For the purpose of this paper, the selected public policy is the Energy Law. The states to be compared are California, Hawaii, and Florida. At the federal level, the US energy policy usually addresses issues that relate to the production, distribution as well as consumption of energy. A good example of a pertinent issue that the law governs is building codes and gas mileage standards. Through this policy, the federal government represented by the Department of Energy seeks to ensure security and prosperity for the American society. The energy policy has been adopted at state levels with some of the states choosing to follow the federal energy policy course in the absence of other alterations. However, some states have modified these policies to ensure that their inherent energy issues are administered.
A major similarity between the three states is that their energy policies have undergone a series of reforms since their inception. Starting with the Hawaiian energy policy, the law is characterized by three major reforms. The first reform is HI HB1170 which revised the statutory provisions that related to the regulation of not only geothermal but also mineral resources under chapters 171 and 182 (Danford, et al., 2016a). The aim of the change was to provide consistency and clarity. Another reform to the Hawaii’s energy policy is HI HB801 which role was to facilitate the provision of electric energy as well as start of renewable energy projects in the state (Danford, et al., 2016a). In the case of the Californian energy policy, one of the major reforms has been the CA AB1559. The aim of this amendment was to commission the revenue and taxation code. Another reform is CA ACA6 (Danford, et al., 2016b) the aim of which was to amend Section two and three of Article XIII addressing the issue of taxation as it applies to the energy industry in California. Similar reforms have also been undertaken in Florida. An example of a recent change is FL S7028 which targeted the creation of more defining and clarified governance for the Floridian public traded companies that operate in North Ireland (Danford, et al., 2016c).
The reforms each of these countries has pursued lead to another important similarity. The reforms goal that each of the three states is striving for is to ensure energy best practice. As it has been revealed, each reform is seeking to solve a specific problem. By doing this, it is apparent that the energy policy makers in California, Hawaii, and Florida intend to deliver the best outcomes for their subjects, which is a very important decision. Apart from this, the reforms are encouraged by the desire to deliver progressive results for other important stakeholders including the companies that operate within this industry. Thus, the reforms are seeking to create a win-win situation for all the stakeholders.
Furthermore, another similarity is that each of the states has named the various governmental authorities that have been allowed to adopt an authoritative role in the energy sector. First is the case of Hawaii. As listed in the policy, these organizations include The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, The Hawaii State Energy Office, and The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources (Danford, et al., 2016a). In the case of the Californian energy policy, the authorized governmental organizations or agencies that play a pertinent role in the industry include The California Energy Commission, The California Natural Resources Agency, and The California Public Utilities Commission (Danford, et al., 2016b). On the other hand, Florida has authorized The Florida Public Service Commission, The Office of Energy, and The Florida Department of Environmental Protection. For each state, every of these departments plays a distinct role (Danford, et al., 2016c).
As a common attribute, each of the three energy policies has named the major industrial players as well. Foremost is the Hawaiian policy. One of the most prominent organizations is the Conservation Council for Hawaii, a non-profit making organization which role is to protect the state’s environment. Another organization is the Hawaii Conservation Alliance (Danford, et al., 2016a) the goal of which is to increase both education and awareness of the environmental issues that the state faces, assist in increasing capacity for effective conservation as well as restore and advocate for investments in the area of natural resource preservation and management. There is also the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute the responsibility of which is to meet the state’s growing energy demand, to establish a new energy approach, and reduce the dependence of Hawaii on petroleum (Danford, et al., 2016a). The Californian energy policy, as compared to the Hawaiian law, has identified a higher number of authoritative organizations. These include the California Municipal Utilities Organization protecting the interests of the state’s consumer-utilities before the Californian law, the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy usually serving as a standard hub for a deeper expert networks, The University of South Californian’s Energy Institute facilitating higher education-based framework for expanding and supporting energy-related research and development, and the Energy Upgrade California establishing a network of diverse energy-related groups in the state (Danford, et al., 2016b).
