Farrell is the author of Energy Self-Reliant States and a senior researcher at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, where he focuses on renewable energy policy.

Four Charts Provide Distributed Solar Lessons from California

A new study for the California Public Utilities Commission explores the “Technical Potential for Local Distributed Photovoltaics in California.”  Basically, it’s one of the more in-depth analyses of local solar power in the country, suggesting that California has the capacity …

Climate & Energy

Crowdfunding helps community power become reality

The JOBS Act may finally allow thousands of regular folks to make a modest return by investing in local renewable energy projects.

Can PACE Local Energy Financing Come Back?

It can with your help; submit a comment to the FHFA by Thursday, Sept. 13! After effectively suspending residential PACE energy efficiency and renewable energy municipal financing programs in 2010 and then being taken to federal court and required to …

Phase-Out of the Federal Wind Tax Credit a Good Thing?

Energy and Environment News has a very long story on a new angle for the federal wind tax credit debate: a phaseout. This article raises several issues, apart from that policy strategy, that are worth a quick discussion. 1. Why …

Could Minneapolis Get Cleaner Energy With a Utility Takeover?

As we spoke to legislators and activists roaming the halls of the State Capitol this past legislative session, it became increasingly clear that Xcel Energy and other utilities are calling the shots for our energy future. They decide which bills …

Are the Batteries Ready? 100% Clean Energy Requires Progress on Storage

In the long run, there’s no avoiding energy storage for a 100% renewable energy society.  The two major sources of renewable power are wind and sun, and they are either fickle or reliably not available at night. The problem is …

Hawaii Drives Past Solar Power Cost Barrier, Surprised by Additional Roadblocks

Solar has crossed a major threshold in Hawaii.  The state’s homes and businesses can cut their electric bills with unsubsidized solar power, but are also discovering that cheap solar is not a panacea.  As the tide of solar costs has …

Could Securitization Democratize Solar Power?

After Wall Street popularized the term “mortgage-backed securities” in their destruction of the economy in 2008, you could be forgiven for thinking “solar securities” are a pyramid scheme.  But in truth, they may hold the key to democratizing the financing …

Could the U.S. Cut Household Electricity Use by Two-Thirds?

Your mind-blowing chart of the day, courtesy of Arne Jungjohann at the Heinrich Böll Foundation.  To be fair, there’s little need for air conditioning in Germany compared to the United States, but air conditioning only accounts for about 20% of …