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Good ideas trump partisanship

Americans on both sides of the aisle increasingly support growing renewable energy.
Good ideas trump partisanship
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It seems if an idea makes sense, political persuasion isn’t all that important.

Just a few days ago, we reported that increasing numbers of Republicans support wind power. Now, two new studies quantify just how much that support has grown in recent years.

Lazard Ltd., a financial advisory and asset management firm, just released a survey showing strong support for renewable energy from voters on both sides of the aisle. The change in attitudes among self-described conservatives is particularly striking.

Today, only 18 percent of conservatives think that transitioning toward a clean energy economy isn’t important. In 2012, that number was 46 percent. Likewise, 52 percent of conservatives elevate this to an issue of “most concern,” up 17 points from when the survey was last conducted four years ago.

And conservatives increasingly support legislative action to help this transition happen. 58 percent of those surveyed support legislative initiatives that would require companies to generate some of their electricity from renewable sources. That’s almost 20 percent higher than 2012.

The results from Lazard’s survey are backed up by a new Gallup poll, conducted in early March. 73 percent of Americans now say the U.S. should develop more wind and solar power, up five points from 2011, and 70 percent now say we should put even greater emphasis on developing these sources.

Gallup

Courtesy of Gallup.

As George Bilicic, vice chairman and global head of Lazard’s power, energy and infrastructure group, explained, “Despite the polarized climate in Washington, voters’ support for cleaner energy policies increasingly transcends political affiliation.”

It’s no surprise that more Americans support growing wind power. As costs have fallen (66 percent in the last six years), wind is helping families and businesses lower their electricity costs across the country. Through 2050, wind could save them $149 billion.

And that’s just the start. Wind already supports 88,000 well-paying American jobs, created $7.3 billion in public health benefits in 2015 alone and increases local tax revenue so communities can build new schools, fix roads and improve health care facilities.

A money saving product that creates jobs, cleaner air and financially strong communities? No wonder Americans on both sides of the aisle want more.

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Greg is the Writer and Content Manager for AWEA. He is the head editor and writer for Into the Wind, and oversees AWEA's online content and opinion writing. Greg holds a Master's degree in Global Environmental Policy from American University's School of International Service. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and Journalism from Lehigh University.

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