Alternative power companies are making their mark on the landscape, offering their customers electricity generated by a growing array of renewable energy sources.
Along with the deregulation of electricity markets has come visionary entrepreneurs with ever-improving solar, wind, biofuel and even wave motion technologies with which they hope they can compete for the business and consumer energy dollar.
In order to be viable for the homeowner, alternative power companies must keep their bills consistent with the average $107 a month spent per household on electricity (about 903 kilowatts) from their current energy suppliers.
Many cost-conscious consumers have already taken steps to reduce their energy usage. Smart meters installed by existing energy companies are in use at 50 million homes, which is 43% of the total. And the programmable thermostat, which can save about 10% on heating and cooling costs, has become popular. Air conditioning alone represents 19% of the total cost of residential electricity. And the process of heating water accounts for another 14 to 18%.
Energy-saving appliances have made a significant impact. For example, a refrigerator you buy today in the United States today has a 75% lower rate of energy consumption than one purchased in 1975. And it’s 20% larger, with a 60% lower price.
As alternative power companies gain greater acceptance in the marketplace, we see ongoing innovation that can lead to lower costs. With continuing improvements demonstrating the potential and the staying power of these new industries, they attract more capital investment to fund their research and development.
In 2013, electricity use in the United States was over 13 times greater than that consumed in 1950. And our needs will continue to grow in the coming years.
Renewable energy companies continue to lead the way as our country works to discover new and more environmentally-friendly ways to generate the power necessary to maintain our lifestyle.