Not on Planet Earth (Nope): An Agent Based Model Simulating Energy Infrastructure Siting Dynamics
1 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 25 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2011
Compliance with regulations that require new infrastructure investment is being challenged by citizen and other stakeholder opposition, which over time might call into question the ability of jurisdictions to provide essential services. New highways, ports, transmission lines, oil and gas rigs, wind turbines, and natural gas terminals are being derailed by stakeholder opposition. Yet our understanding of the interactions between stakeholders and the institutional settings in which they are embedded is limited at best. This empirical paper uses an agent-based model to simulate the factors that drive support or opposition to the siting of energy infrastructure projects. Our multidisciplinary model encompasses theories of social psychology, political science, economics, and organizational behavior. Our paper first reviews Locally Unwanted Land Use (LULU) theories and the empirical evidence supporting them. We then develop an agent-based model to simulate the political, economic, psychological, and geospatial variables involved in siting decisions. We present the results of a baseline simulation as well as three sensitivity analyses that are representative of various California electricity transmission line projects. From these simulations, we analyze potential emergent behavior and advance propositions related to the political and social dynamics of energy infrastructure siting. We conclude by commenting on the generalizabilty of our results to the siting of other kinds of energy infrastructure.
Keywords: Energy policy, siting energy infrastructure, agent-based modeling
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