Wait, Cities Can Do What? Achieving City Energy Goals through Franchise Agreements

Jeffrey Cook, Bryn Grunwald, Alison Holm, Alexandra Aznar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


A growing number of municipalities have developed clean energy goals and policies to reduce their carbon emissions among other objectives. One emerging pathway municipalities have used to achieve clean energy goals is through including these objectives in electric franchise agreements. An electric franchise agreement is a negotiated contract between a municipality and an electric service provider which among other stipulations grants the utility the right to serve customers in the municipality's jurisdiction. This is the first nationwide assessment of the municipal opportunity to pursue franchise agreements with electric service providers, along with the potential impact of these agreements on achieving clean energy goals. We conclude that municipalities across at least 30 states have the authority to pursue franchise agreements. Our bounding scenarios suggest widespread deployment of renewable energy via franchise-driven partnerships could result in 164 – 911 TW h of renewable energy potentially serving 15.8 – 87.7 million households. Though there is immense opportunity to leverage franchise agreements to achieve renewable energy objectives, future deployment will be dependent on the negotiations between an electric service provider and individual municipalities.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number111619
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Policy
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-77270


  • Electric service providers
  • Franchise agreements
  • Local government
  • Municipalities
  • Renewable energy
  • Solar


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