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Page added on October 31, 2007

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How to Build a Local Energy Economy

Is it possible to get our power from local sources? Yes, and an interview with one expert explains how.

The following conversation with David Morris is an excerpt from the new book Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grassroots (PoliPointPress, 2007) by Kevin Danaher, Shannon Biggs, and Jason Mark.
David Morris is a Co-Founder and Vice President of the Institute for Local Self Reliance in Minneapolis. He is the director of their New Rules Project, an excellent resource on the best practices for getting local control over energy, agriculture, retail development, finance, and other key areas. He is the author of many books and reports, which are available from the New Rules website. His regular articles are featured on

Q: Why does local control of energy make sense?

David Morris: Local control of everything makes sense. But local control of energy makes sense for two reasons: one is that ten cents on the local dollar of the community goes directly to pay for fuel, and all of it is imported. Only between ten and fifteen cents on the dollar spent on that fuel stays in the local community. So from an economic development standpoint, it is probably the worst expenditure that you can make in a community. The other reason is that you don’t have to. Cities, unless they are high-density cities, can in fact generate much, if not all, of their own energy, either internal to themselves or within 50 to 100 miles.


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