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Americans Happy To Pay More For Clean Energy, But Only a Little More

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the worth-the-money dept.

Earth 325

Fluffeh writes "A recent study of over 1,000 folks for a paper published in Nature Climate Change has found that the average U.S. citizen is inclined to pay a premium to ensure that by 2035, 80% of U.S. power comes from clean energy. At random, respondents received one of three "technological treatments" or definitions of clean energy that included renewable energy sources alone, renewable sources plus natural gas, and renewable sources plus nuclear power. Delving into the socioeconomics, researchers found that Republicans, Independents, and respondents with no party allegiance were less likely by 25, 13 and 25 percentage points respectively to support a NCES than respondents that identified themselves as Democrats."

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And, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026479)

An NCES is ...?

(Certainly not a first post)

Re:And, of course (1)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026601)

National Clean Energy Standard.

From the first sentence from TFA.

Re:And, of course (1, Troll)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027077)

People are only willing to pay a little more for clean energy because the full environmental cost of polluting energy has not been realized or seen by the majority, yet. Ask those in expanding tornado zones, or in newly created flood zones what they would pay for clean energy and Ill wager you will get very different results...

Re:And, of course (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026657)

If you ask McDonalds customers if they'd like to see more salads and healthy choices they'll say, "Yes, of course!"

But ... when McDonalds put them on the menu they keep right on buying burgers and fries.

Moral: People answering surveys tend to idealize.

Re:And, of course (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026721)

To be fair, McDonalds 'salads' are so laden with oil and sugar that it's difficult to class them as healthy choices...

Re:And, of course (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026809)

I tend to buy salads and such if I stop at a McDonalds. Of course before they had those items I just did not stop there if I could avoid it.

Re:And, of course (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026923)

Why would someone go to MacD to get salads? There are places for salads, and places for burgers, and MacD is, uhm, neither really.

Re:And, of course (5, Informative)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027125)

Why would someone go to MacD to get salads?

Because their friends who like burgers are also going there for lunch. The ability to placate the healthy eater or vegeterian in a lunch group has become vital to the lunch menu, particularly in urban business areas. If you don't have these items, you get Veto'd by one person out of six, and you lose the whole group to some place the one can settle for.

Re:And, of course (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027193)

Going to McDonalds for a salad is like going to a hooker for a hug.

Re:And, of course (3, Insightful)

catchblue22 (1004569) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027375)

Don't act as if purchasing decisions by the average consumer are based on calm deliberation and rational thought, because most often they are not. Most purchasing decisions are based in large part on subconscious impulses and emotions. Basing public policy on how consumers make purchasing decisions will result in irrational policy.

Solar power satellites (2, Interesting)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026485)

Often absent from these discussions, and before the usual flamewars start, are solar power satellites [startramfans.com] , such as the ones JAXA [nature.com] is developing. This technology, while it may seem a bit blue sky at the moment is coming very much economically within our grasp over the next decade. All of the energy we need is flying right at us free of charge from the biggest nuclear reactor in the solar system, we just need to take advantage of it.

Re:Solar power satellites (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026517)

There is a reason they're absent: the numbers don't work.

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/03/space-based-solar-power/ [ucsd.edu]

People are skeptical about paying more for power precisely because of boondoggles like that. How are we to know if the money is going to scientifically sound solutions or to someone's infeasible pet project, or worse, to their brother in law.

Re:Solar power satellites (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026599)

While its possible that er, Tom Murphy knows more than JAXA and their household name industy associates who are willing to put tens of billions of dollars into SPSs, I doubt it. Fact is, JAXA has gone on record as saying that launch costs need to be one hundredth of their current amount for it to be competitive. That is quite doable. Read the links!

think for yourself! (1)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026693)

While its possible that er, Tom Murphy knows more than JAXA and their household name industy associates who are willing to put tens of billions of dollars into SPSs, I doubt it.

Instead of playing a game of "who do I believe", why don't you use your own head and figure it out for yourself? Figuring out the relative cost and benefits of space solar energy is elementary.

Furthermore, apart from the horrible cost/benefit tradeoffs for space solar, and the military risks, your web site points out yet another problem: energy balance. Ground-based solar doesn't change the overall energy balance much, since the solar radiation is coming in anyway and most gets absorbed whether you use it for energy or not. But space-based solar pumps large amounts of energy through the atmosphere that otherwise wouldn't have come in, and then converts it all into heat on the ground.

