State renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandates, competitive wholesale electricity markets, and cooperative regional transmission planning have all been identified as potential drivers of RE production. However, these factors are typically studied in isolation, and studies come to mixed conclusions about their actual effects on RE deployment. In this article, we a) use a novel “networks of action situations” (NAS) approach to examine the way that state RPS mandates, competitive markets, and regional transmission planning interact to jointly affect RE production; and b) ask whether these patterns differ across traditionally regulated and “deregulated” jurisdictions. We analyze and compare interactions between mandates, markets, and regional planning processes across two state-region dyads, both of which have achieved high levels of RE deployment but represent different institutional contexts. We find that RPS mandates are key drivers of RE deployment, but that these effects are realized through regional markets and planning processes. RPS mandates are similarly embedded in markets and networks in both cases with similar effects on RE production, but Minnesota's more traditional approach gives regulators greater authority over the type and location of RE production compared to Connecticut's more market-driven approach. Our analysis suggests that policy analysts should pay closer attention to the institutional environments in which policy instruments are embedded, and we offer several testable propositions about how mandate, market, and network interactions likely shape RE production.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law