February 29, 2008

Beat of the Nation: Renewable Energy

I have my own views on renewable energy which I will be spouting profusely about in the coming weeks but today I take a back seat as I continue my survey of the American populace and their thoughts on renewable energy.

Disclaimer: Absolutely none of these polls are scientific as I do not control the sampling or the bias of viewers beliefs who participate. But the results are not tampered and I myself do not count the votes as an automated service registers the answer of each unique IP address.

The major issue we will have to tackle no renewable energy is incorporating the technologies into the transportation sector. As long as Americans can plug in their home devices I'm pretty sure they don't care where its coming from, but for some reason Americans are completely absorbed with their love of cars. So the question is which alternative fuel is more likely to succeed? A whopping 60% said Hydrogen will be the fuel of the future with Ethanol and biodiesel garnering 16% and 9% respectively. Other received 15% which shows the uncertainty the public has with all of the available technologies.

When asked if a hybrid vehicle sounds more appealing now than it did 6 months ago
25% said yes it was a better buy now while 65% said no, I am still as pro-Hybrid as before while 9% was just as anti-hybrid as before. So all of these people say they are pro-hybrid and manufacturers are starting to roll out hybrid SUV's to satiate America's bigger and better complex. The question is will they sell? 79% say yes consumer demand is there while 21% said no, it is not worth the added cost.

You next vehicle will get: 36% said 30-40 mpg; 35% said 20-30; and 16% said 40+ mpg.

Just to show how reluctant Americans really are though to change within their vehicles I asked whether they would consider buying a diesel car. 54% said yes while 46% said no. Little do most Americans realize that the rest of the world is running on diesel and that its a much more efficient fuel (check out this blogger who got 72 mpg in a stock Euro diesel Honda Civic).

Now with these numbers I feel like my sample was biased toward the need for hybrid and renewable energy vehicles but the response was so overwhelming you have to think that companies will be forced to improve hybrid efficiency and strive for innovation within their power consumption.

Massive power consumption on the commercial scale where we need to see the biggest push as we adjust from a coal and oil dependent energy grid to alternatives. Here are a few questions on that.

Governors want coal considered as "green" fuel. You say: 24% Coal is a viable option, 76% Coal is too dirty to be considered "green"

Scientists list "greatest engineering challenges." Biggest of these?
41% Making solar energy affordable; 27% Provide energy from fusion; 10% Prevent nuclear terror. Its interesting here that our politicians rail about the need to stop terrorist attacks and the public's mind is much more worried about energy solutions as two categories of energy trumped the nuclear threat.

The public's interest in cutting edge renewable technologies is growing also. When asked whether the Gulf Stream could be harvested for energy production 83% were confident that a suitable technology could be developed while only 17% said it sounds too far fetched.

Here's a touchy one, and one that I am very invested in. Should we build more nuclear plants to aid energy independence? 71% think so while only 29% don't. I think it is a necessary energy source moving further into the 21st century. I would do an analysis of safety but I really don't think it needs to be done, maybe I'll look up how many people died in nuclear accidents this year versus coal miners but I'm sure we don't need to bring that heartache back up.

Here's probably my favorite:

And what are American's doing now to combat energy expenditure? Are you more likely to buy a product that has an energy star logo? 46% said yes, definitely; 31% said maybe; and 23% said no, not really. This one is a big eye opener to me, especially with how much the answers were skewed toward alternative and energy saving fuels in cars. Maybe the gas price hike has caused Americans to rethink their traveling expenses, but soon enough these prices will be felt in the home.

And one loaded question for the respondents which I was really impressed with the answer. Your neighbors install an ugly, energy-generating windmill. You: 64% Congratulate them, its green; 22% Grumble but do nothing; 11% Ask local government to remove it; and 3% Ask them to take it down.

So that's the beat of the nation when it comes to energy saving and renewable energy. Next week I'll have a more detailed look at the different types of energy and their true viability in a commercial market which has to compete with oil and coal.

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