International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Dual Degree Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy (MBA/ESP)


Graduate School of Management

Chief Instructor

Will O'Brien

Second Reader

Timothy Downs

Third Reader

Alistair Pim


The purpose of this paper is to present evidence that the United States is entering a "Utility Death Spiral" - a dramatic shift away from the utility based model of electricity supply to consumers. It also explores how U.S utilities can reposition themselves to best mitigate the economic losses associated with a Death Spiral. A Utility Death Spiral is currently taking place in Germany called the "Energiewende" and it is having immediate impacts on its energy landscape. The case study of the Energiewende is presented, its impacts, and the response taken by the country’s “big four” utility companies. After analyzing the German utilities, recommendations are made that inform how U.S. utilities should organize to mitigate potential impacts of a Death Spiral here in the U.S.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.