Since the start of the deregulation era under President Carter, few industries have been spared the upheavals that have been changing regulatory models at the federal and state level. The electric utility business model, under which regulated utilities were granted a competition free environment and a guaranteed return on investment in return for providing safe, reliable power to all users, has been undergoing change for almost forty years. Despite the significant harms incurred by California’s prior deregulation efforts, the pace of utility deregulation has increased in recent years, as states take the lead in addressing climate change concerns, and resiliency of the electric grid takes on increased importance in light of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and similar events.
In this course we will examine the changes undergoing the historic utility model as states seek creation of decentralized electric systems, using market-based approaches to reach renewable energy goals, such as New York and California’s goal of reaching fifty percent electric generation from renewables by 2030. We will examine various programs states are using, such as Minnesota’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, Connecticut’s Green Bank and New York’s Clean Energy Standard to increase renewable resources and reduce fossil fuel consumption, while adapting the role utilities play in providing a safe and reliable electric grid.
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