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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Renewable Energy Adoption and its Impact on U.S. Energy Systems

  • Author(s): Sween, Spencer
  • Advisor(s): Frech, Ted
  • et al.

In this paper, I investigate how oil price shocks and volatility affect adoption ofrenewable energy technologies by private businesses and households. Additionally, I analyze thechanges in electric utilities’ energy supplies sourced from fossil fuel-powered generators asprivate renewable energy adoption increases. This paper considers net energy metering programadoption as a measure of renewable energy technology uptake. I estimate two models on a paneldataset of electric utility-level data of net energy metering programs. The empirical resultsindicate that oil price shocks and oil price volatility reduce renewable energy adoption throughnet metering programs by a significant magnitude. The findings also show that greater customernet metering subscription significantly reduces utilities’ reliance on fossil fuels for their retailelectricity supplies. Coal and natural gas generator usage is most reduced, while oil-firedgenerator reliance is affected fractionally. Recommendations for improving renewable energypolicies and considerations for further reducing utilities’ reliance on fossil fuels are made basedoff these findings.

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