Sanya Carley

Indiana University
School of Public and Environmental Affairs

1315 E. 10th Street
Bloomington, IN
47405 |  Visit Personal Website

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My research focuses on electricity and transportation policy, and generally fits into three sub-categories: the evaluation of the diffusion, effects, effectiveness, and unintended consequences of energy policy instruments; energy-based economic development; and public perceptions about new energy technologies.

Carley, S. 2016. Energy programs of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Review of Policy Research 33(2): 201-223.
Abstract: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act injected approximately $840 billion into the U.S. economy to provide both short-term economic stimulus and longer term technological advancement and infrastructure development. One of the primary recipients of stimulus funds in the United States and elsewhere around the world was the energy sector. This analysis reviews states’ experiences with Recovery Act energy programs, and highlights the perceived challenges and accomplishments that state officials encountered with these programs. Based on semi-structured interviews conducted with state officials involved in Recovery Act implementation, the analysis focuses on the following main themes: compliance difficulties, spending preparedness, degree and quality of federal guidance, timing, efficiency, and perceptions of success and lasting benefits.
Carley,S., Baldwin, E., MacLean, L.M, Brass, J.N. 206. Global expansion of renewable energy generation: An analysis of policy instruments. Environmental and Resource Economics.
Abstract: This study analyzes the degree to which renewable energy policies, in particular feed-in tariffs and renewable portfolio standards, facilitate renewable energy generation growth across a wide range of countries using an original cross-national dataset of 164 countries between 1990 and 2010. Results provide evidence that both policies are important predictors of renewable energymarket growth. The dependent variable is operationalized first as the percentage of total electricity from renewable energy and second as the annual increase in total renewable energy generation in a country. Results are robust to several alternative model specifications including those that exclude hydroelectric generation in the construct of renewable energy. The degree to which feed-in tariffs are endogenous, however, is not conclusive. Besides the prominent role of these policies, results reveal that factors related to annual increases in renewable energy differ from those related to an overall transition toward greater reliance on renewable energy. This suggests that simply increasing renewable generation does not necessarily decrease reliance on fossil fuels or help countries make the shift to a clean energy economy.
Carley, S. 2011. "Decarbonization of the U.S. Electricity Sector: Are State Energy Policy Portfolios the Solution?" Energy Economics 33 (5).
Abstract: State governments have taken the lead on U.S. energy and climate policy. It is not yet clear, however, whether state energy policy portfolios can generate results in a similar magnitude or manner to their presumed carbon mitigation potential. This article seeks to address this lack of policy evidence and contribute empirical insights on the carbon mitigation effects of state energy portfolios within the U.S. electricity sector. Using a dynamic, long-term electricity dispatch model with U.S. power plant, utility, and transmission and distribution data between 2010 and 2030, this analysis builds a series of state-level policy portfolio scenarios and performs a comparative scenario analysis. Results reveal that state policy portfolios have modest to minimal carbon mitigation effects in the long run if surrounding states do not adopt similar portfolios as well. The difference in decarbonization potential between isolated state policies and larger, more coordinated policy efforts is due in large part to carbon leakage, which is the export of carbon intensive fossil fuel-based electricity across state lines. Results also confirm that a carbon price of $50/metric ton CO2e can generate substantial carbon savings. Although both policy options?an energy policy portfolio or a carbon price?are effective at reducing carbon emissions in the present analysis, neither is as effective alone as when the two strategies are combined.
Carley, S. 2011. "The Era of State Energy Policy Innovation: A Review of Policy Instruments."Review of Policy Research 28 (3).
Abstract: United States energy and climate policy has evolved from the bottom-up, led by state governments, and internationally recognized for the use of unconventional and innovative policy instruments. This study focuses on policy instruments adopted throughout the era of state energy policy innovation that aim to diversify, decentralize, and decarbonize the electricity sector. Specific attention is devoted to the following instruments: the renewable portfolio standard, net metering, interconnection standards, tax incentives, public benefit funds, and energy efficiency resource standards. After roughly fifteen years of state leadership, this study asks, what have we learned about the effects and effectiveness of state policy tools on the U.S. electricity sector, and what do these findings suggest about the role of state energy policy in the electricity sector? This analysis synthesizes the findings from the energy policy literature and provides a summary of the current state of understanding about the effects of various state energy policy instruments, and concludes with a discussion of broader trends that have emerged from the use of policy instruments in the state energy policy innovation era.
Carley, S., Miller, C. 2012. Regulatory Stringency and Policy Adoption: Reassessment of Renewable Portfolio Standards. Policy Studies Journal.
Abstract: Renewable energy policy has far-reaching implications for national and international economic, environmental, and political sustainability, but thus far within the U.S. it has been almost entirely the province of state governments. This paper examines the factors motivating state-level policymakers to adopt different forms of a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), highlighting the distinction between degrees of policy stringency, ranging from entirely voluntary participation to rigorous and strictly enforced targets. In the process we introduce a new metric for assessing stringency, more precise and reliable than the various proxies used previously, and analyze its relationship to drivers of policy adoption. We find that policies of different stringencies are motivated by systematically different underlying factors. State-level citizen political ideology is a significant predictor of RPS policy adoption, particularly for “voluntary” and “weak” policy designs. “Strong” policy designs, on the other hand, are best predicted by ideology at the government level, i.e., the degree of institutional liberalism. These findings may inform current implementation and program evaluation efforts, and potentially point the way toward more effective policy choices if and when an RPS moves forward on the national policy agenda, while the stringency metric central to this analysis can be of use to other policy scholars concerned with topics both within and beyond the realm of energy policy.

Substantive Focus:
Energy and Natural Resource Policy PRIMARY
Environmental Policy
Science and Technology Policy SECONDARY

Theoretical Focus:
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation SECONDARY
Policy Analysis and Evaluation PRIMARY