Climate Policy and Voluntary Initiatives: An Evaluation of the Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program
NBER Working Paper No. 16117
Can simple government programs effectively promote voluntary initiatives to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions? This paper provides an evaluation of how the Connecticut Clean Energy Communities program affects household decisions to voluntarily purchase “green” electricity, which is electricity generated from renewable sources of energy. The results suggest that, within participating communities, subsidizing municipal solar panels as matching grants for reaching green-electricity enrollment targets increases the number of household purchases by 35 percent. The Clean Energy Communities program thus demonstrates how mostly symbolic incentives can mobilize voluntary initiatives within communities and promote demand for renewable energy.