POWER FROM THE PEOPLE
Posted Sep 4, 2012 by Daniel Lerch
Peak oil and climate change dictate that we get society off fossil fuels, fast. But wind, solar, biofuels, hydropower each have major drawbacks compared to the versatility, ubiquity, and energy content of fossil fuels. It's hard to see how we can honestly power the global economy renewable energy without blanketing the deserts with solar panels, carving up the ridgetops with wind turbines, and devoting a good portion of the world's arable land to biofuels.
- Ellensburg Community Solar Project in Washington, which helped the local utility expand its solar PV capacity four times by allowing households and businesses to invest directly in the system (and receive utility credit in return).
- Fox Islands Wind Project in Maine, which built three community-owned wind turbines that now save residents an average of $300 a year on their electric bills.
- Dane County in Wisconsin, which developed a system to process landfill-generated methane into compressed natural gas for fueling CNG vehicles.
- Gainesville, Florida, which avoided building a new coal-fired power plant by incentivizing local solar investments through an innovative "feed-in tariffs" and developing a wood-fired power plant running on waste wood from the regional paper and timber industries.