Assessing Sustainability Transition in the US Electrical Power System
This paper examines sustainability transition dynamics in the US electricity system, drawing on the socio-technical systems approach. We view system change as unfolding along several critical dimensions and geographical scales, including dynamics in the environment, science, civil society, discourse, and state regulatory institutions, as well as in capital and technology formations. A particular emphasis is given to the interaction of discourses, policy networks, and institutions. We trace four distinct regimes which have characterized the evolution of this discourse-network-institutional nexus over the last century. The research examines dynamics that present a challenge to the incumbent energy regime based on fossil fuels, nuclear and hydropower, and demonstrates how the actor-network supporting renewables and energy efficiency has grown stronger and more capable of moving toward a sustainability transition than at any time since the sustainable energy movement began a generation ago.
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