کالاهای عمومی و منافع خصوصی: شناخت تقاضای غیر مسکونی برای برق سبز(انرژی پاک)
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|20911||2001||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Energy Policy, Volume 29, Issue 13, November 2001, Pages 1085–1097
This article presents the results of the first large-scale mail survey of non-residential green power customers in the United States. The survey explored the motivations, attitudes, and experiences of 464 business, non-profit, and public-sector customers that have voluntarily opted to purchase—and frequently pay a premium for—renewable electricity. Particular attention in this article is paid to the motivations of these organizations in purchasing renewable electricity, and our findings are compared to the extant literature on the motivations of firms to voluntarily exceed environmental regulations. Perhaps the most interesting contribution of this research comes in its demonstration of the importance of “altruism” as a motivator in non-residential green power purchases among early adopters. This finding, and the further discovery that the principal non-altruistic motivation for purchasing green power is employee morale, differs substantially from the predictions of the extant literature. Results of this study should be of value to marketers trying to meet the needs of non-residential customers, to policymakers interested in fostering and understanding non-residential demand for green power, and to academics pondering the motivations for firms to engage in such voluntary environmental initiatives.
The introduction of customer choice in electricity markets worldwide brings with it the possibility of a green power market in which end-use customers volunteer to pay a premium for the supply of renewable electricity.1 With only a couple years of evidence to rely upon, experience with green power marketing is limited. Green marketing activity continues to grow in the United States, Europe, and Australia. But, while niche markets for green power clearly exist, few programs have exceeded 5% penetration in the residential market. In the U.S., for example, as of mid-2000, 40% of households had access to one or more green power products. With approximately 360,000 customers purchasing green power, an overall penetration rate of just under 1% has been achieved (Wiser et al., 2000). Some analysts have argued that the relatively slow rate of green power uptake should come as no surprise. The high cost of marketing, unfavorable regulatory rules, the intangible nature of green power, and the prevailing lack of consumer awareness of the environmental impacts of energy production are frequently identified as barriers to adoption. Perhaps the most significant limitation to the long term success of the green market, however, is the contention that individual consumers act to maximize their own well being rather than the well being of society when making product choices. After all, when public environmental benefits are involved, the familiar economic concept of free riding would be expected to limit voluntary contributions for the betterment of the public good. If, in fact, this neoclassical-economic rationality prevails over the decision making of electricity consumers, it would appear that the green market's potential will be severely limited (Rader and Short, 1998; Wiser, 1998). More optimistic observers contend that green power marketing may offer a significant opportunity for renewable energy in the long term (Nakarado, 1996). After all, there is empirical evidence in other markets that suggests that consumers do not always act in their own narrow self-interest. Instead, consumers are sometimes willing to voluntarily contribute towards public environmental benefits through their own behaviors (e.g., recycling) or purchases (e.g., green consumer products). Experimental evidence also shows that individuals frequently contribute more towards public goods than predicted by traditional economic models (Andreoni, 1995). For the most part, consideration of such non-economic motivations has focused on residential households, hence motivating the current focus of many green marketers on the residential marketplace. A standard presumption of neoclassical economics is that businesses make purchase decisions based purely on economic gains and are unlikely purchasers of green power and the public environmental benefits that accrue with such purchases. Notwithstanding these claims, however, an interest in non-residential green power sales has emerged. Limited market research shows that up to 60% of businesses indicate a willingness to pay more for green power (Farhar, 1999; Farhar and Houston, 1996; Hoefgen, 1999). More persuasively, where green power programs have targeted non-residential customers, those customers have often constituted over 20% of total green power sales (Wiser et al., 2000). Some therefore believe that non-residential purchasers of green power could conceivably make substantial contributions to overall green power demand.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This study presents one of the first detailed looks at business, non-profit, and public sector green power purchasers. Perhaps the most interesting contribution of this research comes in its demonstration of the importance of altruism as a motivator for non-residential early adopters already purchasing green power in the United States. This finding, and the further discovery that the principal non-altruistic motivation for purchasing green power is employee morale, differs from the existing literature on the motivations of firms to exceed environmental regulations. The existing literature focuses on motivations that are tightly linked to direct economic gain by the firm, and typically downplays the potential role of altruism (Fri, 1992; Arora and Cason, 1996). Our findings, however, suggest that these traditional motives are of lesser importance in understanding current green power purchases; instead, we find evidence that altruistic motivations extend beyond the residential market. The findings of this paper further suggest that the discrepancy between the existing literature on organizational motivations and our results may be driven by the size of the firms considered. In particular, our regression results find that the traditional “private benefit” motivations of public image and green marketing become stronger for larger organizations. Because the existing literature focuses principally on some of the largest firms—whereas our sample includes a majority of smaller firms—it may be that altruism is a much more influential motivator among smaller organizations that are torn by both business and personal motives. This finding is intuitively plausible. Accordingly, while the emphasis of the existing literature on private benefits as drivers for voluntary environmental initiatives may be accurate for the motivations of the largest firms in the U.S. economy, the conclusions presented in this paper suggest that those results may not be easily generalized to smaller sized firms such as those represented in our sample. As an example, several studies have found that larger organizations are more likely to participate in voluntary environmental programs (Welch et al., 2000; Arora and Cason, 1996), perhaps because larger firms are better able to extract private value from such initiatives (larger companies may be better able to take advantage of economies of scale in environmental programs, for example, or they may be more often the target of external pressure). Conversely, when altruism is a principal motivator (as it is among our sample) one would expect that participation would peak among smaller organizations. This is consistent with a recent study that found that smaller businesses were more willing to pay a premium for cleaner energy than were larger firms (Hoefgen, 1999). Our findings should also be of more than academic interest, and have important implications from marketing and public policy perspectives. From a practical marketing perspective, for example, our findings imply that green power purveyors may find initial success in marketing their product in an altruistic way, emphasizing the environmental and social benefits of the purchase. A further emphasis on the ways in which a purchase can contribute to employee morale and retention, a focus not presently taken by most marketers, may also attract non-residential early adopters. On the other hand, more traditional messages that emphasize the green marketing, public image, or regulatory risk reduction benefits of the purchase may not immediately activate interest among early adopters representing smaller organizations, but may be important in attracting larger businesses to consider a green power purchase. Moreover, these more traditional messages can be expected to become increasingly important as the market for green power moves beyond the small set of dedicated early adopters. The fact that altruism is a principal motivator to current non-residential green power purchases, and that purchasers are apparently receiving little material private value, also cautions against relying exclusively on voluntary demand to meet what are public environmental objectives in the development of renewable energy resources.12 The non-residential green power market is, today, a small market, and there are most certainly limits to altruism among firms. Appeals to altruism may attract early adopters of green power, but if green power is really to flourish among non-residential customers (and especially larger customers), green power providers will need to better communicate the private rewards of the purchase. If green power purveyors are unable to credibly offer such rewards, non-residential green power demand is likely to be limited principally to smaller firms willing to give up some profits to provide a public good