People want Renewable Energy. Who will give it to them?

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Two new polls out this week show that Americans want their future energy supply to be renewable. A mid-January USA Today/Gallup poll found that 83 percent of Americans want incentives for alternative energy, which put it at the top of their list for Congress to work on. And a February 7 Pike Research survey on energy and environmental concepts found that 79% of consumers have a favorable view of solar energy, and 75% have a favorable view of wind energy.

The Gallup survey asked what actions Congress should take this year, but Pike simply asked whether or not they looked with favor upon the particular energy source.  Both came to pretty similar conclusions: the public thinks renewable energy is a good thing.

But who will bring it to the public? If consumers want renewable energy, it stands to reason that they will reward whomever brings it to them – either with their votes or their dollars.

Will it be the government? In his State of the Union Address, President Obama called for 80 percent of America’s electricity to come from clean energy sources. But in case you hadn’t noticed, the government hasn’t been too big on getting things done these days. Unsurprisingly, not everyone is on  board with the 80 percent number.

If government doesn’t deliver, it would leave a large opportunity for business to take the lead. Whether it’s through purchasing renewable energy credits like the companies in the EPA Green Power Partnership, investing directly in renewable energy projects like Chevrolet, or using renewable energy in their operations like WindMade is trying to encourage companies to do.

When the public likes something as much as these polls show, they usually get it. The only question is: who’s going to get their love for giving it to them?

Image credit by Vestas

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