U.S. Renewable Energy Policy in Context
15 Environmental Law and Policy 33 (2015)
61 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2015 Last revised: 15 Jan 2016
Date Written: October 26, 2015
This article introduces and overviews U.S. renewable energy policy. It describes the shape, content, and contours of that policy, including its emphases and functions in both the electricity and transportation sectors of the U.S. economy. To do so, the article builds a conceptual model that can be used to describe national energy policies worldwide. That model highlights six core attributes around which renewable energy policies are built, namely, their: (1) structure and coordination, (2) technological life-cycle stage emphasis, (3) implementing mechanism type, (4) aggressiveness, (5) stability, and (6) market segment focus. Applying that model, the article determines that U.S. renewable energy policy is disaggregated and fragmented, diffusion-centric, quantity-focused, incremental but growing in strength, somewhat cyclical, and heavily focused on large, incumbent, and archetype firms. The article concludes by identifying five key categories of barriers to renewable energy development and deployment, and discussing which of those barriers U.S. policy addresses. By placing U.S. renewable energy policy in this overall context, the article sets the stage for assessments of other nations’ policies, as well as comparisons of policies across jurisdictions.
Keywords: Renewable energy policy, renewable energy, clean energy, alternative energy, climate change, fossil fuels, sustainable development, green growth
JEL Classification: F42, H77, K23, K32, K33, O20, O30, O32, O33, Q20, Q25, Q28, Q4, Q40, Q42, Q43, Q48, Q49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation