Panel: Energy Infrastructure for the Energy Transition: A Growing Need, Increasing Resistance, and Planning Complications
(Natural Resource, Energy, and Environmental Policy)

Thursday, November 8, 2018: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Jackson - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Elizabeth J. Wilson, Dartmouth College
Discussants:  Anastasia Shcherbakova, Texas A&M University and Kavita Surana, University of Maryland, College Park

Examining the Role of Nimbyism in Public Acceptance of Energy Infrastructure
Sanya Carley1, David Konisky1 and Stephen Ansolabehere2, (1)Indiana University, (2)Harvard University

Backyard Voices: Community Perceptions of Large-Scale Energy Transmission Infrastructure
Parrish Bergquist1, Sanya Carley2, David Konisky2 and Stephen Ansolabehere3, (1)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (2)Indiana University, (3)Harvard University

The United States is in the midst of a massive energy transition as a result of policies and market forces that are gradually moving the country from a carbon-intensive to a lower-carbon economy. As part of this transition, the American public, engaged stakeholders, and public officials will be repeatedly asked whether it will accept new power plants, pipelines, transmission lines, and other infrastructure. These entities can act as important constraints or facilitators of the energy the United States chooses to use, and the location of the infrastructure to generate, distribute, and consume it.


This panel explores dynamics surrounding U.S. infrastructure support and planning decisions. The first paper evaluates the role of NIMBYism (not-in-my-backyard) in energy infrastructure siting using a dataset of randomly selected individuals that reside near 14 different energy projects currently in development across the U.S. The second paper also takes a comparative approach across different types of infrastructure projects and cases. The authors evaluate the policy positions taken by stakeholders on the various projects, and then map these stances on a concord-conflict spectrum. The third paper evaluates community perceptions of two ongoing energy infrastructure projects, and the degree to which these perceptions are shaped by respondents’ sense of place attachment. The fourth paper considers long-term infrastructure expansion decisions from the perspective of regional transmission organizations and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


All four papers bring new data and methodological innovations to the study of energy policy and politics, with an emphasis on the sentiments and decisions that shape energy infrastructure expansion in the United States. Reflecting the complexity of energy decision-making, the panel brings together scholars representing diverse scholarly disciplines including public policy, political science, public management, economics, and urban planning.