Collaboration mitigates barriers of utility ownership on policy adoption: evidence from the United States

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Department of Social Sciences


© 2020, © 2020 Newcastle University. Informed by literature on collaboration, policy adoption, and utility governance, this paper develops and empirically tests hypotheses addressing the implications of collaboration, utility ownership and city-level commitment to sustainability on city-level clean energy policy decisions. This paper offers an answer to the question, “to what extent does collaboration between utilities and local governments influence policy adoption.” We utilize cross-sectional data from the United States focused Integrated City Sustainability Database (ICSD) to perform an ordinary least squares regression analysis that investigates the degree that specific city attributes and state policy influence the creation of city-scale policy. This analysis shows that cities with a Publicly Owned Utility (POU) adopt close to two energy policies more than similar cities served by an IOU. Higher levels of collaboration among cities and with an Investor Owned Utility (IOU) can offset a portion of the adoption gap for community-oriented energy policy, but has little to no impact on governmental or renewable policies.

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Journal of Environmental Planning and Management