Re:think for yourself! (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026717)

Instead of playing a game of "who do I believe", why don't you use your own head and figure it out for yourself? Figuring out the relative cost and benefits of space solar energy is elementary.

If you read the linked discussion there is quite a bit of figuring out already done.

Re:think for yourself! (2)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027173)

Instead of playing a game of "who do I believe", why don't you use your own head and figure it out for yourself? Figuring out the relative cost and benefits of space solar energy is elementary.

Yeah, it's not exactly rocket science. Wait...

Re:Solar power satellites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027091)

Tom Murphy has used basic, foundational principles to set upper limits on the usefulness of the satellites.

The solar flux isn't going to change and neither will gravity. Thus, the cost and benefits, expressed in units of energy, isn't going to change.

Renewable energy needs a favorable EROEI to even have a chance. Space-based solar is clearly not it.

Space-based solar won't benefit from some nebulous, not yet conceived engineering breakthrough. The basic constraints do not allow it.

Re:Solar power satellites (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027263)

The only real objection is the cost to launch, the rest is cherry picking some data and ignoring others. Look, its pretty simple.

According to this
http://www.ieice.org/proceedings/EMC09/pdf/21Q1-2.pdf [ieice.org]
a 10km diameter rectenna will produce 6.75GW. So lets say 1.48 km to the GW, thats 1.72 square km.

The total power installed capacity of the USA is what, 1580 GW [wikipedia.org] . This means you'd need a square of rectennas ~52km on a side to power the entire country, on the ground.

This is why the Japanese Space Exploration Agency along with numerous other companies are collectively willing to take a $21 billion dollar punt on the technology. 95-99% of that cost is simply launch expenses, a conclusion Tom himself reached. With the Star Tram, launch expenses drop from $10,000 a kilo to $40 a kilo, and suddenly we're in business!

Re:Solar power satellites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027029)

He's comparing the best case scenario for earth solar power, the scorching Mojave desert, to the worst case scenario for space based solar power, in heavy rain, and even then space solar comes out three times better. A factor of five would be more likely for most of the world. He pulls a 50% efficiency conversion rate out of where I have no idea, that's not a derived figure, and then starts complaining about the kilometers of receivers you'd need. Guess what, you already need kilometers of receivers for normal solar power, a lot more kilometers.

The only real objection is launch costs, and apparently that's not going to be a problem for much longer.

to much weapon potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026579)

This wont happen. See how the Russians are already balking at the US missile shield in Europe. How do you think they will respond when the US, or anyone else for that mater, start putting this kind of systems in orbit. ?

How would the US react if Iran or North Korea would put up some of these ?

Re:to much weapon potential (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026603)

Birds could fly through the rectenna area without harm, its 1GW across a 1km diameter receiver.

Re:to much weapon potential (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026863)

1 kW/m2 of microwaves is safe for animals?

For people if you lose control of the beam? For electronics?

Re:to much weapon potential (2)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026911)

Isn't that one of the disaster buttons? Right next to the Monster attacks?

Re:to much weapon potential (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026925)

Yeah, that's about the amount of energy you get from normal sunlight.

Re:to much weapon potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027093)

So, in the beam, one would be receiving about twice the energy (in the daytime).

Re:to much weapon potential (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027247)

at one frequency. that's bad, people who receive much less than that (working on radar, etc.) have much higher incidence of testicular and ocular tumors

Re:to much weapon potential (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027281)

If one chose to set up camp in the beam for years on end I couldn't guarantee there'd be no ill effects... :D

Re:to much weapon potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026969)

See how the Russians are already balking at the US missile shield in Europe. How do you think they will respond when the US, or anyone else for that mater, start putting this kind of systems in orbit. ?

How will the Russians respond? Like the whiny little babies they've been since they chose an idiotic political doctrine and murdered their former ruler and his family. When they did that they fucked things up for themselves and then proceeded to start working to fuck things up for everybody else.

Nice Try Cobra Commander (4, Funny)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026583)

Nice Try Cobra Commander... I saw that episode back when I was a kid. You just want a number of WMDs up there to use as weapons against GI Joe.

Re:Solar power satellites (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026617)

Or, we can invest in technology that already exists and that is already proven before trying to leapfrog two levels of technology. Solar on Earth would work in the US if we'd have technocrats instead of politicians running the country

Re:Solar power satellites (1)

Kr1ll1n (579971) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026723)

How so?

Solar currently requires a good bit of acreage before you even begin to reap enough energy to power a single, 1 story building.
How is that the right solution?

