Efficiency in the Regulatory Crucible: Navigating 21st Century ‘Smart’ Technology and Power
Suffolk University Law School
George Washington Journal of Energy & Environmental Law, Vol. 3, p. 1, 2012
Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 12-45
The flow of money in U.S. energy policy choices has consequences, and the Obama administration’s 2009 federal stimulus package presents an interesting policy scenario. The current administration wants to pivot postindustrial America away from emitting global-warming gases and powering its economy with fossil fuels. Indeed, changing the energy technology and infrastructure of the United States has been the cornerstone of the Obama administration’s domestic policy. The federal government devoted significant amounts of stimulus funding to this agenda. It also maintained preferences for certain investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy through the tax code. A change of this significance revolving around a resource as essential as energy is a fundamental shift that has happened only a few times in history and could well be one of the most profound changes of the century.
Even though the Obama administration’s goal was to change the technology of American energy use, the most pressing energy issues are not technological in nature; they are legal, regulatory, practical, and political. This article will follow the money in the 2009 federal stimulus package for each part of the new energy infrastructure puzzle and will chart the policy conundrums and legal barriers that each element confronts. Part I will provide an introduction to the challenges that the development of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation present. Part II will focus in great detail on the development of the smart grid and renewable power in the United States, and the associated legal, regulatory, political, and practical challenges. Part III will focus on the progress of the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation measures in this country, and the primary challenges that these measures face. This article concludes that energy efficiency and conservation measures are a cost-efficient means of beginning to transform our country’s use of and relationship with energy, and that these strategic measures face dramatically fewer roadblocks to progress than do development of renewable energy and its integration into the grid.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 33
Date posted: October 24, 2012