Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environment, Economics and Politics

Reader 1

Nancy Neiman Auerbach

Reader 2

John Jurewitz

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Rights Information

© 2017 Siena J.M. Hacker


A Regional System Operator in the Western Interconnection would create significant environmental and economic benefits. California alone could realize annual savings of up to 1.5 billion dollars while cutting the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by eight to ten percent in 2030. However, many stakeholders have rejected development of a Regional System Operator both historically and in recent California Legislative sessions. Ultimately, key stakeholders’ fears of repeating the California Electricity Crisis, relinquishing state authority, allowing greater interference from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and sacrificing legislative environmental progress in California have created political opposition and legislative failures blocking efforts to develop a Regional System Operator. To overcome these political failures and realize the benefits of a better-organized regional electricity market, stakeholders will need to compromise and accept the vague risks of unforeseen consequences.