I do think we could utilize space for our power needs, seeing as it's a vacuum, it helps curb the whole "pull energy from X causes Y" problem...

Surface area required for solar powering the world (3, Informative)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027079)

Solar currently requires a good bit of acreage before you even begin to reap enough energy to power a single, 1 story building.

You might be interested in this infographic.

http://www.landartgenerator.org/blagi/archives/127 [landartgenerator.org]

As it turns out, the world is remarkably large.

Solar power satellites are a dumb idea (1)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026665)

Solar power satellites are obviously a bad idea: they may increase efficiency by a factor of up to maybe 2-4, but at a cost that is orders of magnitude higher. You're better off just covering more area on the ground.

And power satellites have serious security implications, allowing large amounts of power being focused anywhere in the world. In fact, the idea of space-based solar power is so obviously bad from an economic point of view that I suspect it really is just an attempt to get weapons into orbit.

Re:Solar power satellites are a dumb idea (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026675)

The only expensive thing about them, in fact the only thing stopping them from being feasible, is launch costs. And happily we have an answer to that one.

Re:Solar power satellites are a dumb idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026691)

Yeah, it's so obviously uneconomic *today* that we should stop even thinking about them.

Meathead.

Re:Solar power satellites (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026689)

Or you could put those panels on the ground instead of space getting the same energy for a fraction of the costs.

Re:Solar power satellites (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026767)

Something ridiculous like 90-95% of the cost is just launching the stuff up there, which at $10,000 a kilo for 1500-1900 tons per GW, well of course that won't work. What I'm talking about is using new technological advances which reduce the cost to 0.004 of their previous amount to make it work, and it will work.

It'll be interested to see how the % changes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026533)

as fossil fuel prices go up, as they must eventually. Of course, a rise in fossil fuel costs will cause a rise in manufacturing and transport costs for renewable energy generating equipment as well.

Re:It'll be interested to see how the % changes (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026619)

as fossil fuel prices go up, as they must eventually. Of course, a rise in fossil fuel costs will cause a rise in manufacturing and transport costs for renewable energy generating equipment as well.

I can't work out whether that is a good argument for investing in renewables now, while the cost is low, or waiting until the cost differential justifies it.

Nice editing, editors. (4, Informative)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026539)

NCES = national clean energy standard. Not that you'd want to clarify that in the summary or anything.

Re:Nice editing, editors. (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027037)

NCES = national clean energy standard. Not that you'd want to clarify that in the summary or anything.

Editors? You must be new around here!

Gee I wonder why. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026541)

"The difference between public opinion and political support that we find is consistent with the observation that a majority of US citizens support clean energy and climate-change policies, whereas the necessary majorities in Congress do not," the researchers conclude.

Could it perhaps be lobbying by the energy companies?

Global Climate change aside, I would just like it if my eyes didn't burn and if I could go outside in the afternoons during the Summer here without scarring my lungs with Ozone and smog.

Gee, we clean up the air and low and behold a side effect is reduced greenhouse gas emissions - wierd how that works!

Who cares (2, Informative)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026545)

People started using less energy to go green, my power company jacked up rates. My power company invested in a wind farm and jacked up my rates. Power companies are always looking for a reason to raise rates, and many people don't have the ability to install solar panels.

Re:Who cares (0)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027099)

Correlation, causation, post hoc, etc.

Re:Who cares (1, Troll)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027367)

Well that's what happened here in Ontario, Canada. It got worse a bit further down the road when they decided to shove green energy down everyone's throat and kill the coal power plants. Last time I heard [financialpost.com] Ontario would have the highest power rates in North America by the end of 2013 if projections hold true, mostly due to our *lovely* FiT(Feed in Tariff) program. Which is currently paying a kick ass bounty rate as high as 68c/KWH for solar and wind power.

Fuck "clean" energy give me nuclear, coal and natural gas. Actually fuck it, I'm moving to Saskatchewan.

Excellent! (0)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026551)

They would rather pay more in the future to handle the effects of climate change rather than dealing with it now. Our great grandchildren thanks us.

Re:Excellent! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026669)

ahhh the new religion of green, what fools and junk science. What a scam and ignorance of the so called nerds on this site. All you have to do is read the data to know its fake. But when its a religion they can say anything and people believe it and put money in the sermon basket. If your greens believe just stop driving and using any electricity and hell stop farting since now the phonies say farts are a factor.

true of almost anything altruistic, really (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026563)

You could also say: Americans willing to donate money to the poor, but only a little bit of money.

