Last week, businesses still on the fence about exploring their options in renewable energy were given an encouraging nudge, an indicator that now may be the best time for private companies to take the plunge so many have delayed taking. According to one of two global studies commissioned by Vestas, the overwhelming majority of consumers want more renewable energy. And nearly half say they'd be willing to pay more for products made using it.
According to the Global Consumer Wind Study 2012 (GCWS), the desire for more renewable energy options was voiced by 85 percent of survey respondents, with 49 percent saying they’d have no problem digging deeper into their pockets to support companies committed to renewable energy in the product manufacturing process. Even more encouraging, those numbers spiked considerably when consumers were asked specifically about wind power, with 62 percent indicating that if given a choice, they would consciously choose to buy products manufactured using wind over traditional forms of power generation.
These statistics bode well for the efforts of WindMade, a nonprofit whose primary function is the identification of companies and products that rely on wind power for at least 25 percent of their overall electricity generation. The organization’s ultimate goal is not only to give eco-conscious consumers the information necessary to vote with their wallets, but also to generate interest for an industry whose potential still vastly exceeds its demand.
“One of the important challenges the [wind power] industry is facing in many markets around the world is public acceptance,” writes Angelika Pullen, Communications Director for WindMade. “Our objective is to help address this problem by creating a tool for that majority of the public that is supportive of wind power, to identify and favor those brands and companies that are using wind energy.”
But public acceptance is one thing — actual corporate espousal of renewable energy is another. And in an era where social and ecological consciousness ranks high in the area of mass appeal, new evidence has come to light that tells us not all private companies are riding the aforementioned fence over whether to pursue renewable alternatives. An increasing number are leading the charge, as evidenced by the second of the two studies, the Corporate Renewable Energy Index Report 2012 (CREX).
According to the results of the report, global corporate investment in renewables has surpassed investment for fossil fuel generation by a significant margin. In 2011, corporations around the globe spent $237 billion investing in renewable energy, eclipsing the $223 billion spent chasing fossil fuel power generation. The CREX is an index that ranks companies by their level of investment in renewable energies. The report also found that 40 percent of renewable energy purchases made in 2011 were made by companies for the purpose of on-site power generation, showing a marked increase from previous years.
The GCWS survey was conducted by TNS Gallup, and the CREX report was prepared by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Lead image: Demand chart via Shutterstock