Wind energy development in the United States : can state-level policies promote efficient development of wind energy capacity?
Goldstein, Blair Susan.
Thesis (M.P.P.)--Georgetown University, 2011.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. In the absence of strong U.S. federal renewable energy policies, state governments have taken the lead in passing legislation to promote wind energy. Studies have shown that many of these policies, including Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), have aided in the development of wind energy capacity nationwide. This paper seeks to analyze whether these state-level policies have led to an efficient development of U.S. wind energy. For the purposes of this paper, wind energy development is considered efficient if competitive markets enable wind capacity to be built in the most cost effective manner, allowing states to trade wind energy between high wind potential states and low wind potential states. This concept is operationalized by analyzing how state policies that incentivize the in-state development of wind energy impact where wind capacity is developed.; A multivariate regression model examining wind capacity in the 48 contiguous United States that had some wind capacity between 1999 and 2008 found these in-state policies are associated with increased wind capacity, controlling for states' wind potential. The results suggest that state-level policies are distorting where wind is developed. These findings support the enactment of a more comprehensive federal energy policy, such as a national RPS, a cap-and-trade program, or a targeted federal transmission policy. These federal policies could spur national markets that would result in the more efficient development of U.S. wind energy. Data for this paper came from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and the Bureau or Economic Analysis.
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