North Carolina voters strongly support the increased use of clean energy sources like wind energy and solar power, according to poll results released by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA).
The poll found that 82.6% of respondents – including 89% of Democrats, 81.6% of Independents and 75.7% of Republicans – said state leaders and elected officials in North Carolina should seek more alternative or renewable energy sources.
The survey results showed overwhelming support for both onshore and offshore wind energy. Of those polled, 80.9% said they support onshore wind, 13.1% oppose it and 6.0% were unsure. Meanwhile, 75.8% said they support offshore wind, while 15.1% of respondents said they oppose it and 9.1% were unsure.
In addition, 85% of respondents support new energy policies that would create opportunities for clean energy companies that use renewable energy resources to offer electricity services directly to consumers and businesses in North Carolina.
The poll also found that 69.7% of respondents were in favor of the state's Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) – which is 12.5% by 2021 for the state's investor-owned utilities and 10% by 2018 for electric cooperatives and municipal utilities – and 13.6% were unsure how they felt about the policy.
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% said they thought it was because power companies were increasing their profits; 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% said it was due to the 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," says Ivan Urlaub, executive director of the NCSEA. "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."
The poll, conducted in January 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.
According to a study released recently 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 state's REPS.
The full poll results can be accessed here.