TED Conversations

Joe Nyangon


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Why has "green consumption" of sustainable products (e.g. Whole Foods, Toyota Prius) not permeated electricity consumption?

While many consumers have embraced sustainable products (eg. Whole Foods, Toyota Prius), that ethos has not yet permeated electricity consumption. Why do you think this is the case? Will it always be like this? Will renewable energy consumption be driven only by government mandates? Why? Or do you think this will change? If the marketplace were fair and rational, there would be no need for subsidies and mandates for the renewables and a proper carbon tax would suffice—as is starting to happen in Europe through cap-and-trade system. What will drive the change to clean energy consumption?


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  • Mar 31 2012: The state of Vermont was the first in the nation to include an "energy efficiency utility" to everybody's electric bill. The result is that businesses and homeowners receive free consultation about lighting, and heating/cooling, which allows some companies to save a lot of money both in expertise and in rebates for efficiency renovations. The 2010 Savings Claim states that the program has already saved over $115 million dollars in total resource benefits. The fee depends on electric usage, whether it's residential/commercial, and some businesses and electric companies have adapted programs of their own. Future plans are to address heating and industrial processes. Other states (Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon) have since started their own energy efficiency utility programs. Vermont also has incentive programs for installation of most forms of renewable energy, including allowing homeowners to lease solar PV panels and pay an alternative, cheaper, "electric bill" to the owner of the panel.

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