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Page added on January 29, 2010

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The Price of Energy

The price of energy has a very strong influence on the energy choices governments and individuals make. I sometimes hear people ask “Why are we still building coal-fired power plants?” or “Why don’t we replace more petroleum with biomass?” One reason is that biomass is generally more difficult to use from a logistical point of view. Another is that there just isn’t enough biomass to meet present energy demands. But a major factor comes down to price.

The price and convenience of energy sources are ultimately the keys to customer acceptance. Homes can be heated with wood, heating oil, natural gas, or electricity. Automobiles can be fueled with gasoline, ethanol, natural gas, diesel, electricity, and a wide variety of more unconventional fuels. If consumers have a choice and the supply is convenient, they will tend toward the cheapest energy source they can get.

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