by Bruce Henderson (May 20, 2016) www.charlotteobserver.com
Renewable energy enjoys broad support among N.C. voters, pollsters for a conservative advocacy group said Friday in Charlotte.
Conservatives for Clean Energy commissioned the poll of 800 voters last month. It found deep support among Democrats and Republicans for solar and wind energy, but less enthusiasm for nuclear power and offshore drilling.
“It shows there continues to be strong support for renewable energy in North Carolina, and that’s driven by the economic benefits and technology, the fact that technology is making our lives better and in a lot of ways making it cheaper,” said Paul Shumaker, a Republican political strategist who presented the poll results in Charlotte.
Voters who support lawmakers in favor of:
New energy efficiency financing 88%
Renewable energy 87%
Offshore drilling for gas and oil 48%
New nuclear energy 42%
Fracking for natural gas 30%
Raleigh-based Conservatives for Clean Energy formed in 2014 with what it calls an educational mission. The group does not lobby lawmakers.
No major energy bills were expected in this year’s short session of the General Assembly.
But last week Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would place strict new requirements on solar and wind energy. The measure was referred to the Senate’s rules committee, where bills often go to die.
N.C. legislators last year let renewable energy tax credits expire, and took no action on a bill that would let green-energy developers sell electricity directly to their customers.
They have fended off attempts in recent years to freeze the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard, which helped create the state’s solar industry that is now the nation’s third-largest.
The N.C. Sustainable Energy Association reports that the $6.3 billion invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency from 2007 to 2015 generated $12 billion in total economic impact.