A Cross-State Analysis of Renewable Portfolio Standard Development
Abstract: As of December 2016, thirty-seven states have a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). RPS require that utilities provide a certain percentage of electricity generated using renewable sources by a certain date. This thesis builds on diffusion of innovation literature to understand how factors within a state, such as its political climate and the strength of interest groups, appear to influence ... read morethe adoption process and structure of the RPS in five states - Connecticut, New Jersey, Michigan, Colorado, and Washington. Each of these states has a strong RPS as measured by its renewable energy goal over its current renewable energy production, the time frame in which this goal must be met, and the percentage of the electric load that is included in the regulation. This thesis uses both within-case and cross-case analysis to understand which combinations of internal state factors potentially lead to the adoption of a strong RPS. It finds that there are a number of combinations of factors that appear to contribute to strong RPS, depending on the internal circumstances of each state. However, more important is that without the opportunity to tailor the policy to meet the needs of the state, it is likely that states with unfavorable internal factors may not choose to adopt a RPS at all, let alone a strong RPS. While the innovation factors identified through the RPS diffusion research often contribute to states adopting a strong RPS, this thesis finds that the influence of these factors depends on a combination of the internal state factors with the RPS adoption process in shaping the structure of the RPS.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2017.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Advisor: Francine Jacobs.
Committee: Ann Rapport.
Keyword: Energy.read less