7% of US consumers have an onsite power generator

51% of US consumers are interested in acquiring backup generation for their primary residence in the next two years, and almost the same fraction (47%) express interest in baseload generation (i.e., on-site generation equipment to provide all of the power for the home on a regular basis), Energy Insights reports. US households purchased a record 1.7 mln backup generators from April 2005 through March 2006 for their primary residences. When asked to identify the top three reasons for interest in acquiring baseload generation equipment, survey respondents cite “worries about outages or blackouts” (72%) as number one. “Saving money on energy bills” (67%) and “independence from electric utility” (40%) rank second and third respectively. Despite consumers’ outage anxiety, findings reveal only 7% of US households currently have an on-site generator, most of which are portable models that are exclusively used during power outages and need to be manually started.

77% of Americans think alternative energy projects should be top priority for Bush administration

The CSI/40mpg.org survey found that 58% of Americans – including 57% of independents and 42% of conservatives – are more concerned about global warming today than they were two years ago. Also, more than three out of four Americans (76%) – including two out of three conservatives – think the federal government is not doing “enough to address global warming and develop alternative energy sources in order to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.” 83% of Americans – including 77% of conservatives – said that “in the absence of federal leadership” today, they support the fast-growing number of pushes by “state and local officials to curb global warming and promote new energy resources.” 77% of Americans think that “developing alternative or renewable energy sources and reducing US dependence on foreign oil should be President Bush’s top priority for the balance of his term in office”; and 83% of Americans – including 72% of conservatives and 85% of independents – would like to see more attention paid to global warming during the 2006 Congressional elections and the 2008 Presidential elections.

1.6 mln UK Internet users paid a visit to an energy Web site in Feb 2006

On the day that British Gas raises its prices by 22% and Powergen announces that its are to increase by 24%, Nielsen//NetRatings reveals how the UK online population has been flocking to energy sites throughout February as the major suppliers began announcing large price increases in response to the rising wholesale price of gas. British Gas experienced a 37% monthly growth in visitors from 437,000 in December 2005 to 597,000 in January 2006. uSwitch experienced a 72% monthly growth in visitors across the same period (325,000 to 559,000 visitors). Over 1.6 mln people visited an energy website in February 2006.

The number of visitors to energy websites peaked at over 215,000 on the 27th February ? the day before Powergen officially announced its price rise and two days before British Gas increase came into effect. The day after British Gas announced its price increase, the number of visitors to Powergen.co.uk peaked at 61,311. Visitors to the house.co.uk domain (part of the British Gas brand) peaked at 88,023 on the 22nd February ? five days after their price increase announcement. Visitors to uSwitch.com peaked at 75,329 on the 23rd February ? six days after British Gas announced they would be increasing prices.

Numbers and forecasts on fuel cells in cars

Reuters quotes some interesting statistics on the fuel cells in automotive industry. The proponents of fuel cells have the most optimistic forecasts: 5-10 mln cars running on hydrogen-fed fuel cells could be on the road within 15 years, with the number ballooning to 350 mln by 2050. DaimlerChrysler currently has 100 vehicles on fuel cells and the most optimistic forecast is 100K cars by 2015. GM aims by 2010 to have fuel cell cars run for 5,500 hours, and cost $50 per kilowatt of power versus $30-$70 now for conventional combustion engines. Linde AG sponsored a study that found it would cost just 3.5 bln euros ($4.24 bln) over 15 years to build 2,800 hydrogen filling stations across Europe in urban areas and along motorways.