Community and Regional Planning Program


Date of this Version

Spring 4-12-2012


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Community and Regional Planning, Major: Community and Regional Planning, Under the Supervision of Professor Zhenghong Tang. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Xun Liu


In modern society, energy has long been a part of human life. However, traditional energy resources will be used up eventually, and they also cause environmental pollution. In contrast with traditional energy resources, new energy has three major advantages: it has high efficiency, renewable and environmentally friendly. Considering new energy’s efficiency, local government should adopt appropriate policies. New energy policies are the most effective and direct method to enable governments to achieve their goals.

This study mainly focuses on how energy policies can improve the efficiency of new energy use. More specifically, this research addresses three major questions: 1) To what extent does California local planning addresses the new energy policies? 2) Which policies have local jurisdictions adopted to directly improve new energy use, and which strategies have received the most and least attention? 3) What methods or models can other place learn from California? In the United States, California has established a successful new energy use system. This paper uses California as a study area. California has 58 counties. The study sample is 37 counties which have energy plans and have updated them at least once.

To systematically evaluate new energy use in these counties, the author examines six policies from energy plans and general plans: conservation easement, energy efficient buildings, low impact development, clustering and mixed-use, greenhouse gas emission regulations and transit-oriented development. The research methodology uses these policies as indicators and uses the Geographic Information System (GIS) and statistical tables as evaluation methods. After describing these policies, the paper describes the characteristics of the six policies and suitability for adoption in other places of the world using the result tables and GIS graphics. The discussion and analysis may provide the state of California with some helpful suggestions. In addition, these six policies could be adopted in other places; the suggested location is Guangdong Province in China, which has similarities with California and is deficient in adoption of new energy plans and new energy use.

Advisor: Zhenghong Tang