Jordan McQueen

Why millennials will be the driving force behind renewables & green tech

In Clean Tech, Editor's Choice, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Green Technology, Greener Business, Innovation, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Renewables, Sustainability, Sustainable Development by Lucia Fontaina-PowellLeave a Comment

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A survey carried out by Deloitte reveals that millennials’ concerns over the environment will push electric utility companies towards renewables and green technology.

 

According to Deloitte’s “Resources 2016 Study – Energy Management: Navigating the Headwinds”, a motivational trifecta of environmental sensitivity, practicality and affordability is driving residential consumers and businesses to find ways to utilise more renewables and expand energy management practices.

The report highlights the increasing influence of millennials aged 21-34, the largest and most dominant consumer group, as a dynamic force behind the shift to cleaner sources of energy – inspired by the desire to reduce their personal carbon footprints.

“The strong desire of residential consumers for clean energy options, coupled with the increasing cost-effectiveness of solar and wind, are driving growing opportunities for utilities and businesses to explore ways to expand deployment of renewables,” said Marlene Motyka, U.S. alternative energy leader and principal, Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP. “This trend is really being led by the millennial generation, whose wants and needs are not only relevant, but increasingly an influential factor in the transformation of electricity providers.”

Despite record-low energy prices, the concept of reducing energy consumption has become ingrained in the millennial’s psyche. Residential consumers are concerned about the environment and climate change:

  • 70 percent of residential consumers say they are very concerned about the earth running out of important resources
  • 71 percent believe climate change is caused by human actions and 65 percent say they are “very concerned” about their personal carbon footprints
  • While 59 percent of residential consumers identified “keeping my energy bills affordable” as the most important energy issue, 56 percent said “utilising clean energy sources” was almost as important

Millennials are more concerned about shifting to cleaner sources of energy and are more willing to pay for this shift through a surcharge in their electricity bills. They are also more interested in incentives for saving electricity and purchasing related technologies, such as smart energy apps.

Consumer interest in sourcing at least one additional service from their electricity providers is growing across generations, with customers putting more trust in utility companies. This could open the door for utilities to evolve business models to offer other services, including energy-efficiency services, home security systems and home automation systems.

Similar trends were noted among businesses, with on-site generation on the rise.

“Containing electricity consumption remains an essential aspect of corporate strategy and a competitive advantage from both a cost-reduction and image standpoint. Utilizing renewables is increasingly a part of this success equation,” said John McCue, vice chairman and U.S. energy and resources leader at Deloitte.

56 percent of businesses generate some portion of their electricity supply on-site, and more than half of businesses (52 percent) say they are working to procure more electricity from renewable sources, driven by the dual advantage of cost reduction and being green.

Source: Deloitte
Image credit: Jordan McQueen 

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