Re:true of almost anything altruistic, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026681)

Uh.... um.... ok?

Re:true of almost anything altruistic, really (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027015)

Except if you are a democrat (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/opinion/21kristof.html)...

Liberals are only generous with other peoples' money...

Re:true of almost anything altruistic, really (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027081)

Statistics on charitable donation are pretty interesting, but that article doesn't provide a very good overview. In particular, religious donations are quite large in the United States, and I think a considerably different sort of thing than charitable donations (in many cases, imo, religious donations are closer to political contributions, intended to advance one's viewpoint). Republicans do donate considerably more to churches (especially Mormons, who are overwhelmingly Republican and often still tithe a full 10% of their income), so certainly Republicans donate more to charity, if you count organizations like the LDS church as charities.

Re:true of almost anything altruistic, really (3, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027181)

The interesting question to me about this is always how much of a Church's revenue flows back out as social works. If a church uses the money to build a more beautiful sactuary, or a recreation center that primarily benefits the members, then it's not much more charitable than paying a monthly fee to Bally's or a country club. If the money, however, is sent back out into the (or another) community, primarily to benefit non-members, then you're talking about charity. Personally, I feel that churches tend to be over-rated as charities. We give way less than 10% to our church, but more than 10% in total contributions to charity. I see a lot of charities that put my money to better use than our church committee can.

Re:true of almost anything altruistic, really (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027309)

All the churches I've ever attended let you specifically earmark where your money would go. And they had the full gamut of projects from apartments for addicts getting back on their feet, to battered women shelters, to disadvantaged youth programs. And of course the missionary trips to countries in dire straits to build schools and water wells.

People who scoff at religious charitable donations are sore assholes.

And I bet you wish you could earmark where your tax dollars went.

Why isn't renewable cheaper? (2)

gtvr (1702650) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026565)

I mean, once you've built the gathering mechanism, isn't the point of renewable that you're not paying for the fuel?

Re:Why isn't renewable cheaper? (4, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026609)

Higher capital costs, and the equipment isn't entirely maintainance-free. Photovoltaics only have a thirty-year designed lifetime, wind turbines need monitoring and occasional repair. Renewables are generally cheaper to run, as there are no fuel costs, but not enough to offset the much higher capital costs. Remember, if renewables were cheap, we wouldn't be using coal anyway.

Re:Why isn't renewable cheaper? (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026847)

Photovoltaics have a 30 year 75-80% of new power production lifetime. They last a lot longer than that if you are ok with only getting 50% of rated power.

We use coal for lots of reasons, on of them is that it is artificially cheap since they don't have to pay for waste disposal like everyone else. Nuclear would also be super cheap if you let them dump their waste straight into the air.

Re:Why isn't renewable cheaper? (2)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027235)

What you're talking about is basically the business plan used all across China. Lots of small (~30MW) coal plants close to urban areas to minimize transmission costs, with no scrubbers. And the jets that fly in to Beijing in the afternoon often have to land on instruments due to the smog.

Next time someone tells you we don't need the EPA, have them google Beijing Smog or Wuhan Smog on google images.

Re:Why isn't renewable cheaper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026623)

There's a few reasons:

1) Intermittent supply (wind/solar) requires massive energy storage for baseload power.
2) Hydroelectric requires vast tracts of land and its utility is limited.
3) The renewable sources aren't always where you need them.
4) Geothermal has a prohibitively expensive initial cost for the power produced.

Re:Why isn't renewable cheaper? (2)

Bongo (13261) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026649)

Like an oil rig on top of government owned land or sea? Anyway, it may be something about energy density.

Re:Why isn't renewable cheaper? (1)

leonardluen (211265) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026719)

Not necessarily, it means that the fuel replenishes itself. that doesn't mean you don't have costs associated with that fuel.

say i discover an algae that i can use to create electricity...that algae may need fertilizer, or need to be harvested in some way to produce that electricity. all that costs money.

Re:Why isn't renewable cheaper? (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026729)

Of course the energy company doesn't pay for the fuel either way. Mother nature makes fossil fuel as well as solar or wind, and they're all taken without payment. As a consumer of energy you're paying for the infrastructure, wages and dividends of investors.

But you're right, in the long run renewables should be cheaper.

But there is massive upfront capital costs. Of course there were massive up front capital costs for conventional power too. But they evolved over a couple of centuries. Renewables need to replace most of that in a couple of decades.

