Document Type

Research Project

Publication Date

Spring 2022

Faculty Sponsor

Zsófia Barta


Great Ideas in Political Science, RPOS 496Z


As of 2020, more than 75% of Americans believe that the U.S. should prioritize developing alternative energy sources to fossil fuels. Despite this, there has been relatively little action at the federal level to expand and encourage renewable energy in the U.S., resulting in decentralized, bottom-up renewables promotion across the states. This project seeks to explain why some U.S. state legislatures have energy policies that promote the development of renewables and ease the connection of renewable energy sources to the electric grid. These explanations yield results on how renewable energy can be championed at the federal, and even global, level. Using Most Different Systems Design, I have identified 7 states (California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Texas) that champion renewable energy, but differ in location, population, GDP, and legislative make-up. I will explore three factors that could influence a state legislature’s desire to pass policy favorable to renewables: 1) contribution of the fossil fuel industry to state GDP, 2) financial contributions by the energy industry to political campaigns and parties, and 3) competitiveness of political races.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



Rights Statement

In Copyright

Terms of Use

This work is made available under the Scholars Archive Terms of Use.