- Consequences and dangers of gerrymandering: An ongoing threat to voter equality and fairness by Ellen Schenk
Despite the many movements and organizations dedicated to fighting against gerrymandering, gerrymandering and its various forms remain a current issue in elections. While gerrymandering has been an issue consistently brought before the Supreme Court, there has been no established measure to identify a gerrymandered district. There is a broad scope of literature surrounding suggested measures, such as the efficiency gap, the mean-median gap, and the seats-to-votes curve. Gerrymandering presents a clear and present threat to the equality of elections due to the lack of competition and an unfair process of redistricting. Reforms such as guidelines for commissions and the 2020 census need to be undertaken to ensure a fair and just reapportionment process.
- What is the ‘Energy Efficiency Gap’? Analyzing market failures to energy efficiency by Pravesh Raghoo
Energy efficiency is key to establishing a sustainable and clean environment for present and future generations. Without initiatives to develop energy efficiency, there are doubts that the path towards greater sustainability can ever be achieved. The literature on energy efficiency has long demonstrated the presence and persistence of an ‘energy efficiency gap.’ This paper examines the nature and size of this gap, identifies vital explanatory factors, and explores approaches by which to bridge the gap between potential and actual improvements in energy efficiency for sustainable development.
- Beyond Keifer Sutherland’s Designated Survivor, Recovering Washington, D.C.: An Examination of the District of Columbia’s Recovery Plan by Zachary Cox
The popular imagination, as exhibited by the television show Designated Survivor, constructs disaster recovery as a process performed by omnipotent government agents who guide action in ways that are comprehensive, fair, and efficient. However, as the National Disaster Recovery Plan and the District of Columbia Recovery Plan demonstrate, there is little understanding of the processes required to recover from a disaster. This paper examines the Plan for the District of Columbia’s Economic Recovery from disaster and proposes recommendations that could more easily streamline the planning and recovery of disaster in Washington, DC.
- Battery Energy Storage Systems for Transmission & Distribution Upgrade Deferral: Opportunities, Challenges and Feasibility in the US Electricity Sector by Sashwat Roy
Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) are emerging technologies which are opening new opportunities that improve and reduce the costs of electricity. However, exactly where the storage is deployed (generation, transmission or customer) on the electricity system can have an immense impact on the value created by BESS technologies. In this study, we highlight the value created by BESS when installed downstream from a nearly overloaded node at the distribution level by deferring investment in capital-intensive feeder upgrades. The study also examines regulatory policy initiatives in “storage as a transmission asset” and provides recommendations based on the understanding of the regulatory treatment of energy storage to ensure increased deployment of these systems as transmission assets.
- Effective disasters: 2013 European flood damage as a policy driver by Logan Gerber-Chavez
Disasters are the most tangible representation of climate change in our time. For policymakers, the easiest way to engage their constituents on new public policy is to relate it to a specific need. Natural disasters are an easily visible reference to remind people of a very pressing need for new disaster policy. Are frequent references to disasters then a motivation for policy change? If yes, do policy changes coincide with the degree of disaster damage? To compare policy responses to disasters it requires holding the magnitude of a disaster as a constant so as to compare the difference in policy action in relation to the same disaster. This assessment compares policy responses by nine (9) European countries (including; Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia) affected by the 2013 flood of the Danube, Elbe, and Rhine rivers. Life years are implemented to compare the disaster impacts across multiple situations (Noy, 2015). The expectation was that the country most impacted would have the most incentive and therefore apply the most elaborate disaster policy in response.