Residential Alternative Electricity: Lots of Talk, Not Much Action?

Talk about reducing your carbon footprint is one thing, action quite another. And when it comes to signing up with providers of alternative energy for electricity at home, the vast majority of Americans haven’t, according to a recent Associated Press report.

Michael Hill of A.P. on July 6 reported that even though green power programs are widely available, less than 1 percent of residential consumers nationwide get their electricity from them.

Hill quoted Brian F. Keane, president of SmartPower, a nonprofit clean energy marketing group, as saying that people in general “don’t think wind and solar power can keep the lights on at night, keep the heat on in winter and keep the air conditioning on in summer. It conjures up all of the worst caricatures of the environmental movement …. They must wear hemp, they must buy organic, (and) they must live in a cold, dark house.”

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 2007 estimated that about 700,000 customers nationwide – almost all of them residential – were buying green power in 2006. That’s out of about 122.5 million residential customers in the U.S. – although not all of them have access to green power programs.

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