Bloomberg: Americans 2-1 Will Pay More for Electricity to Combat Climate Change. Not that They have to, but Nice to Know.

June 11, 2014


The fallacy implied by the headline is that clean, renewable electricity costs more than dirty, mercury laced, climate killing coal. But, even assuming that, a majority are saying they’d pay more for a livable planet. Go figure.


Americans are willing to bear the costs of combating climate change, and most are more likely to support a candidate seeking to address the issue.

By an almost two-to-one margin, 62 percent to 33 percent, Americans say they would pay more for energy if it would mean a reduction in pollution from carbon emissions, according to the Bloomberg National Poll.

While Republicans were split, with 46 percent willing to pay more and 49 percent opposed to it, 82 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents say they’d accept higher bills.

“We’re already hitting 110 degrees here,” said Larry McNamed, a 44-year-old independent in Henderson, Nevada. “A lot of people are trying to sweep this under the rug, but we need to do something. It’s only going to get hotter.”

Jim Marston in Forbes:

Everyone knows that Texas’ history is deeply rooted in oil and gas. But the state RPS is popular among elected officials that have witnessed the remarkable economic boom it sparked. Texas has already surpassed the RPS goal set for 2015. More than 1,300 companies employ more than 100,000 Texans in industries directly and indirectly related to renewable energy.

The state’s Public Utilities Commission concluded that mass deployment of wind reduces the price of electricity for the entire market – each 1,000 MW of wind lowers the wholesale price of electricity by $2.38/MWh.

Colorado’s program has also been a success. The American Wind Energy Association estimates that the state’s RPS is supporting nearly 4,000 direct and indirect jobs and generating a billion dollars in capital investment along with millions in leasing revenue for landowners who benefit from the policy.

There are other analyses, too, that show that RPS laws actually reduce energy prices, and the overall cost of renewable energy continues to fall. Solar panel prices dropped 60% between 2011 and mid-2012 – and they continue to plummet. Austin Energy is in talks to purchase half a billion dollars of solar energy from SunEdison at an astoundingly cheap $50/MWh (for comparison, natural gas is currently priced at more than $65/MWh).


The so-called “most successful investor of the 20th century” says he’s about to pump another $15 billion into renewable energy, effectively doubling his clean power portfolio to $30 billion. But Warren Buffett’s investment is far from being another high stakes roll of the dice. It’s not a wild bet—it’s a safe one.

The announcement comes from Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention in Las Vegas, where Warren Buffet seemed unrestrained and unambiguous about his stance toward the viability the of solar and wind industry—and willing to casually pledge an amount equal to the entire GDP of Latvia to clean energy investment.

After his deputy had tallied his bets on wind and solar projects thus far—$15 billion—Buffett was quick to append the figure. “There’s another $15 billion ready to go, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. He made the remark “without missing a beat,” according to Bloomberg. The exchange speaks less to the famed investor’s predilection for big, ambitious bets, however, and more to the soundness of investing in renewable energy, period.



9 Responses to “Bloomberg: Americans 2-1 Will Pay More for Electricity to Combat Climate Change. Not that They have to, but Nice to Know.”

  1. Angor Wat Says:

    As you said it nice to know also for the rest of the world.

  2. I wrote an article about renewable energy in Texas 2 years ago.

    What I found then and is undoubtedly still true today is in cities (like Houston) where consumers choose their energy provider, there is only about a 5-10% cost difference between 100% renewable plans and dirty plans. In fact, often green plans are exactly the same price or sometimes cheaper. Infuriatingly, over 50% of Houston consumers I meet still go for the dirty plans — because of laziness, sticking with a brand name or simple lack of curiosity about the difference between clean and dirty plans. Many consumers mistakenly believe that green plans are significantly more expensive than dirty plans. They are not.

    San Antonio and Austin have municipal plans and surprisingly have pretty dirty energy providers. This has been changing in the last year or so and I expect Austin’s new energy portfolio to be very green indeed. 2 or 3 years ago I would have said that municipal energy providers in Texas were too dirty to be trusted; today it appears that cities which allow consumers to choose energy providers don’t have a good track record. This could probably easily be fixed with a better education campaign, but why would the state of Texas pay to do that?

    • “Infuriatingly, over 50% of Houston consumers I meet still go for the dirty plans…”

      Just to be clear, when you sign up for one of those “green energy plans,” that doesn’t mean that you are actually getting green energy supplied to your home:

      • jimbills Says:

        Right. The consumer basically pays extra to subsidize the renewable energy industry via RECs, providing incentives to expand renewable sources, but the actual energy comes from all of the combined sources on the grid.

        It’s only a scam if the customer thinks they’re actually getting just wind and solar power. They’re not. But what they’re doing is paying extra to help expand renewable sources.

        “Infuriatingly, over 50% of Houston consumers I meet still go for the dirty plans…”

        I’d be willing to bet far, far fewer buy renewable plans than ‘dirty’ plans, but I’ve scoured for info on the percent of consumers who buy into the REC program and I can’t find it. Anyone?

        I did find this. It comes from Rick Perry’s office of all places, but it has some really excellent info on the wind and solar business in the state:

        Click to access renewable_energy.pdf

        Some stats on RECs in Texas:

      • I responded at length in my original article to the charge that you’re not really getting green power in your home if you are purchasing RECs. To summarize, RECs are a time-tested mechanism, and Green-E generally has a good reputation (a few years back they threatened to invalidate Texas RECs for trying to double count some of their renewables in their portfolio).). The most important thing is that RECs are a way for consumers to vote with their pocketbooks.

    • skeptictmac57 Says:

      I agree wholly. I currently use Tri-Eagle 100% renewable at 0.097 per kWh,which,while not the cheapest,is very competitive in the Texas market,and they don’t charge that bullshit $10 fee when you use less than 1000 kWh each month like my last plan. If they bump my rate at the end of my contract,then I will just change to another comparable rate from someone else . I’ve done that several times now over the last 6 or 7 years,and I always get a reasonable rate for 100% renewable plans.
      My last May bill was less than $46 for the month.
      You are right about people being lazy/scared to change.I just don’t think they have done the math,and also don’t realize that the power delivery will still be coming from the exact same grid as always. I tell everyone I know to do the homework,and change without fear.

  3. jimbills Says:

    I really wish they’d link the exact wording on that poll. Something like this can be radically altered by how the question is phrased. The full Bloomberg article gives a more complete picture, though.

    I pay about a penny more per kWh for a 100% renewable plan in Texas. Interestingly, I just received this email a few minutes ago from the power supplier:

    “Hi JIM,

    It’s a HOT day in Texas today and we need your help. Not just TriEagle Energy but the environment and the Texas power grid need your cooperation as well.

    Even the trees are sweatin’!

    TriEagle Energy would like to pay you for reducing your energy usage during this critical time today, see below. If you reduce your energy usage during the next few hours, you’ll be eligible for a credit on your invoice.”

    My A/C doesn’t turn on until the thermostat reads 82, and it’s not on yet. It’s 92 degrees outside. Texas is going to get a lot hotter before the summer is over.

    Still, I’ll turn off my computer now!

    • skeptictmac57 Says:

      Ha! I got the exact same email jimbills! I have mine set at 83,and I was wondering “Where the heck is it so hot (I’m near Dallas) ,it’s not all that warm here for summertime. About 85 currently…nice for Texas 😉

  4. […] 2014/06/11: PSinclair: Bloomberg: Americans 2-1 Will Pay More for Electricity to Combat Climate Chan… […]

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