The Cost of Energy

November 8th, 2010

An article in the NYT this morning brings up the difficulty of going green in the energy sector: cost.

According to the article, alternative energy providers are running into financial trouble as a result of the recession. Mainly, the recession has reduced demand for energy, thus reducing the cost of conventional energy sources such as coal and natural gas. It’s a simple supply-demand relationship.

Unfortunately, for the alternative energies, they are still too young to be cost-effective in this kind of market. So, energy utilities around the country are opting out of contracts for wind and solar power in favor of the coal and gas supplies that will be easier on their customer’s wallets.

This is creating massive financial uncertainty for the alternative providers, and is making the entire industry weaker as fewer investors stay in the space.

Honestly, I’m not surprised to hear this news. It is simple economics. People need to watch their wallets, and these are hard times.

However, I am tired of the false reality that we currently live in. The price you as a customer pay for energy is not reflective of the damage being done to our planet. You aren’t currently paying the price for the destruction of ecosystems in Virginia from mountaintop removal practices. You aren’t currently paying the price for the damage done to the Gulf of Mexico. You aren’t currently paying the price for the health effects that will come from our conventional coal and gas extraction and processing techniques.

You aren’t paying it now, but you will pay it later. If we don’t support the development of alternatives to the conventional “cheap” energy we currently enjoy, it’s going to bite us in the ass down the road.

The piper always comes home for payment.

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