Re:Why isn't renewable cheaper? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027317)

once you've built the gathering mechanism

There's the catch, getting any reasonable amount of power out of a renewable source requires a tremendous invest.

I think most people want to be "green" but... (2)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026577)

The price of "going green" can't exceed the perceived benefit. I didn't start buying to new CFL light bulbs until the price dropped significantly. Slowly but surely, I'm replacing most of the bulbs in my house. I can't do all of them though, because they don't fit in all of our fixtures, which is the next thing they need to work on.

Re:I think most people want to be "green" but... (2)

leonardluen (211265) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026763)

CFL's are horrible. when i flip the light switch on i want light now, not next week. it takes so long for them to warm up and provide useful light. if someone has a solution to this please let me know! if there are better CFL's than this then i haven't found them.

seeing as how it is starting to get more difficult to buy incandescents i have started trying out LED's. they are a LOT more expensive per bulb, but supposedly have a long life, and most importantly when i turn on the light switch they give me light now, similar to incandescents, without needing to warm up.

Re:I think most people want to be "green" but... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026851)

Buy good ones. Look for known brands and don't just get the cheapest one on the shelf.

LEDs will always be faster to be on, but we are talking about milliseconds here.

Re:I think most people want to be "green" but... (1)

leonardluen (211265) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027039)

Seeing that i am willing to buy LEDs should show i am not just buying the cheapest bulbs on the shelf. The CFLs still suck, what name brands should i be looking for? CFL's are even more atrocious in cold weather, such as in my garage in the winter.

I am not against fluorescent lighting, i had the big tubes in a few places for many years, and they worked fine, and last forever.

There are for other reasons i am beginning to prefer LEDs. For one they don't have mercury in them, which makes them a bit greener than CFL's when they burn out and need to be thrown away. Though i think LEDs still have a ways to go before they become mainstream. They need to become cheaper, and start releasing them in higher wattages. Phillips released a new one recently but i haven't found them in my area yet.

Re:I think most people want to be "green" but... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027145)

The mercury in CFLs is so little I just don't worry about it. I am not planning on eating them, and I still eat Tuna and other large fish.

LEDs are always going to beat CFLs the only question is how much. I would suggest you look into the higher end phillips CFLs if you want quality ones.

DO NOT THROW AWAY CFLs! Take them to your local hardware store, home depot, lowes etc, they will accept them for recycling. They also sell these bulbs so pretty easy to take the dead one back when you buy a replacement. I would say the same thing about LED bulbs, these things all have valuable resources locked up in them.

the irony is (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026587)

The oil industry is heavily subsidized by the US taxpayer via our massive military presence and operations in the Middle East. Exxon-Mobil and Chevron's shareholders don't pay that... taxpayers do.

Do conservatives ever even mention that? No, they don't.

Re:the irony is (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026645)

Yup, this is part of the externality cost I mention in the post below. I am very free market oriented and frustrated at how big business/gov't has perverted it. US citizens see these perversions and assume that free market doesn't work. Yes, even a free market has its weaknesses that must be corrected by government intervention, but so much could be cured by not subsidizing established energy sources and taxing according to externality costs.

Re:the irony is (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026673)

Yes, actually, we do. Neoconservatives, quite a different animal, are what you must have been thinking of there.

Re:the irony is (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026705)

Yea, and that also explains our military presence in Afghanistan, Korea, East Africa, and Latin America. Oh wait.

Re:the irony is (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026871)

Because oil is the only resource the US wants and all military deployments are based solely on resource wants?

Sometimes our military is used for resources, this has been going on since we used the navy to hold islands that held bat guano for fertilizer and maybe before. Do you know why they call some of those nice warm countries banana republics?

Re:the irony is (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027083)

Of course. It's because all the men walk around in a suit jacket and a banana hammock.

Re:the irony is (2, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026849)

The oil industry is heavily subsidized by the US taxpayer via our massive military presence and operations in the Middle East. Exxon-Mobil and Chevron's shareholders don't pay that... taxpayers do.

Do conservatives ever even mention that? No, they don't.

I think the $0.31 per gallon that I pay should cover it. If not, consider that every single product I buy is transported to the store I bought is also using fuel, which is taxed, which I pay indirectly. Of course, all those products are made from parts, pieces and ingredients that had to be shipped to whoever made that product, which I also paid the tax for. Then, of course, there is my federal income taxes that are also used to fund our military presence in the Middle East and elsewhere, that ensure that I can put gas in my tank which is required to get me to work, my kids to school, and allows my family to have the occasional family outing. You know, actually live free and enjoy that freedom.

