Getting Public Buy-in for Cleaner Energy

Getting Public Buy-in for Cleaner Energy

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by Evan Fisher ’14


You’d be hard pressed to find someone who is not a fan of clean energy – at least in theory. Who would say that they are against a world powered by solar panels as everyone shoots through Elon Musk’s Hyperloop?

But even as clean energy technologies becoming more and more affordable, the general public has still been slow to adopt solutions to help green our planet. A lot of this hesitation has to do with perception.

A recent study by Navigant Research indicates that the public’s support of clean energy has weakened during the past decade, with only 3 of 13 sustainability concepts being viewed as favorable by at least half of the US population. This places start-ups like MPOWERD in a tough position. MPOWERD is a for-purpose clean technology incubator and part of a budding class of B Corporations seeking more than just financial returns in its business model.

MPOWERD’s first product, the Luci, is a durable, light solar lantern designed to replace kerosene in the developing world. If garnering the adoption of this type of sustainable solution is difficult in the US, imagine the challenges in Haiti or Sub-Saharan Africa. The social stakes are high, however, as the 1 billion people in the world who use kerosene are subjected to an array of dangers.

The customer adoption challenge does have solutions: organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund are committed to driving action by finding economically viable ways for consumers and businesses to adopt clean energy through win-win propositions for both the environment and the wallet.

Still, the challenge of getting the public to buy-in remains one of the most pressing obstacles to curbing climate change.

We hope that you will join us at the Driving Adoption of Green Energy session at the 2013 Columbia Business School Social Enterprise Conference where we will delve deeper into this issue with the founders of MPOWERD and Professor Bruce Usher.

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