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United States

Politics

The good news from last month's World Energy Council jamboree in Houston is that the existence of renewables was at last being recognised by the conventional power lobby. The bad news is that the role of renewables continues to be poorly understood and grossly underestimated. Even though the power industry is not getting message, however, governments do seem to be. The newest country to join those with market mechanisms for levelling the playing field for renewables is ArgentinaGreen pricing programs, being implemented across America and Europe, may provide a means to increase consumer demand for electricity from renewable fuels. The ethics of demanding extra money from the environmentally aware -- while effectively rewarding those using fossil fuels with cheaper electricity bills -- remains seriously open to question, however. Governments still need to be made aware that free markets will not implicitly recognise the environmental benefits of renewables unless regulated to do so. Such regulation will cause electricity costs to rise, but there is a price to pay for clean power generation.

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