Despite the recession, consumers are maintaining their interest in green energy programs. And utility companies continue to roll out programs as new wind farms and other resources begin generating energy. How can the utilities 301148_photovoltaic_array_2effectively target consumers and increase participation? The results of the Nielsen Energy Audit indicate that consumers are interested in green energy programs because of:

  • Rising energy costs
  • Concern about the environment
  • New programs that are increasingly becoming available

For now, only 3% of consumers participate in these programs. Because of availability, participation varies widely from region to region. Here’s how the 3% of current participants is distributed geographically:

  • West Coast 24%
  • West South 15%
  • Mid Atlantic 15%
  • South Atlantic 14%
  • Mountain 9%
  • East North Central 10%
  • New England 4%
  • East South Central 3%

The majority of consumers with an interest in the programs want to cut costs and save energy (80%). But other factors play a role.  Nine percentage of consumers say they want to save the environment and another 9% want to fight global warming.

Do consumers have a preference for the type of renewable energy they’d like to use? Here’s what the survey revealed:

  • Solar 37%
  • No preference 32%
  • Wind 16%
  • Nuclear 6%
  • Geothermal 5%
  • Hydroelectric 4%
  • Other 1%

As energy marketers develop campaigns to sell more green energy, they should keep the following demographics in mind. To date, the majority of consumers who currently participate have household incomes over $50,000. While 40% of green energy enthusiasts are between the ages of 18 and 34, 39% are 35 to 54 years old.  For now, political liberals are leading the commitment to renewable energy. They comprise 35% of people who participate in these programs.

[Source: Energy Trends, Nielsen, October 2009]