What Drives a Clean Energy Economy?
What factors drive states to achieve greater levels of renewable energy production? The literature suggests that Democratic control of the state legislature, education, and median income are all significantly and positively related to the adoption of a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), and/or the stringency of that RPS. Meanwhile, scholars have not come to a consensus on the effectiveness of RPS policies in driving renewable energy growth. This research will build on previous models to assess which factors lead to successful outcomes, as measured by the share of renewable electricity production in a state, total renewable production, and carbon intensity of state energy supplies. Using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, this paper finds that economic growth is associated with higher relative and total amounts of renewable generation, as well as a reduction in state carbon intensities. The presence of an RPS in law is also highly significant in driving renewable energy production. When the sample is limited to states with an RPS, economic growth loses significance, while wealthier states (as measured by median income) tend to perform better in renewable generation. Additionally, highly significant temporal variables in the post-2009 time period add further support to the contention that federal subsidies for green energy in the stimulus bill substantially increased renewable energy development, while decreasing carbon emissions.
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D'Souza, Rohan (Georgetown University. School of Foreign Service. Asian Studies Program., 2019)As planet Earth continues to warm up, there have been pressing calls for a decisive “energy transition.” An urgent demand, in other words, for a comprehensive shift from the current dependence on fossil-based or “dirty” ...