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

Arkansas Utility Leads On Energy & Broadband

August 17th, 2017 | by John Farrell

Ouachita Electric Cooperative, nestled deep in south-central Arkansas, is an unlikely innovator in a pair of industries struggling to adapt to shifting market dynamics: electricity and broadband.


Solar: Choice, Competition, & Clean Air

July 31st, 2017 | by John Farrell

It’s simple to promote solar power as a money saver and clean alternative to fossil fuel generation. But it sells solar short to focus only on savings, when it also gives Americans the freedom to generate their own energy and to challenge the economic and political power of big corporations.


Broadly Sharing the Benefits of “Decarbonization”

July 27th, 2017 | by John Farrell

Last summer, I saw a presentation on “deep decarbonization” that outlined necessary changes in the US economy in order to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The presentation was fascinating, offering some very specific elements to focus our attention. For example, the following graphic shows the average number of replacements for various infrastructure types prior to the typical deadline of 2050. A hot water heater might be swapped three times by 2050, providing several opportunities to make it more efficient or switch its fuel source. Conversely, a power plant might be replaced once (if at all), and a new home is likely to still be in use past the 2050 deadline


Is Bigger Best in Renewable Energy? (Webinar Video)

July 24th, 2017 | by John Farrell

On December 5th, I delivered a webinar presentation detailing the findings of our recent report, Is Bigger Best in Renewable Energy? In this presentation, Farrell discusses how conventional wisdom suggests that larger solar and wind projects deliver energy at lower costs, but that location matters, and that the point of delivery and ownership matter more


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



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