Many countries have adopted comprehensive policy frameworks to support renewable energy, but the United States has not adopted any consistent and stable policies at the national level to foster the use of renewable energy. This essay explores why some nations (Germany, China, and Denmark) and certain U.S. states (Colorado, Texas, and Ohio) have developed robust policies for the deployment of renewable energy. My aim is not to evaluate the specific policy mechanisms that countries and states have chosen, but rather to shed light on the underlying societal factors that contributed to each government's decision to enact the policies in the first place. I explore four factors that could influence a government's decision to adopt favorable policies for renewable energy: (1) economic motives; (2) a high endowment of renewable resources and/or a low endowment of nonrenewable sources; (3) the political system; and (4) cultural factors and attitudes.

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