USA: 75.8 Pct of North Carolinians Support Offshore Wind Energy

USA: 75.8 Pct North Carolinians Support Offshore Wind Energy

North Carolinians overwhelmingly support the increased use of clean energy sources like solar or wind energy, according to poll results released on February 28 by the NC Sustainable Energy Association. A recent statewide public opinion survey conducted by Fallon Research found that 75.7% of Republicans, 89% of Democrats, and 81.6% of Independents (82.6% overall) said state leaders and elected officials in North Carolina should seek more alternative or renewable energy sources in order to provide consumers and businesses with electricity.

As the elected officials are starting their work regarding energy and other important issues, this poll serves as a strong signal of the policies that are important to their constituents.

The poll, conducted January 27th-30th of 2013 by Fallon Research, surveyed 803 North Carolina registered voters (landline and cellular phone numbers) on their support or opposition to a number of energy related issues.  The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.45 percentage points. Fallon Research is a polling and communications firm that has previously worked with numerous groups in North Carolina, including the NC Realtors Association and NC Home Builders Association, in addition to political candidates and independent expenditure groups across 35 US states. This is the third year in a row NCSEA has partnered with Fallon Research for public opinion polling on energy issues.

“North Carolinians of all political parties and regions of our state overwhelmingly support increasing the use of clean energy,” said Ivan Urlaub, Executive Director of the NC Sustainable Energy Association“These resources are producing cleaner, home-grown energy sources for our state, and are creating thousands of new jobs, expanding business opportunities and giving us more stable, affordable electric bills.  This public opinion survey provides current information for our state’s elected officials and energy regulators regarding the energy policies citizens want.”

NCSEA polled citizens on their support of NC’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) law, which passed in 2007 and requires the state’s utilities to increase their use of clean energy resources and energy savings measures by 2021. NC was the first state in the Southeast and the 25th in the nation to adopt such a law. The survey found that 69.7% of respondents thought the REPS law was a good idea, while 13.6% were unsure.

According to the survey results, 85% of respondents support new energy policies that would create opportunities for clean energy companies that use renewable energy resources, such as the sun and wind, to offer electricity services directly to consumers and businesses in North Carolina– thus creating more options and market competition than is currently allowed by the state’s utilities such as Duke Energy and Progress Energy.

Seventy percent of those surveyed felt the prices they are charged for power and electricity had increased over the last two years. When asked what they thought was the biggest reason for the increase, 35.7% thought it was because power companies were increasing their profits, while 21.1% felt it was due to inflation and the economy. 14.8% reported that it was due to increased costs for fuel recovery, production, and processing and 5.8% felt that it was due to increased use of renewable energy.

“People are obviously concerned about their rising energy and fuel bills and they also overwhelmingly want our state to increase the use of clean energy,” concluded Urlaub. “Because of clean energy policies that voters clearly support, the cost of clean energy has come down enough that customers are beginning to see more stability in their energy bills.”

According to a study released last week by RTI International and La Capra Associates, consumers will save more than $173 million between 2007 and 2026 due to the state’s clean energy policies including the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS). NC’s REPS law requires 7.5% of retail electricity come from renewable energy sources and up to 5% from energy efficiency.

The poll also included questions regarding respondents’ support or opposition to different energy resources to meet the growing needs for energy and electricity to residences and businesses in North Carolina. The following are the results for each energy source:

Solar Energy:
88% Support
9.7% Oppose
2.3% Unsure/no answer

Onshore (Land-Based) Wind Energy:
80.9% Support
13.1% Oppose
6.0% Unsure/no answer

Offshore Wind Energy:
75.8% Support
15.1% Oppose
9.1% Unsure/no answer

Energy Efficiency:
87.4% Support
9.4% Oppose
3.2% Unsure/no answer

Biomass (landfill gas, wood chips, agricultural by-products)
79% Support
10.5% Oppose
10.5% Unsure/no answer

Natural Gas:
82.7% Support
12.0% Oppose
5.3% Unsure/no answer

53.6% Support
33.6% Oppose
12.9% Unsure/no answer

56.1% Support
35.6% Oppose
8.2% Unsure/no answer


Press release, March 6, 2013; Image: Alpha Ventus