Green power in green spaces: Policy options to promote renewable energy use in U.S. National Parks

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Title: Green power in green spaces: Policy options to promote renewable energy use in U.S. National Parks
Author: Green, Erin
Abstract: The National Park Service (NPS) has a mission of sustainability: to conserve its resources for the enjoyment of future generations. The mission implies the use of sustainable technologies. In order to best make use of sustainable energy technologies, the NPS must have an understanding of the most significant barriers inhibiting such technologies’ use. The purpose of this research is to identify barriers to renewable energy technologies (RETs) at U.S. national parks located in the Pacific West Region (PWR), and to develop recommendations for appropriate policy interventions to address the barriers. A survey of energy managers representing the approximately 50 parks in this region identified and ranked key barriers from the perspective of those initializing projects and maintaining the RET systems. To validate the significance of barriers identified by park personnel, parks with RET systems were compared with parks without systems according to relevant attributes such as funding and staffing. To gain a further understanding of the barriers to RET use and of underlying issues, the comments of park personnel were analyzed to establish common themes and concerns. The barriers identified through qualitative analysis were then validated through comparison of barrier ratings in relation to RET ownership and experience with unsuccessful attempts to obtain RETs. Finally, the strategies of park energy managers to overcome central barriers, and the factors assisting them in this regard were examined to determine opportunities for overcoming what were established as the strongest barriers to RET implementation. The results of this research are a set of policy recommendations that could be used by the federal government to incentivize and encourage park decision makers to undertake cost-effective renewable energy projects in the future.
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Date: 2006-10-16

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