Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental and Energy Policy (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Social Sciences

Advisor 1

Kathleen E. Halvorsen

Committee Member 1

Mark Rouleau

Committee Member 2

Chelsea Schelly

Committee Member 3

Christopher Webster


Wood-based bioelectricity production is expanding due to its ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fossil fuel resources. U.S. non-industrial private forest landowners (NIPFs) are key to the production of wood-based bioelectricity since they own 59% of the forestland in the country that could supply bioelectricity feedstocks (The National Association of State Foresters 2018). This is particularly important in states like Wisconsin with a mandatory renewable portfolio electricity standard (RPS). My dissertation focuses on issues around Wisconsin bioelectricity production including related NIPF views and the creation of the state’s sustainable biomass harvesting guidelines. In Chapter Two, I present findings from analysis of NIPF interviews showing that they support local bioelectricity production while holding concerns about negative social and ecological impacts. Chapter Three focuses on findings from a survey conducted of NIPFs close enough to a local bioelectricity plant to supply it with biomass feedstock. I found that they perceive the plant as having negative environmental but positive socioeconomic impacts and that environmental membership was negatively associated with support for local bioelectricity. Chapter Four presents findings from my study of Wisconsin’s biomass harvesting guidelines (BHGs) creation process. These findings focus on the degree to which the process adhered to Collaborative Governance (CG) guidelines and how this process impacted outcomes. In combination, these three chapters enhance our understanding of the sustainability dimensions of Wisconsin’s RPS and suggest strategies related to the success of state and federal renewable energy and bioelectricity goals.

Included in

Energy Policy Commons