Paying the price of green energy

Green energy may cost a little more, but it can spur people on to make changes in their lifestyle to use less electricity, returning a net saving. It’s a win-win situation for the consumer and the environment.

I’m not sure whether it’s a scare tactic or governments actually being honest for a change, but I’m seeing an increasing number of news stories being published where government representatives are stating people need to come to the terms with the fact that cheap energy may be a thing of the past.

I suspect it’s a bit of both – they are hedging their bets. They are treading carefully to gauge public reaction; too much outcry and they’ll back down. If people are quiet or applaud the moves to green energy and are prepared to foot the bill, they’ll proceed. The former is a recipe for disaster. The latter, while putting pressure on the hip pocket for many families, will be a much smaller pain than what will happen if we continue with traditional, fossil fuel intensive methods of energy generation.

I do feel there needs to be a little more balance in the way that governments are getting the message of increased energy costs across. They need to recognize that some families simply won’t be able to afford green energy premiums and it’s up to the rest of us to help pay for that. After all, while things are still relatively good, we’re a caring society for the most part, right? Would you be comfortable sitting in your warm and cozy home knowing that the battling family next door are freezing their nads off and you could alleviate their discomfort for a cent or two a day? These families need to be reassured that they will be looked after – that the added costs will be subsidized for those in need.

Equally as important, perhaps even more so, is educating the public on cutting down consumption, which can easily offset increased energy costs.

I’ve mentioned previously that a few years back, the power I consumed in my office was around 300 – 500 watts per hour; more on the coldest/hottest days for air conditioning and heating. Through the use of a notebook and CFL lighting, I’ve cut that to below 100 watts per hour. I’m paying more for my green electricity (about 25% more), but I’m actually saving money through reducing consumption (66% + less).

I rug up a little more during winter so the heater doesn’t need to be on as much and through adding earth friendly roof insulation, we’ve also cut down our costs of keeping the place comfortable during Australia’s blistering hot summers.

Paying more per unit of energy in order to lead a greener life doesn’t necessarily mean paying more overall – it’s just a case of living with less waste and less of what we don’t actually need; and that’s a good thing on many levels – for our spirit and for the environment. That’s what governments should be pushing every time they mention that green energy will cost more.