Poster Paper: The Influence of City-Utility Collaboration on Local Level Energy-Related Policy Adoption

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Exhibit Hall C - Exhibit Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Cali Curley, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Shan Zhou, Michigan Technological University and Kewei Xu, Florida State University

This paper examines city government collaborative efforts with both Municipally Owned (MOU) and Investor Owned (IOU) Utilities. An extensive group of literature has examined both internal and external motivation for local-level climate and energy policy adoption, focusing on the role of state level factors (Krause, 2011), the involvement of urban nonprofits (Portney et al., 2009) and policy entrepreneurs (Kwon et al., 2014). However, there is limited understanding about governmental collaboration with utilities and its influence on policy adoption. This paper fills this gap by utilizing U.S. cities data from the Integrated City Sustainability Database (ICSD) (Feiock et al., 2014). Given their differences in capacities, resources, and relationship with state and local governments, MUs and IOUs differ in their energy activities and responses to state and local policies. We hypothesize that collaboration with utilities may be more likely to occur for cities served by MOUs, leading to adoption of more city-level clean energy initiatives.

In order to test these hypotheses, probit and negative binomial models are used to examine the influence of collaboration with utilities on individual policy and policy bundle adoptions. The central explanatory variables are utility governance and government collaboration with utilities. Utility governance is measured by two binary variables: whether the city is served by a municipally owned utility or investor-owned utility. The intra-governmental collaboration is measured by reported collaboration bewteen the city government and the utility. Control variables include both city level characteristics and state-level policy and political variables. This analysis builds upon the local policy adoption literature and provide important insights on the role utilities play in local level energy and climate change policy making and implementation.