Our Work

Clean Energy Policy Adoption

Much work has been done to describe and evaluate the efficacy of clean energy policy. Much less attention has been paid to the factors that drive the adoption and diffusion of these policies across the United States, at both the state and local government level. A better understanding of this process can help with policy planning and policy making.

This project is driven by the observation that at the state, as well as local level, clean energy policies are adopted across a number of jurisdictions and then inevitably stop diffusing. This is witnessed with the energy efficiency resource standard (EERS). Twenty-three states have adopted the EERS since 1999, but the adoption of this policy stopped diffusing in 2010. Why is this the case? We try to provide some answers to this question in our research.

Photo Credit: ACEE 2016

We are looking at this policy diffusion phenomenon at both the state and local level. Our most recent work is laying the groundwork for better understanding the adoption of benchmarking policies across cities. Both the EERS and benchmarking papers have been published in the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy Summer Study.

Our future work will entail a more in-depth study of the benchmarking diffusion process, as well as research on the adoption of clean energy financing, i.e. green banks, PACE and green bonds across states; and the adoption of power resilience policies, across the United States.

Benchmarking and Transparency Tool:


ACEEE State and Local Policy Database -

ACEEE Summer Study Proceedings -

Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker -

Center for the New Energy Economy -

Spot for Clean Energy

DSIRE – database of state incentives for renewables and efficiency -

Project Announcements


HARC Program Director for Clean Energy Policy, Gavin Dillingham, PhD will be participating in the closing panel at the TREIA GridNext Conference in Georgetown, TX on October 24th.

Researcher Announcement

HARC Researchers Gavin Dillingham and Erin Kinney joined a diverse group of environmental experts to present at the 2017 Greater Houston Environmental Summit, held August 4th at the United Way Houston.

Primary Researcher