Podcast 057: John Farrell – Monopoly utilities and consumers are headed for a collision over local energy. The rules must change, but how?

In this second of a two-part series, John Farrell, Director of Energy Democracy at the Institute for Local Self Reliance, walks us through how the power and influence of investor-owned utilities is trampling customers and how necessary changes in that relationship can benefit all parties. Read More

Podcast 056: John Farrell – One organization is working to bring power to the people. Literally.

In this first of a special two part interview, John Farrell, Director of Energy Democracy with the Institute of Local Self-Reliance, describes the challenges and barriers we face in shifting to clean local energy and the programs his leading think tank believes will move us toward a more equitable energy future. Read More

Hawaii is a postcard from our electric future (Part 2)

Island power grids are a microcosm of the vastly larger grids that criss-cross the planet. In Part 1 of this series, we looked at how small islands are pioneering the path to clean energy. They are disproving conventional wisdom by showing that intermittent power from the sun and wind can successfully provide affordable and reliable… Read More

How do you know if a microgrid makes sense for you?

Microgrids are the epitome of Local Energy. As the name suggests, microgrids are miniature versions of the big grid. They generate their own power and they have their own loads. And, if the grid goes down, microgrids continue to operate in what the industry calls “island mode”. Even though there are only a few thousand built so… Read More

California just required solar on all new houses – will the world follow?

California just made a huge commitment to Local Energy. On May 9,  California’s Energy Commission (CEC) unanimously passed a groundbreaking new building standard. Starting in 2020, all new homes in the state must be built with solar panels. Yes, that’s right. In California, residential solar is now required by law. How does the new building standard work?… Read More

Three months into Trump’s solar tariffs – are the promised new jobs in sight?

On February 7, 2018, the U.S. tariffs on imported silicon solar technology went into effect. As we approach the three month anniversary, what, if anything, has happened as a result? A quick history lesson on the US solar tariffs Let’s step back for a brief history lesson. In the spring of 2017, the two largest… Read More

Montgomery County Maryland didn’t have the budget for their microgrid so they invented a new business model

It was the summer of 2012 and the Mid-Atlantic was being pummeled by one of the worst storms in years. This was the second summer of heavy thunderstorms and squalls to come through Montgomery County, Maryland, in as many years.  The county leaders were scrambling to dispatch police and emergency workers. But with so many… Read More

Myth busting the crazy politics of clean energy – Is Solyndra proof that the US shouldn’t fund clean energy?

OK, so you’re at a party and looking for something to talk about. Nothing is more entertaining than wading neck deep into politics. And few topics are more politically exciting than energy and climate change. So here are some talking points to really spice up those cocktail conversations (and maybe get you kicked out of… Read More