Renewable Energy Production in the United States: An Examination of Public Policy and Market Demand
Despite a significant decrease in oil prices during the last decade, renewable power generation has steadily grown in the United States (US) during the same period. In 2015, utility-scaled wind and solar power accounted for more than 47 percent of the new US power generation supply. Similarly, including hydropower and biomass, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and South Dakota energy generation now exceeds 70 percent from renewables. The US Federal Government regulates national energy. However, each State creates additional regulations and energy policies that affect energy consumption, production, distribution and purchasing alternatives. This study examines the role of State regulations in improvements of renewable energy generation. The results suggest that State-specific green policies, regulations and investments, are associated with improvements in renewable energy generation. However, the results also indicate that demand for renewable energy by firms like Google, Microsoft, HP, 3M, Amazon, Apple, Dow, Walmart and Owen Corning, among others, is also an important factor in the States’ production of renewable energy as well as the development of clean technology investments & innovation. The results strongly suggest that State-specific increases in renewable energy production is largely driven by the pressure that consumers exert on firms, and firms in turn demand access and supply for clean energy, thus affecting clean energy supply.