NCSEA Poll Confirms North Carolina's Overwhelming Support of Clean and Affordable Energy
Raleigh, N.C., May 22, 2014 – The NC Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA), a leading 501(c)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization dedicated to shaping the state’s clean and efficient energy future, announces the results of the fourth annual North Carolina Statewide Survey (MoE± 3.45) confirming overwhelming support for the increased use of diverse clean energy sources by voters of all political parties. According to the poll of 803 registered North Carolina voters conducted by Fallon Research March 23-27, 2014, 83 percent of respondents think state leaders and elected officials should seek more renewable energy sources to provide consumers and businesses with affordable electricity. Additionally, 90 percent of respondents support the use of solar energy, while 88 and 82 percent support the use of energy-efficient programs and land-based wind energy, respectively.
Driven largely by the state’s market-based clean energy policies, North Carolina was recently named one of the fastest growing markets for clean energy solutions, and is now ranked second nationwide in solar power installations. “Support for clean energy can be a winning message for our state's leaders regardless of political affiliation. North Carolina is leading in these technologies, voters are noticing and they are asking for more,” said Paul Shumaker, leading political strategist, President of Capitol Communications.
In 2007, North Carolina became the first state in the Southeast to adopt the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) law, which, according to the poll, received support from71 percent of North Carolinians this year, and 15 percent not having an opinion. The law requires North Carolina’s electric power providers to generate a portion of their electricity needs through renewable energy resources enabling over $2 billion in renewable energy investments since 2007. North Carolina’s leaders confirmed their support of this policy by blocking an attempted legislative rollback and repeal in 2013.
Other notable survey results include:
- 86 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of Independents and 77 percent of Republicans saying state leaders should seek more alternative or renewable energy sources; and
- 74 percent of respondents felt power and electricity prices had increased over the last two years; with more than half thinking the increase was due to power companies increasing their profits or inflation and the economy, and only 5 percent thinking it was due to renewable energy mandates.
- 94 percent of voters under the age of 30 and 86 percent of voters between ages 30-44 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.
“Now in our fourth year of polling, these results are consistently telling us that energy policy is important to North Carolinians. What’s more, constituents are making note of their rising electricity bills and are looking to our leaders in the state legislature to adopt commonsense changes,” NCSEA executive director Ivan Urlaub said of the survey results, which revealed 83 percent of respondents support new energy policies that would create opportunities for clean energy companies that use renewable energy to offer affordable electricity to consumers.
“One way we can ease the burden of rising utility bills for North Carolina families and businesses is to build upon a framework that supports a competitive energy market that drives innovation, expands business opportunities and improves local economies.”
The poll results parallel the rapid growth of North Carolina’s clean energy economy, due in large part to the benefits afforded by the state’s REPS law, among others. According to NCSEA’s 2013 Clean Energy Industry Census, the clean energy industry experienced significant job growth in 2013, employing 18,404 full-time equivalent employees in North Carolina, a 20 percent increase from 2012. Moreover, state government energy efficiency programs saved an estimated $427 million in taxpayer dollars from 2007-2012 alone.
“This polling lays a foundation for lawmakers to devise a clean energy future with their voters in mind,” said Betsy McCorkle, NCSEA’s Director of Government Affairs. “These results prove that there’s an appetite to invest in a diverse set of sustainable energy solutions, which serve as the foundation to our economic prosperity – and offer a significant value for businesses and the community.”