Solar energy is the “diva” on the renewable energy stage today—receiving more than double the news coverage of either hydropower or geothermal power, according to the findings of a report just released by Chicago-based High Beam Research, a paid search engine.
The High Beam analysts look at the number of media mentions received over the past year by five types of green energy and the results came in as follows:
- Solar energy led the way by a landslide with 8,703 media mentions
- Wind trailed behind solar energy with 5,046 mentions
- Electric vehicles—not really an “energy source’— came in a close third with 4,711 total mentions
- Hydroelectric power took the fourth spot, with a total of 4,108 mentions
- Geothermal technology took fifth place, with just under 4,000 mentions
Looking at the U.S. Energy Information Administration‘s “Monthly Energy Review-September 2012,” it’s clear that real usage does not guide the decisions of assignment editors. Indeed, the six-month totals for the first half of this year indicate that hydropower is leading the renewables sector, in terms of actual consumption by the utility sector for distribution to ratepayers.
Measured in trillions of BTUs, the renewable energy usage in the United States during the first half of this year actually was documented as:
- Hydroelectric power: 1,491
- Wind: 733
- Biomass: 214
- Geothermal: 82
- Solar energy: 16
In the total energy market, fossil fuels remain the dominant form of energy used by utilities and their customers; followed by renewables, which came in just a bit higher than nuclear power.
As for how important renewable energy actually is to the American public—especially in this presidential election year—the Washington, DC-based think tank, Pew (News - Alert) Research Center, notes that, while energy policy rated among the most important electoral issues in 2008— with 77 percent of the electorate gauging it as “very important” to their vote—today, it ranks near the bottom of their voting priorities, at 55 percent.
U.S. voters have two predictable top concerns for the 2012 election: Fully 87 percent of registered voters say that the economy will be very important to their vote, while 83 percent say jobs will be very important to their vote.
The latest national survey, by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, was conducted September 12-16 among 3,019 adults, including 2,424 registered voters.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman