Grassroots Environmental Education

52 Main Street

Port Washington, NY 11050

Tel: 516-883-0887

Email: HGIMT@grassrootsinfo.org

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How Green Is My Town is a Project of

Grassroots Environmental Education

Distributed Renewable Energy

Over the past decade, improvements in technology and increasing consumer demand for alternative energy solutions have made renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar power the fastest growing sources of electricity in the nation. Desire for reducing dependency on fossil fuels and cutting energy bills has also prompted tremendous interest in small-scale, "distributed" renewable energy systems.

Widespread deployment of small, distributed renewable energy

systems would decrease our reliance on old-fashioned centralized power plants and giant transmission systems, reduce our continued dependence on fossil fuels and avoid the need for expensive and environmentally questionable nuclear power plants.


However, multiple bureaucratic obstacles often stand in the way of full development and utilization of these distributed power networks. Local permitting requirements can be expensive and vary greatly from one municipality to another. Review processes can be complex and lengthy. Local planners and building inspectors often lack the knowledge or experience to certify a system's safety or reliability. At the regional and national level, established power companies and their stakeholders can be protective of the status quo.

Despite these challenges, local municipalities can be part of the solution, engaging in practices to expedite planning and approval of distributed renewable energy systems.

Vermont's Green Mountain Power is meeting the needs of customers with integrated energy services that help people use less energy and save money, while continuing to generate clean, cost effective and reliable power.

Resources

Clean Coalition is a nonprofit organization with a mission to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and a modern grid through technical, policy, and project development expertise.

References

[1] Edenhofer, O. (2011). The IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (Rep.). New York, NY: The New School for Social Research, 1-41.

[2] Wolsink, M. (2017). Co-production in distributed generation: Renewable energy and creating space for fitting infrastructure within landscapes. Landscape Research, 43(4), 542-561.

[3] Nehrir, M. H., et al. (2011). A Review of Hybrid Renewable/Alternative Energy Systems for Electric Power Generation: Configurations, Control, and Applications. IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy, 2(4), 392-403. 

[4] Omer, A. M. (2008). Energy, environment and sustainable development. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews,12(9), 2265-2300.

[5] Verbruggen, A., et al. (2010). Renewable energy costs, potentials, barriers: Conceptual issues. Energy Policy, 38(2), 850-861. 

[6] Burkhardt, J., et al. (2015). Exploring the impact of permitting and local regulatory processes on residential solar prices in the United States. Energy Policy, 78, 102-112. 

[7] Hultman, N., et al. (2011). The greenhouse impact of unconventional gas for electricity generation. Environmental Research Letters, 6(4), 1-9.

[8] Gillingham, K., & Bollinger, B. (2017). Final Report: The Influence of Novel Behavioral Strategies in Promoting the Diffusion of Solar Energy (Tech. No. DOE-Yale-1). New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1-28.