Renewable Energy Policy and Politics

Although renewable energy prices have fallen dramatically over the past decade, with significant technological improvements for wind and solar energy, barriers still exist. Increasingly, these barriers are political -- whether it is growing opposition in states to net-metering and renewable portfolio standards, or growing opposition to wind energy sited in people's backyards.

In a current book project, Prof. Stokes explores the rise and fall of renewable energy laws across the United States. This book draws from detailed qualitative analysis of renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and net energy metering (NEM) policies, including over 100 interviews with politicians, bureaucrats, renewable energy advocates and opponents. The book focuses particularly on policies in California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Kansas and Ohio.

Other ongoing research by ENVENT lab members on renewable energy policy and politics include:

  • Predicting anti-wind energy resistance across the United States, through a full census of all wind energy resistance at the local level including protests, permitting delays and court cases
  • Tracing the history of renewable energy laws at the federal level, including the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and the Production Tax Credit (PTC)
  • Bringing political analyses into learning curve models, which examine cost decline through technology deployment
  • Understanding the political dynamics of renewable energy laws, including the political consequences of local backlash to wind energy