Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Hari Osofsky (Minnesota) and our former guest blogger Hannah Wiseman (Florida State) have posted a terrific and important new article, Hybrid Energy Governance. The abstract:
This Article develops a novel theory of energy governance and uses it to assess how institutional nnovation can help meet critical challenges emerging from rapid technological change. Our complex regulatory infrastructure struggles to: (1) manage risky, unconventional fuel extraction technologies like hydraulic fracturing and deepwater drilling appropriately; (2) update our aging electrical grid and implement smart grid approaches that computerize the flow of energy; and (3) integrate cleaner sources onto the physical grid and energy markets. Failing to meet these challenges would threaten our access to cheap and reliable energy and thwart efforts to make the U.S. energy system cleaner, safer, and more equitable. Building from a companion piece proposing a dynamic, comprehensive approach to federalism in energy law, this Article develops a governance model for addressing modern energy challenges. The Article focuses on the potential of institutions that are “hybrid” by virtue of including public and private actors from several governance levels and enabling important interactions among them. Grounding its approach in interdisciplinary governance theory, it argues that these institutions have characteristics that could address structural barriers — such as inadequate, divided regulatory authority and the complexities of including key private actors like utilities — to substantive progress. After introducing its conceptual model, the Article examines several hybrid institutions with substantial regional components that are working to address the three core substantive energy challenges identified
here. It analyzes their progress in meeting these challenges, and whether and how their governance approach is assisting them in doing so.
This looks to be an important contribution to the exploding issues that are coming out of the new energy landscape.