An Ideal Sustainable Energy Model for Local Utilities: An Assessment of the City of San Marcos, Texas
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The purpose of this research is to develop an ideal sustainable energy policy for the San Marcos Electric Utility. The utility of the 21st century should focus on doing more with less, rather than always producing more, which was the 20th century model. The San Marcos Electric Utility is uniquely positioned to become an energy utility for the 21st century by focusing on the five key components of the practical ideal model, known as the Sustainable Energy Utility. The five key elements are:
- Central Coordination
- Comprehensive Programs
- Flexible Incentives
- Financial Self-Sufficiency
- Setting a Standard
Key literature is reviewed on effective green policies for electric utilities, and applies them to policies in San Marcos, Texas. The research examines the historical context of renewable energy policies in the United States, and the lack of a comprehensive and consistent federal plan going back to the 1973 Arab oil embargo. By exploring how local governments acted in the absence of federal action, the research shows how local action is key to driving change.
A case study of the San Marcos Electric Utility occurred, using document analysis, direct observation, and structured interviews to gauge certain policies in San Marcos to determine how close the policies of the San Marcos Electric Utility reflect the ideal policies established by the Sustainable Energy Utility. For the most part, San Marcos mostly meets the standards of the Sustainable Energy Utility. The research helped develop 23 recommendations to improve the policies of the San Marcos Electric Utility.