More than three-quarters (78%) of Americans believe the winner of the presidential race should prioritize the faster adoption of renewable energy, according to the seventh annual Sense & Sustainability Study released by G&S Business Communications (G&S).
G&S, a global business communications firm with expertise in corporate social responsibility and sustainability, conducted the study online by Harris Poll in August among 2,007 U.S. adults.
Despite strong public sentiment favoring the next president’s focus on renewables, the G&S study found that American opinion is split when it comes to elected leaders and their understanding of the costs associated with fossil fuels. More than half (52%) disagree, as compared with 48% who agree, that elected officials are well informed about fossil energy’s total costs, among them the effects of air pollution on healthcare and the impact of climate change on property insurance.
Public uncertainty about elected leaders does not appear to have discouraged the view that the government can play a key role in creating advantages for consumers with a marketplace that allows for broader competition among suppliers of electric power.
More than four in five Americans (85%) believe customers benefit from having alternatives to conventional power utilities, such as distributed energy resources that include wind power and rooftop solar. In addition, more than three-quarters (77%) say government regulators should develop a pricing model that ensures utility companies pay for excess power supplied to the grid by smaller scale, independently owned device operators.
Americans believe the advantages of market competition may go beyond cost savings. More than two-thirds (68%) feel it is more important to have a resilient power grid than to enjoy lower electricity costs.
“Even the contentious nature of this year’s presidential campaign could not distract Americans from recognizing the importance of renewable energy to future economic growth and their own personal well-being,” said Ron Loch, G&S managing director and sustainability consulting leader. “It’s clear that public interest is served when there are discussions about the broader financial impact of fossil energy and the need to improve both energy efficiency and the infrastructure investment required to build a resilient power grid.”
Targeted communications may help stem the rising number of Americans who choose to be uninformed about corporate sustainability or social responsibility. More than one-quarter of Americans (27%) in 2016 do not use any sources to learn about business efforts to promote environmentally or socially responsible practices or products – up from the previous two years (25% in 2015 and 20% in 2014).
Among the sources Americans rely upon to learn about corporate commitments to “going green,” the news media remains the most popular for the third year in a row (50% in 2016, 54% in 2015 and 57% in 2014).
Click here for a summary of the G&S Sense & Sustainability Study.