Although, it would be better if we could produce our own energy. Then we could tell those in the Middle East to pound sand and let the fund their own militaries. But then you have to find a way around the people protesting that producing our own energy might cause moose to stop fucking. Not that any of these people have ever seen a moose or have bothered to travel to places they have convinced themselves will be completely destroyed. Nor have they bothered to simply do the math and realize that some of these refuges are larger than most states and producing energy from these places would have the environmental impact of building a library in Wisconsin. Of course, they also refuse to consider that environmental impact from our heavily monitored and regulated drilling practices at home are much less than the impact from places that ruled by a prince or king or self appointed leader for life.

No. What these people want is for us to live like farmers from the 1700's, only without wood burning or producing livestock. They want us to grow our own food to share with the bugs and rodents that will decimate our crops and lead us to the brink of starvation. Of course, I need to stress that THEY want US to live that way. They will continue to live in their climate controlled apartments and drive their cars to and fro because they recycle the vitamin water bottles they drink, so they are OK. Is us that is the problem. Not them. /rant

Re:the irony is (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026961)

That $0.31 does not cover it. It is cute that you think it should, but it does not. Your taxes do not cover it either, note the deficit.

We actually get most of our oil from Canada, Mexico the USA and South America. The middle east has to be controlled to keep world market prices stable. The fact that you are ignorant of such a basic fact explains most of the rest of your nonsense. I have lived in Alaska, the current pipeline changed the environment dramatically. Caribou will stay around the warmed pipes in the winter. This changes their survival rates and has a large impact on the environment. Moose are not found in those areas as pipe lines are not normally built over the swamps and in the forests they prefer. Again we see your ignorance. Those refuges only hold enough oil for months of US use. They should be kept until we actually need them.

No one wants to live in the 1700s, they just want you to stop pretending that we can keep doing what we are doing now forever.

In short your rant only exposes you as ignorant and nothing more.

Re:the irony is (4, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027365)

For starters, not all of our interests in the Middle East are oil based. For example, Bahrain has no oil. Bahrain exports things like aluminum. The US Navy's 5th Fleet is also based there. That fleet costs the US taxpayer 10s of billions of dollars. The US Navy 5th Fleet is that massive naval force you allude to that protects our interests in the Middle East. Note the cost; 10's of billions of dollars.

The US uses roughly 386,000,000 gallons of gasoline a day. At a tax of $0.31/gallon, that is $119,660,000 in tax revenue. Multiply that by 365 days a year and the US receives $43,675,900,000 per year from gasoline taxes. The US also uses about 60 billion gallons of diesel each year which calculate to roughly $18 billion in tax revenue per year ($0.30/gallon). So the US receives about $62 billion per year from gasoline taxes alone, which is plenty to fund the 5th Fleet, especially when you consider the taxes paid when cars are sold, various taxes paid by the companies that make cars and components. And, of course, all those "leases" you hear about where "big oil" wants to drill on government land are not free. The government gets a percentage per barrel. Now, granted, the domestic oil production is not in the Middle East, but like you said, "The middle east has to be controlled to keep world market prices stable".

So, yeah! The cost of patrolling the waters of the Mid East is more than covered by our gasoline and diesel taxes alone. Also note that oil is not the only interest we have in the region. It's a big one, sure, but not the only one.

Don't like my numbers? THIS [iags.org] site says the following:

The cost of securing our access to Middle East oil - deploying U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, patrolling its water and supplying military assistance to Middle East countries - is estimated at $50 billion per year, which adds additional dimes to each gallon of gasoline we purchase.

But you say:

That $0.31 does not cover it. It is cute that you think it should, but it does not. Your taxes do not cover it either, note the deficit.

Um... Given the numbers above, it appears that it really DOES cover it and then some. It's cute that you are so quick to call me ignorant.

Moose are not found in those areas as pipe lines are not normally built over the swamps and in the forests they prefer.

It appears they "prefer" the pipelines.

Again we see your ignorance. Those refuges only hold enough oil for months of US use. They should be kept until we actually need them.

Well, for starters, we won't extract and refine it all at once. And to be fair, I'm fully aware of the impact drilling will have on prices. If I had it my way, we'd tax it as a condition of permission to drill there and use the money to invest in renewables. For example, a $10/barrel tax times the billions of barrels in ANWR alone would be more than enough to not just fund, but INCREASE the amount of money funding our fusion research.

