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Community Benefits Depend on Local Ownership of Renewable Energy Projects

A recent report by the Minneapolis-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance points to local energy ownership as one of the keys to the community benefits associated with the low-carbon transition.

“Solar and wind projects can mean big bucks for communities—but only if they keep them local!” Farrell writes. “The number of jobs and economic returns for communities are substantially higher when electricity generation from wind and sun can be captured by local hands.” And “this economic self-interest motivates rapid expansion of renewable energy and builds political support for a low-carbon, more local and economically rewarding energy system.”

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Farrell cites five barriers to local control: ownership traditions, access to capital, cash flow, legal structures, and opposition from power utilities.