#1 cleantech news, reviews, & analysis site in the world. Subscribe today. The future is now.


About John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Democratic Energy program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His seminal paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development.   Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (energyselfreliantstates.org), and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World.   John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at jfarrell@ilsr.org.



Author Archives: John Farrell

Which Regions & States Are Leading In Local Clean Energy?

April 1st, 2019 | by John Farrell

A comparison of how well policies in nearby states support distributed energy, including rooftop and community solar, provides insights into which states are regional leaders and where cross-pollination of state policy ideas that support local energy might improve areas that lag behind


The State(s) of Distributed Solar — 2018 Update

March 25th, 2019 | by John Farrell

Renewable energy continued to expand across the country in 2018. This expansion in renewable energy complements a growing number of states, utilities, and cities that have set ambitious goals to transition to 100% renewable and carbon-free power generation


Don’t-Miss Opportunity For Local Choice In Landmark Carbon-Free Bills

March 12th, 2019 | by John Farrell

Mariel Nanasi, executive director of New Energy Economy in New Mexico, joined ILSR’s Director of Energy Democracy, John Farrell, in March 2019, for a new episode of the Local Energy Rules podcast, to discuss the state’s proposed Energy Transition Act and its big giveaways to one of New Mexico’s incumbent monopoly utilities, PNM. The two also discussed the pitfalls of state policy that ignores how rooftop solar and other distributed energy offer huge opportunities to share the wealth of a climate-friendly energy system


Why ILSR’s 2019 Community Power Scorecard Matters

March 4th, 2019 | by John Farrell

Last week’s release of the 2019 Community Power Scorecard illustrates which states help and which hurt local renewable energy. Assessing state policy is especially timely/significant because in late 2018 the 100th U.S. city adopted an ambitious 100% renewable energy target. The success of commitments made by cities like Cincinnati, Ohio; Salt Lake City, Utah; or Minneapolis, Minn.; hinges on whether state policy gives them the power to take charge of their energy future and equitably share the economic benefits created by doing so


The 2019 Community Power Scorecard

February 25th, 2019 | by John Farrell

In the 2019 Community Power Scorecard, four states excelled, 11 states and the District of Columbia saw above average scores, 15 were mediocre, and 20 states received failing grades at enabling individuals and communities to take charge of their energy futures


Why Minnesota’s Community Solar Program Is The Best

February 19th, 2019 | by John Farrell

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about Minnesota’s community solar program over the past couple years and it’s time to make one thing clear: Minnesota’s program is the best in the country. Why? Because there 10 times more community solar projects in the queue—400 megawatts—in Minnesota than have been built in the history of community solar in the United States (40 megawatts)


Electric Utilities Must Stop Illegally Concealing Public Cost Data

February 11th, 2019 | by John Farrell

Utilities in many states have undercut competition by playing “hide the peanut.” Instead of sharing their avoided cost publicly, as required by Congress and state laws, utilities have hidden them behind a “trade secret” designation. This illegal shield––if left in place by state and federal regulators––requires prospective clean energy developers to lawyer up in order to extract a fair priced contract from the utility company.


Minnesota Utility Tees Up Programs To Support An Electric Vehicle Future

February 4th, 2019 | by John Farrell

In a filing late last year, Xcel Energy’s Minnesota division put forward two new electric vehicle charging pilots. One targets fleet vehicle users and the other public access to vehicle charging. Both proposals address some big opportunities in helping more vehicle users save money by switching to electricity


A “Year Of 100” For Local, Renewable Energy In 2018

January 7th, 2019 | by John Farrell

Co-director of ILSR and Energy Democracy initiative director John Farrell and research associate Marie Donahue sat down before the winter break to reflect on what they are describing as the “Year of 100” — a landmark year for 100% renewable energy commitments in


Solar Co-ops Support Clean Energy Advances In D.C.

December 3rd, 2018 | by John Farrell

How does a growing, national nonprofit organization help homeowners complete the circle between clean energy ownership and policy advocacy? ILSR’s Energy Democracy Initiative director John Farrell talks with Anya Schoolman of Solar United Neighbors in this October 2018 recording about two major clean energy policies before the Washington, D.C., city council


How Cities Can Fund Their 100% Renewable Ambitions

November 19th, 2018 | by John Farrell

We’re inspired by the passage of the Portland Clean Energy Initiative this week, a ballot measure that will now provide $30 million per year for the city’s clean energy and climate work. Even better, the funds will target local energy deployment that lifts up low-income folks and people of color with energy savings and solar energy, as well as jobs installing these cost-saving measures.


Local Clean Energy On The Ballot This November

November 5th, 2018 | by John Farrell

In early November, millions will go to the polls to cast votes in this year’s midterm elections. In addition to electing candidates, some voters have a unique opportunity to directly shape their local energy system



Back to Top ↑