Working Paper
The legal configuration of hydrocarbon infrastructure

The United States’ greenhouse gas mitigation strategy decentralizes mitigation responsibility to the states and states have primary regulatory jurisdiction over electrical power utilities. Using the biophysical approach, this paper introduces the notion of hydrocarbon infrastructure.

Focusing on a utility rate case from the state of Wisconsin, I argue that the law and the electrical markets which it organizes presuppose hydrocarbon infrastructure. A necessary aspect of greenhouse gas mitigation and transition to renewable energy is a state-level reconfiguration of law and legal institutions around renewable energy generation.