Not just hot air: people putting money where their mouths’ are?

According to IBM’s just released the results of a global poll that showed that not only do people say that they are willing to pay more for green energy, they actually are doing so in increasing numbers … voluntarily.  Where the option exists, some 25 percent of polled people, who have the option, are paying additional money to get “clean” power.

In this global poll, reported in Plugging in The Customer and discussed in the press release Tilting at Windmills,

nearly half of consumers surveyed across the globe would pay more for environmentally friendly non-energy products, when it comes to purchasing “green” energy, two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay more for power that could be definitively shown to have lower emissions of greenhouse gases. Australians are most willing to pay a premium for green power, but Americans are most willing to pay a sizable premium, up to an additional 20 percent or more.

Now, this study suggests to the electric industry the opportunity (and challenge) of growing consumer interest in having active choice options when it comes to their energy situation.  Now, much of this relates to increasing concerns about Global Warming, but it suggests that people are uncertain as to what they should and can do.

Overall, consumers want to be more active in their energy decision-making; however, they do not appear to have enough awareness and knowledge to do so. While carbon footprints and other analyses of personal environmental impact have attracted widespread attention, 75 percent of consumers surveyed outside the U.S. have not performed one — and only 15 percent of US consumers have done this.

 Note this: 25 percent of those outside the United States have calculated their carbon footprint, yet just 15 percent of polled Americans have.  (Note: this online process takes just a few moments.)

The survey also found that the promise of reduced energy costs would impact how and when consumers heat and cool their homes, do their laundry and cook their meals. Of those surveyed, 84 percent said that a 50 percent reduction in energy cost during off-peak hours was the most important. Sixty-one percent would change their energy-consuming behavior in response to claims that there would be a positive environmental impact from such changes, and this would rise to 65 percent if such benefits could be demonstrated.

Peak/Off-peak charges and more than four-of-five people say that they would change their energy use patterns.  And, three-of-five would do so for the positive environmental impacts.  Truth be told, best to combine as many motivating factors as possible, financial, moral, ethical, social pressure, legal, technical options, etc …

This IBM report suggests a major path of change in the electrical industry, yet another driving path for smart(er) grids, the customer desire for greater engagement in the process, rather than simply happy with not knowing what goes on behind that wall switch.

Hat tip to EcoGeek.

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