The generation born between the late 1970s and late 1990s — known as millennials — is taking over the world. In the United States alone, there are over 80 million millennials in the job market — making this demographic essential to everyone from energy providers, to politicians. With a combined spending power of over $200 billion, millennials are in an ideal position to change the face of most industries — and the world of energy is no exception.
Millennials are known for their dedication to social impact, their familiarity with technology, and their ability to embrace new ideas. As the group begins to overtake the “Boomers” as the largest living generation in America, the modern age could see a shift in the way we approach and embrace renewable energy. The reason for this is that millennials are more willing than past generations to support the development of alternative energy, such as hydrogen, wind, and solar technology.
A study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders discovered that 84% of millennials were willing to pay up to 3% more for a home that was “energy efficient“. In part, this is due to the fact that Millennials are “digital natives”, who grew up in a world of possibilities and technological innovation. Their familiarity and ease with the ever-changing energy landscape makes them far more likely than any other generation to adapt to new technologies, and more environmentally-friendly systems.
Renewable Energy as a Way of Life
While only 32% of Millennials consider themselves to be “environmentalists”, the generation itself is far more likely to embrace and use renewable energy than previous generations. 80% of the demographic seek to work for companies that care about their environmental impact, and a significant amount are willing to pay more for products that are made through responsible means. So why don’t they consider themselves to be environmentalists? The answer is that, for this new generation, going green is the new normal. Most Millennials automatically choose bikes and public transportation over cars, favor corporations that care about their carbon footprint, and search for responsible solutions to common problems — because they don’t see another option.
That commonplace “green” outlook is translating into action when it comes to maintaining renewable energy solutions, with some markets beginning to see significant demand for more evidence of solar panels in homes as Millennials join the real-estate market. As the demographic continues to expand and grow across the nation, so too will their innovative approach to cutting costs and embracing new energy solutions. After all, just as their instinct is to use a bike instead of a car, their first issue to address for home energy needs is how to make their power more renewable, and sustainable. An industry survey discovered that 58% were interested in pursuing rooftop solar, whereas 62% were keen to learn more about the systems.
Millennials As A Source Of Innovation
Today, the oldest in the Millennial demographic have reached their thirties, allowing them to take their places as the leaders of companies, elected politicians, and heads of households. By 2025, Millennials will make up around 75% of the American workforce. Though some media outlets have questioned their activism in the past, the majority of Millennials (71%) consider the development of alternative, renewable energy to be a priority in the world today. What’s more, about 82% of the generation believe that there should be increased federal funding for sustainable energy solutions, such as wind and solar systems.
As digital natives, new technology is not something that Millennials need to adapt to — instead, they can embrace technology and understand the need for innovation. Because of this, it’s easy to see why Millennials are a crucial source of entrepreneurship when it comes to solving significant green issues. For example, the Spark Clean Energy program will seek to harness innovation from Millennials as a way of spurring clean energy breakthroughs, and the Millennial Train Project uses the same spirit to develop start-up projects.
All in all, as the demographic continues to grow, and cleaner, newer, and more renewable sources of energy emerge, the world is constantly moving towards a more sustainable way of living. Millennials have recognized that our current model for energy is not sustainable, and this understanding has revitalized a search to find better ways of energizing our future.
The Future Impact of Millennials
According to the “Brookings Report” the values of Millennials will continue to change and potentially improve the structure of the US economy in the following decades. These values include a belief that we should all be working towards addressing significant societal concerns, and placing an emphasis on ethical causes and social responsibility. Though all of the values of the demographic aren’t geared towards environmentalism, they do underline a greater reverence for the environment, and place higher value on the concept of renewable, and cleaner energy sources.
An evaluation of the emerging values of the younger generation shows that there is significant potential in this group for embedding a more sustainable approach to life into the economy in the coming decades. After all, the Millennial generation places more worth on the societal significance of what they do, and the products they consume, in comparison to money. They see societal impact as more valuable than cash, with two-thirds of the survey respondents commenting that they would rather make less than half of the wages they could receive in a job that they love, instead of working in a career they consider to be boring.
A Demand for More Choice
Millennials actively distrust big companies, and prefer to focus on those that value their social priorities, underlining a consideration of “corporate social responsibility”. This focus on social responsibility means that Millennials are more likely to favor clean energy — but they are also drawn to technologies that are newer, more novel, and made possible by the emergence of modern innovations.
As we move further into the future, we will see the demand for more resources, more convenience, more customization, and more renewability beginning to increase. Millennials are all about finding the cleanest, most convenient solution to common problems, and this frame of mind is bound to have an impact on the present, future, and development of solar power, and renewable energy.