Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Government-to-private sector energy programs: Identification of common elements leading to successful implementation
by Stockton, Keith M., Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2009, 308; 3354551
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines six distinct government energy programs implemented in the United States during the last three decades. A common element within these programs is an attempt by government to drive commercialization of energy technologies leading to changes in energy production or consumptive behavior. We seek to understand the factors that lead to success or failure of these programs with two goals in mind. The first is theoretical in that we test a hypothesis that market-based energy programs have substantially higher success rates than command-and-control programs. The second goal is operational in nature, in which we desire to identify common factors within energy programs that lead either to program success or to failure.

We investigate and evaluate three market-based and three command-and-control energy programs. The market-based programs include the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy and Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Control programs as well as Colorado’s Amendment 37. The command-and-control programs include the federal Synthetic Fuels Corporation and Corn Based Ethanol programs as well as Colorado’s Solar Electric Power program. We conduct the analysis of each program based on composite methodology derived from leading academics within the Policy Sciences.

From our research findings, we conclude that both market-based and command-and-control programs can achieve their legislative goals and objectives, resulting in permanent changes in energy production or consumptive behavior. However, we also find that the economic efficiency is the differentiator between market-based and command-and-control programs. Market-based programs, because of the inherent flexibility, allow participants to react to changing economic and/or technical conditions. In contrast, command-and-control programs lack such flexibility and often result in economic inefficiency when economic conditions change. The financial incentives incorporated in the three command-and-control programs we examined also create market distortions that both limit the flexibility of private markets to adjust to changing economic conditions and discourage the adoption of competing technologies. We conclude our research by recommending that future policy makers maximize the range of methods availability to the private sector to meet legislative goals and limit the use of financial incentives. With these measures, energy programs may achieve higher levels of success by reaching their goals with maximum economic efficiency and minimal negative unanticipated consequences.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lawrence, Stephen R.
Commitee: Komor, Paul, Krakoff, Sarah, Pielke, Roger, Preuhs, Robert
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Environmental Studies
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Public administration, Environmental science, Energy
Keywords: Economic efficiency, Energy efficiency, Government energy programs, Incentives, Policy
Publication Number: 3354551
ISBN: 9781109116052
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