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.

Renewable Energy

Feed-in tariffs responsible for most renewable energy

Cross-posted from CleanTechnica. Feed-in tariffs are a comprehensive renewable energy policy responsible for 64 percent of the world’s wind power and almost 90 percent of the world’s solar power (see charts below). With simplified grid connections, long-term contracts, and attractive prices for development, that’s policy that works. Image: David Jacobs Image: David Jacobs The basic premise of the feed-in tariff is that the electric utility must connect any wind turbine or solar panel (or other generator) to the grid and buy all the electricity via a long-term contract with a public price. Its use in Germany and its simplicity have …

Renewable Energy

How electric vehicles can give a boost to local clean energy

A plug for plug-ins.This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s New Rules Project. The Northwest could get an additional 12 percent of its electricity from local wind power if one in eight of the region’s cars used batteries. That’s the conclusion of a study [PDF] from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories investigating how electric vehicles can help smooth the introduction of more variable renewable energy into the grid system. The study examines the Northwest Power Pool, an area encompassing roughly seven states in the Northwest. With around 2.1 million electrified vehicles, …

Wind Power

Wind could provide at least 25 percent of electricity for most states

At least 32 states could get 25 percent or more of their electricity from wind power generated within their own borders. This is an updated version of a map included in the report “Energy Self-Reliant States” from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Click on the map to see a larger version. State wind power potential (percent of electricity sales)

Energy Policy

California pushes back against energy imports

This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s New Rules Project. 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 [PDF] to the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC): California has plenty of in-state development: “The California Independent System Operator [CAISO] indicates that renewable projects totaling 70,000 [megawatts] of installed capacity [nearly enough to meet all of the state's peak summer demand] are …

Energy Policy

‘Going Boulder’ means voting for local energy self-reliance

Photo: Zane Selvans This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s New Rules Project. By a razor-thin margin, Boulder, Colo., citizens gave the city a victory for energy self-reliance on Tuesday, approving two ballot measures to let the city form a municipal utility. If the city moves ahead, it would capture nearly $100 million currently spent on electricity imports, and instead create up to $350 million in local economic development by dramatically increasing local clean energy production.    The stage was set over several years, as the city’s multiple pleas for more …

Solar Power

Distributed solar power gets more affordable

Solar economies of scale seem to be improving as the U.S. market matures, opening the door for much more cost-competitive distributed solar power.

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