Days ago, the global consulting and auditing firm Deloitte released a report on energy usage and energy attitudes in the United States. The study’s topline conclusion—that “residential consumers and businesses are producing a virtuous circle of sustainability”—appears quite encouraging for anyone who cares about climate mitigation.
According to the report, 68 percent of customers are “very concerned about climate change.” About 70 percent of businesses report that customers expect them to “secure a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.” Nearly half of businesses are responding to customer expectations by “working to procure more electricity from renewable sources.”
But what about that “virtuous circle”—are customers themselves using more renewable energy? Not really. Deloitte reports that individuals, despite their stated interest in renewables, “have yet to embrace them en masse.” Still, customer preferences are “echoing through the supply chain.”
That sounds like a prescription for broad adoption of cheap renewables in years to come. If so, markets will have done the work that government largely shirked. Fine—as long as the change comes in time.