University of Wisconsin–Madison

Increasing Energy Efficiency: Legal Techniques and Impediments

Type Policy Brief or Report
Year 2011
Level City or Town, County, National, State
State(s) All States
Policy Areas Democracy & Governance, Energy, Environment & Natural Resources
Increasing energy efficiency is the most important action that can be taken to combat climate change. There are currently an abundance of legal techniques available at the federal, state and municipal levels that cumulatively could accomplish a great deal in cutting energy use, lowering U.S. reliance on foreign oil, and reducing GHG emissions and the other adverse environmental impacts on energy production. The author points to nine legal techniques by which we can increase energy efficiency: 1) Technology Standards, 2) Retrofitting, 3) Information, 4) System Benefit Charges, 5) Urban Density, 6) Portfolio Standards, 7) Carbon Price, 8) Tax and Non-Tax Incentives, and 9) Government Procurement. In addition to this, the author lays out six impediments to achieving efficiency: 1) Split Incentives, 2) Low Energy Prices, 3) Capital Budgeting, 4) Capital Stock Turnover, 5) Utility Rate Systems, and 6) Invisibility of Waste.

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