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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Regional Planning

Degree Type

Master of Regional Planning (M.R.P.)

Year Degree Awarded

2013

Month Degree Awarded

February

Keywords

energy efficiency programs, energy policy, rural electric cooperative, municipal utility, investor-owned utility, energy efficiency resource standard

Abstract

While the utilization of energy efficiency has grown in recent years, it has not been distributed evenly across the country. In some states, over 2% of a utility’s budget is spent on energy efficiency; in other states that number is 0. Much of the growth in energy efficiency has been due to state policies and the development utility-level energy efficiency programs. Yet, all utility programs are not created equal. Because they are often exempt from state regulation (and therefore state energy efficiency policy), publicly-owned utilities have traditionally lagged behind IOUs when it comes to EE programs.

This research quantifies energy efficiency programs in four Midwestern states: Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. The first part of the thesis evaluates 474 electric utilities as to whether they had an energy efficiency program in 2010. The second part of the thesis evaluates each utility’s EE program spending in terms of energy and utility specific factors, as well as socio-economic, housing stock and political variables. Through descriptive statistical analysis and the creation of a predictable linear regression model, this thesis identifies relationships between the dependent variable (EE program spending as a % of a utility’s total revenue) and commonly cited barriers to EE program development.

Through the analysis, this study finds widespread EE program coverage in Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin. Also, it finds states are the greatest predictor of utility energy efficiency program spending. A utility’s ownership type and the share of homes that heat with electricity are also significant predictors of program spending.

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Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Renski, Henry