Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.)

First Advisor

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

Second Advisor

Steven P. Croley

Third Advisor

Roberta F. Mann


Energy is essential for the existence of modem civilization, and the amount of energy consumed by society is constantly growing. In 2015, the United States alone generated about 4 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity. About 67% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum). The United States' high dependence on fossil fuels leads to numerous problems, such as increased greenhouse gas emissions, urban air pollution, as well as geopolitical and military tensions. There are two primary ways that scholars and politicians are trying to address the problem of fossil-fuel consumption--either by reducing the population's dependence on energy, which would require substantial behavioral and educational changes, or by finding alternative sources of energy, such as renewable energy sources. Because significant behavioral changes would be far more difficult to implement, it is more realistic to reduce our over-dependence on petroleum and coal by increasing our reliance on renewable energy resources.

The variety and complexity of policy instruments employed in the domestic renewable energy market raise questions about the policies' effectiveness, as well as about their interactions with one another. This dissertation tries to deepen the understanding of these policy instruments and their effectiveness in achieving intended goals.

This dissertation is structured around two central arguments. First, I argue that an increase in governmental support for renewables does not necessarily result in a corresponding increase in the deployment or generation rate of renewables. In some cases, infusing additional economic incentives into the renewable energy market might have limited to no effect on the production rate of renewable energy. Almost exclusively focusing on economic incentives and renewable energy growth does not take into account a basic concept of "prices" that could offset or even eliminate the intended renewable energy growth.

My second central argument focuses on a synergistically integrated RPS-FiT policy. Widely seen as dichotomous or mutually exclusive renewable regulatory policies, RPS and FiT could work together to potentially achieve better results than either policy alone. This study tries to advance the scholarship in this field by addressing some of the issues left open by prominent scholars who have advocated for a combined RPS-FiT policy.

The first part of this study focuses on domestic renewable energy policy. It presents an ex post analysis of how the policy was applied in practice and whether it achieved its intended goals. This analysis is possible only in the late stages of a policy cycle, well after it has been adopted, because the policy outcomes are analyzed based on legal rules, the implementation of the policy, and strategic reactions by businesses to the regulation.

Examining policy outcomes based on the actual data of renewables' deployment and the available data on economic incentives provides important insight into the comparative effectiveness of domestic renewable energy policies. This appraisal can assist policymakers in bridging the gap between conceiving of policies in theory and implementing them successfully on the ground.