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Similarly, there are several named authoritative organizations in Florida including the Florida Energy Systems Consortium conducting research and development on creative energy organization that result in other various energy strategy options, increased energy efficiency, and expanding of economic development for Florida, the Florida Conservation Coalition aiming at bringing together different environmental groups from across the state, and the Florida Environment Association promoting water-friendly public policy (Danford, et al., 2016c). From the above information, it is apparent that the organizations that the three policies identify as those playing a pivotal role in the industry are either conservation or research development-oriented ones.
Renewable Portfolio Standard
There are, however, several differences in the three energy policies. One of the integral sources of the differences is the renewable portfolio standard. According to the Hawaiian energy policy, the state has a goal of one hundred percent renewable energy, which it intends to achieve by the year 2045. The policy further reveals that the need for renewable resources arises from the state’s isolated but unique situation (Danford, et al., 2016a). Besides, the policy reveals that the energy costs are the highest in the entire America given the idea that Hawaii has to import nearly all energy that its citizens consume. Additionally, the Hawaiian renewable portfolio standard reports that energy in this particular state is based on the judgment that the renewable energy resources provide Hawaii with an optimal chance to gain not only deeper energy independence but also a greater level of sustainability (Danford, et al., 2016a).
California’s renewable portfolio standard is entirely different from the one in Hawaii because it states that California was the very first American state to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, it reveals that California is in a unique position of securing inherently high levels of the conventional and renewable energy resources (Danford, et al., 2016b). Moreover, it undermines the state’s concerted efforts to balance the extraction and the use of the renewable and traditional energy sources. Further, the portfolio states that the state is determined to implement at least 33 percent of renewable energy by the end of the year 2020 (Danford, et al., 2016b). Florida’s energy policy does not have a renewable portfolio standard. While this is the case, as it is determined by Danford, et al. (2016c), the state usually has incentive schemes meant to serve in place of the RPS. Being different from California and Hawaii’s RPS purposes, the role of these inventive programs is to increase the renewable energy facilities.
Energy Policy Ballot Measures
Another important difference is in the energy policy ballot measures. A ballot measure, according to Danford, et al. (2016a), refers to a piece of proposed law which is to be approved or even rejected by voters but only the eligible ones. Both Hawaiian and Californian energy policies are characterized by a single energy ballot measure. In the case of Hawaii, the Hawaii Restrictions on Nuclear Energy which is also acknowledged as Amendment 26 defines the state’s ballot measure. This standard was approved in 1978, and it was intended to add a new provision to the state’s set of provisions (Danford, et al., 2016a). As such, the plan was that neither a nuclear fusion power plant is to be constructed nor any radioactive material is to be disposed off in Hawaii in the absence of prior approval by two-thirds of votes in each of the legislature houses.
The Californian energy ballot measure is known as the California utility user taxes defining the duties which cities and counties in California are allowed to impose on the consumption of energy services. The ballot measure approved Utility User Taxes before 1996 (Danford, et al., 2016b). Following the approval, at least half of the Californians pay the UUTs. Florida goes well beyond the ballot measure restrictions portrayed by California and Hawaii, whereby it has a total of five ballot measures (Danford, et al., 2016c). These include the Florida electric utilities, tax exemptions for renewable energy measure, the renewable energy tax exemption, right to produce and sell solar energy initiative, and the right to solar energy choice initiative. The context of each of these measures differs.
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To conclude, it is apparent that the energy policy in different states across the US tends not only to share several similarities but also demonstrates a number of differences. In this paper, the case of Californian, Hawaiian, and Florida’s energy policies were reviewed. Areas of similarities include reforms, governmental organizations, and major organizations. On the other hand, the three states differ significantly with regard to their renewable portfolio standard and energy policy ballot measures. None of the policies can be acknowledged as better than the other regardless of the differences. The distinctiveness is meant to cater for the interests and the needs of the locals in a more optimized way.