Energy Efficiency and Conservation: New Legal Tools and Opportunities

6 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2011 Last revised: 23 Jul 2015

See all articles by John C. Dernbach

John C. Dernbach

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School

Robert B. McKinstry


Darin Lowder

Ballard Spahr LLP

Date Written: February 21, 2011


Many new and ambitious energy efficiency and conservation laws are being enacted at all levels of government - and with greater financial incentives than provided previously. These innovations are intended to overcome or minimize market barriers such as principal-agent problems, information and transaction costs, high internal discount rates, and up-front capital needs that discourage cost-saving investments. Innovations such as public-private partnerships also require significant legal input and creativity for the client to reap the often remarkably large energy and cost savings. This article reviews a range of these tools, especially financial legal mechanisms, that could help significantly reduce U.S. energy consumption.

Keywords: energy efficiency, energy conservation, climate change, sustainable development, sustainability, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, taxation, tax credit, tax deduction

JEL Classification: K10, K20, K29, K32, K33, Q20, Q21, Q28, Q30, Q31, Q38, Q40, Q41, Q43, Q48, Q54, Q58, Q01

Suggested Citation

Dernbach, John C. and McKinstry, Robert B. and Lowder, Darin, Energy Efficiency and Conservation: New Legal Tools and Opportunities (February 21, 2011). Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-06, Available at SSRN: or

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9380
United States

Robert B. McKinstry

Independent ( email )

Darin Lowder

Ballard Spahr LLP ( email )

Ballard Spahr LLP
601 13th Street NW Suite 1000S
Washington, DC 20005
United States


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