Gallery: US Consumers Willing To Pay Higher Utility Bills For Clean Ene...


According to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, Americans are willing to pay for slightly higher electricity bills for clean energy. The survey, led by researchers from Yale and Harvard, asked this question: would consumers be interested in a law requiring utilities to source 80 percent of their power from sources including nuclear, solar and wind by 2035? The results indicated that on average, Americans are willing to pay an extra $162 more a year for an energy policy that mandated 80 percent of electricity is generated from renewables by 2035.

The researchers, Yale’s Matthew Kotchen and Andrew Leiserowitz and Harvard’s Joseph Aldy, found that the maximum amount citizens were willing to pay to ramp up renewable energy production was under $14 a month. The trio asked respondents questions about their support for a national clean energy standard (NCES), and they also provided different descriptions of the bill with various price tags. The 1,010 American surveyed last year also were provided three different versions of clean energy: renewables alone; renewables with natural gas; and renewables with nuclear.

The results show that Americans are ahead of Congress when it comes to a clean energy policy. Bills that would establish a NCES standard have been floated recently in both the House and the Senate, but politicians have only been willing to see electricity rates increase an average of $50 to $60 annually.

The rates Americans are willing to pay vary by demographics and geographic location. Senior citizens, non-whites and Republicans showed lower enthusiasm for a NCES. Support for such a policy decreased when natural gas and nuclear were included in the mix in addition to the rates citizens are willing to pay for such a policy. And the popularity of a new clean energy policy depended on the congressional district in which the respondent lives. Nevertheless, the survey shows that Americans support such programs as a feed-in tariff as long as the increases are not too steep.

Nature Climate Change

Via Washington Post

Photos courtesy Wikimedia (U.S. Air Force, Windtech)


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  1. mstraub May 18, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    There comes a time when people start to think about how they will be remembered, and people today are realizing they don’t want future generations to look back and say, ‘Thanks for the mess!’. We don’t want to pass on serious damage and disasters to our great-great grandchildren. We want to pass along technologies, innovations, and energy sources that make the world better and improve lives.

    These innovations are out there today, one example is Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC). It creates endless clean power from the temperature difference in shallow and deep water. It’s proven, it’s emission free, and it’s happening today. Plus the only byproduct of an OTEC system is millions of gallons of clean drinking water. Think about the improvement for a developing nation…reliable, affordable, clean power, and life giving water.

This is the kind of technology to rally behind, this is the kind of thing we can be proud to hand to future generations.

    Lots more on how OTEC works and the people making it happen at

  2. paco878 May 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Here in Texas, this is the case for our family. TXU offers a 100% Wind Plan that we have been on for the past three years. When approached by other competitors who do not have 100% renewable energy plan, they push their price as a selling point, some as low as $.08/kWH. But if they are gonna keep burning coal as a means to provide that price, I have no problem in supporting a 100% renewable energy plan for two to three cents more (current contract rate is $.11/kWH). Not to mention, conservation can help negate that difference in cost if it really concerns customers that much.

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