Date of Award

Winter 2017

Project Type

Thesis

Program or Major

Natural Resources

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Catherine Ashcraft

Second Advisor

Clayton Mitchell

Third Advisor

Michael Swack

Abstract

In this thesis I investigate the organizational field that is New Hampshire's energy policy-making community as it engages with the state regulatory institution, the Public Utilities Commission, to grapple the challenges of designing a 21st century electricity marketplace.

The Public Utilities Commission structure and function are evolving. Historically, the Commission has used adjudicative proceedings to carry out a ratemaking function for monopoly utilities. The Commission's adjudicative process is evolving to become increasingly collaborative as it begins to carry out its new function of 21st century electricity market design. I analyze both the new structure (collaboration) and the new function (21st century electricity market design) of the Commission through three in-depth case studies of dockets (policy-making processes): Energy Efficiency Resource Standard, Electric Grid Modernization, and Net Metering.

My findings identify ways in which the Public Utilities Commission structure for making energy policy decisions is flexible and may be shaped by stakeholders engaging in policy processes. Stakeholders have the power to collectively design regulatory proceedings to incorporate greater opportunities for collaboration to better suit the challenges posed by a 21st century electricity sector. I provide recommendations on how that redesign should occur.

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