Renewable Energy through Agency Action
79 Pages Posted: 3 May 2013 Last revised: 27 Oct 2015
Date Written: May 1, 2013
Despite the many societal benefits associated with renewable energy, it is used to generate only about five percent of our nation’s electricity needs. The bulk of governmental efforts to rectify this situation have disproportionately impacted private actors. This Article argues that the federal government should expand its efforts to more fully capture the gains that can be achieved by targeting both private and public actors, particularly federal agencies. Federal agencies have enormous purchasing power that can be channeled toward using electricity and fuels derived from renewable energy. Federal agencies are some of the largest consumers of electricity. Federal agencies manage millions of acres of lands with ample renewable energy potential. Federal agencies stand to serve as models for the rest of the country through their support of renewable energy. Perhaps most importantly, the government is able to direct agencies to promote renewable energy with a power that it cannot exert on states or private actors. This Article evaluates a number of recent efforts to direct federal agencies to consume, produce, or facilitate the development of renewable energy, and highlights significant considerations associated with enlisting federal agencies to advance the nation’s ambitious renewable energy goals.
Keywords: renewable energy, administrative law, energy, positive externalities
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