Re:the irony is (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027233)

Then, of course, there is my federal income taxes that are also used to fund our military presence in the Middle East and elsewhere, that ensure that I can put gas in my tank which is required to get me to work, my kids to school, and allows my family to have the occasional family outing. You know, actually live free and enjoy that freedom.

Because your ability to carpool your kids to school is more important than the lives of innocent Iraqis, gotcha.

This stuff gets me frustrated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026591)

Consumers should not have to make a conscious decision about which energy they choose. Deciding at the consumer level is moronic, and game theory shows why. Instead, governments should tax at a rate equal to the externality costs. If the cleanup of the pollution from coal costs 15 cents per KwH, then this should be the tax gov't levies. If solar's externalities are only 3 cents per KwH, then tax accordingly. Granted, I think solar should get some short term boost from the gov't to spur the industry, but the point is that if you include externalities, then you free consumers to do what they do best: buy what makes the most sense for them economically.

MyLongNickName

Re:This stuff gets me frustrated (2)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026775)

governments should tax at a rate equal to the externality costs

Two problems with that: 1) Nobody can accurately determine the externality cost, and 2) Nobody trusts the government to spend that money appropriately.

Basically this proposal is a suggestion to arbitrarily raise the cost of energy, and let whatever political party is in power choose which energy source is subsidized the most. We've already seen how well that works; no thanks.

Re:This stuff gets me frustrated (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026897)

No need to let the government do it. Allow someone to come up with a way of removing this stuff from the air. Then the government only forces power produces to pay to have that done. If these producers can find a cheaper way to clean their waste up let them. Allow them some percentage of waste, ever moving towards 0%. I bet nuclear starts to look a lot better once the playing field is leveled.

Change to Opt-Out, eg, at Electricity provider (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026653)

Austrians can opt-Out of donating their organs, after they die.
Germans can opt-IN...

As a result of the above differences, much -higher- %'s of Austrians are listed as ready to donate their organs.

---

Let's apply what we know from organ donation systems to choosing to use -some- Renewable Energies.

Ie, Electricity suppliers can & should -assume- folks want to include (& pay slightly more for) Renewables; of course, they're free to Opt-Out... but - by making it so that it requires a (seemingly anti-social) opting-Out process, & a conscious decision to execute it.

This idea is not mine, but one proposed at a TEDxAdelaide (2010 or 2011), by an Environmental Scientist (name forgotten?)

Fortunately, it is only a little bit more expensiv (2)

buglista (1967502) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026709)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source [wikipedia.org]

Here in UK, our DoE-equivalent have computed on-shore wind as being close enough to coal - and we're running out of coal, so I'm guessing it will be marginally cheaper in few years.

I guess I am odd then... (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026715)

I gladly pay MORE for clean energy. I went out and bought and installed solar connected to a grid tie inverter. But in reality I end up paying less because it significantly reduces my electrical bill as it runs the meter backwards during the day. In the middle of the summer with the AC cranking it makes up for 1/2 the electricity I use for the AC. so it will pay it's self back in about 3 more years. after that it's free money.

unfortunately most of my fellow countrymen are not smart enough to handle their money and do this. I have had friends look at me and not understand the whole payback thing. they get stuck on the "You paid $5000 to put solar on your house and you will pay an electric bill?" They cant understand that monthly bill reduction = money saved.

Which makes me sad, I though I had smarter friends.

Re:I guess I am odd then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026791)

Just curious what state (or county) you live in.

Re:I guess I am odd then... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026999)

Michigan USA.

No subsidies at all. In fact I had to fight the power company and threaten a lawsuit as they were trying to block me from installing it.

Re:I guess I am odd then... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026939)

That's because of massive subsidies. What rate are you getting to sell power on your terms? Likely 5 to 20 TIMES the going wholesale rate.

Re:I guess I am odd then... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026985)

Nope. I get no rate other than what I pay. I either remove power demand or reduce the number of WH I used. I can not get a credit if I send more power than I consume.

Skepticism: Study Done by Big Oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026777)

And a study done by Nature Climate Change... we don't even need to ponder that... Right?

American Energy Companies.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026799)

Are happy to charge way, way more for 'clean' energy. They are quite happy to charge everyone out the ying-yang for anything they can brand as 'green', even if the prices they charge have no baring on the actual cost.

