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

Inclusive Financing Report: Part 1 — A Huge Opportunity

July 17th, 2017 | by John Farrell

The best energy efficiency programs serve less than 2% of customers each year, and few reach the majority of a utility’s customers, including renters, customers without strong credit, and low- and moderate-income households, who pay disproportionately high energy bills


A Massachusetts Co-op Makes A Powerful Vintage

June 19th, 2017 | by John Farrell

For more than five years, Vineyard Power Cooperative has provided electricity customers living in one of Massachusetts’ best-known island communities the chance to buy into an energy future that favors renewables and bolsters their local economy


RePower Madison Challenges Old Electric Monopoly Model

June 5th, 2017 | by John Farrell

An unconventional approach to grassroots organizing in Wisconsin’s capital city has in recent years tipped incumbent utility Madison Gas & Electric (MGE) toward policies that favor consumers and renewables, a distinct shift in a state held back for years by entrenched monopolies with outdated business plans


Co-op Power Puts Localist Spin on Clean Energy Economy

May 22nd, 2017 | by John Farrell

Over nearly 15 years, Co-op Power has implemented practices that promote local ownership and greater community control. Owned by more than 500 members, Co-op Power includes a half-dozen individual energy co-ops in the northeast.


“Is Bigger Best?” Report — Part 3: Why Economics Isn’t The Problem

May 15th, 2017 | by John Farrell

Despite an American fascination with big things, the key to unlocking renewable energy is found in small packages as well as big ones. And one key to understanding the debate is to understand the players, with incumbent utility companies (and their incentive to build big things to make money) playing an outsize role in the debate over the right size of wind and solar


“Is Bigger Best?” Report — Part 2: Limits to Scale in Solar

May 11th, 2017 | by John Farrell

The question of scale economies in solar has been both a technological and an economic one. As mentioned before, the contention in the late 2000s was that concentrating solar thermal power plant technology would outstrip solar photovoltaics (PV) because the latter was marginally more efficient (at the point of generation) and could incorporate energy storage.


Short-Sighted Utility Stymies Solar In Milwaukee

April 20th, 2017 | by John Farrell

Back in 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy recognized Milwaukee as a budding leader in the movement to promote solar power at the local level. Nearly a decade later, the city’s success in promoting solar remains handcuffed by an investor-owned utility fighting progress in favor of the status quo


In Maryland, Community Solar Pioneers Offer Blueprint

April 17th, 2017 | by John Farrell

A pair of rooftop solar arrays in Maryland spotlight how pioneering communities can pool their resources to expand local access to renewable energy. These “community solar” projects are an increasingly popular approach as electricity customers renounce utilities’ reliance on fossil fuel and look for ways to cut their energy costs



Back to Top ↑