What you pay and what energy costs no longer have any baring. It is long, LONG past time that the US tears open the chest of the energy companies, rips out the profit motive, and chops off funding for fossil fuels. Take these bucking-broncos and turn them into docile geldings and then we can change the world.

Everyone has their priorities ... (2)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026865)

I choose to pay about 25% more for my electricity to have 100% renewable. The extra $20 a month isn't a big deal to me, and while I'm not a dirty enviro-hippy, I do think its a matter of being responsible. I can afford to pay extra for it, so I do.

People choosing to do things like that (buy clean electricity, the people who bought the early hybrid cars, people buying the pure electric and extended range electric cars etc) help to fund the growth of the technology where it can become ubiquitous. (Or, as another example, the people who pay $250k for a ride on Virgin Galactic -- its all the same.)

Easier If You Can See the Impact (4, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40026903)

A few years back I spent some time in Romania. My first impression of the country was "Miami without emissions controls". Everyone smoked in Romania at the time, and outside there was the constant smell of diesel exhaust. By the end of a week there my lungs actually hurt. After that, I appreciate the achievement that someplace like Downtown New York City has made in having breathable air. I wonder if you asked citizens of Beijing if they'd be willing to pay more for energy in exchange for significantly improved air quality, how many of them would say yes.

The study only allowed for a 13% increase in cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026921)

Where places like Denmark have tripled their power prices to the most expensive there is, with a 20% impact from Wind. (Its also not really 20%, as most wind power gets exported for free to Norway..).

Germany has very expensive electricity, and a huge bill from Wind turbines and solar.

In short, there is no technology other than nuclear and hydro (and the USA is out of hydro) that can power the country to an '80%' level without bankrupting nearly everyone.

Surveys are Bulls*it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40026935)

To paraphrase Jack Handy "It's easy to sit there and say you'd like to have clean energy. And I guess that's what I like about it. It's easy. Just sitting there, rocking back and forth, wanting that clean energy."

Hypothetical questions get hypothetical answers. You want to measure whether people will ACTUALLY do something? Measure the people who actually sign up. Not the people who SAY they will when they know they won't have to follow through.

Of course democrats are willing to pay more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027019)

What the article doesn't say is that most of those who identify themselves as democrats are either unemployed or members of a labor union (which means they're getting paid more than they're worth) - so of course they're willing to pay a "premium" for clean energy... the unions will just demand more money to compensate and the unemployed are uneffected.

Re:Of course democrats are willing to pay more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40027101)

What the article doesn't say is that most of those who identify themselves as democrats are either unemployed or members of a labor union

I don't know what country you are referring to, but the percent of voters who identify as democrats is dramatically higher than the sum of the percent of the population that is unemployed or in a labor union. The US has some of the lowest union membership rates anywhere. Either you are talking about a different country (and hence you are commenting on the wrong article as this is about Americans buying energy) or you just came out of a 50+ year coma.

Attention Green Snake Oil salesmen (0)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027053)

Please price your bullshit energy-subsidised boondoggles appropriately.

not me (1)

ronpaulisanidiot (2529418) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027073)

i pay only the lowest price that the market will deliver. if dirty is cheaper, i'm all over it. burn endangered owls to reduce my kw/h price if you have it.

I pay extra for "dirty" energy (4, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 2 years ago | (#40027363)

I pay extra income tax to send my country's military forces halfway around the world, to provide security for privately-owned oil tankers full of privately-owned oil to pass through the Persian Gulf. I pay extra income tax in order to provide non-humanitarian "foreign aid" to several other governments in the oil-rich area, just to keep them (somewhat) friendly.

Even if I opt out of using subsidized oil, I don't get to opt out of paying for the subsidy. Why would I pay even more to subsidize Yet Another competing energy source? (Well, ok, let's not get fanatical about that .. I understand that we've all come to an agreement to subsidize coal by allowing the plants that burn it to dump their CO2 into the public atmosphere as an externality (there's the subsidy) instead of making them plant forests to soak it up, but coal isn't really a direct competitor to oil; it's used differently so by subsidizing both, I'm not really paying to back two sides against each other, which would be silly.)

Can we just get the Central Committee's existing government-planned subsidy payments transferred? Why does the politburo always go with oil and coal in their five year plans? I'd be willing to do a subsidy re-assignment, at least short-term. (Long-term.. well, actually I'm unsure about the wisdom of even having a Central Committee and all this economic planning, but that's another topic.)

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