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Public opinion watch: It's a landslide: 87% of Illinois voters want more renewable energy

Public opinion watch: It's a landslide: 87% of Illinois voters want more renewable energy

 

Nearly 77 percent back legislation to fix state's Renewable Portfolio Standard

Wide majorities of likely Illinois voters believe it is important that the state maintain its commitment to increase its use of renewable power and support legislation that would achieve this goal by fixing the state's broken renewable portfolio standard (RPS) law, according to a Zogby poll released yesterday.

The survey, conducted for Clean Energy Trust (CET) and Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), found an overwhelming majority (86.5 percent) of likely Illinois voters believe it is very important or somewhat important that Illinois ''continue to get an increasing amount of its energy from secure and clean power sources.'' Renewable energy companies have invested more than $5 billion in Illinois power projects in the last few years.

Specifically, the survey found that:

— 86.5 percent of likely voters also believe it is very or somewhat important to ''maintain policies to bring renewable energy to Illinois,'' with 55 percent calling it ''very important.''

— 76.7 percent of respondents said they are either strongly or somewhat in favor of legislation (SB 103) to ensure Illinois ''continues to increase its use of renewable power.'' Only 8.2 percent are opposed.

— 66.4 percent said they would either be much more or somewhat more likely to vote for their state representative or senator in the next election if that legislator supported such legislation, while only 9 percent said less likely.

— 79.6 percent prefer that at least one quarter of the state's electricity ''come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar,'' with more than 61 percent wanting the state's renewable energy requirement doubled to at least half of the state's electricity.

"The people of Illinois almost unanimously consider renewable energy critical to the future of our state," said Amy Francetic, Clean Energy Trust CEO. "We hope this overwhelming voter support will help to inform policymakers' discussions around SB 103."

Recent news reports in the Chicago Tribune (''Energy Fund Lacks Power'', May 13) and Crain's Chicago Business (''A Mighty Wind Problem'', April 8) have detailed how the state's renewable portfolio standard law has broken down. SB 103 seeks to fix this broken law by consolidating renewable energy purchases under the Illinois Power Agency, which would administer a competitive procurement process to minimize consumer costs while maximizing renewable energy.

"This survey shows that the people of Illinois support energy that is clean, secure and affordable," said Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy. "We look forward to working with policy leaders in the state to help provide more advanced energy solutions and services."

Additional results from the survey include:

— A majority prefer that the state use local sources of renewable energy. 57.4 percent report they ''prefer that the state purchase renewable energy from Illinois facilities and not from neighboring states.'' Only 4.9 percent ''prefer renewable energy purchased from out of state.''

— Asked about U.S. dependence on foreign oil, the overwhelming majority, 75.1 percent, described it as a crisis or major problem.

— An even larger majority, 87.7 percent, of likely Illinois voters believe advanced energy — defined as all technologies, products, and services that are helping to make energy secure, clean and affordable — is very important or somewhat important to America's future. Over half (58.1 percent) deemed it very important. Renewable energy is a sector of the broader advanced energy industry, which was a $1.1 trillion global market in 2011, according to a 2013 report released by Advanced Energy Economy.

— 51.4 percent believe it is very important for Illinois's political leaders to ''do all they can to further developing, manufacturing and deploying advanced energy.'' An additional 33.2 percent find it to be somewhat important.

Zogby Analytics was commissioned by Clean Energy Trust and the Advanced Energy Economy to conduct an online survey of 700 likely Illinois voters. The survey was conducted between May 9, 2013 and May 13, 2013. The margin of error is +/-3.8 percentage points.

About Clean Energy Trust (CET)

Clean Energy Trust was founded by prominent business and civic leaders to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation in the Midwest. The trust is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Small Business Administration and more than 60 investors, corporations, universities, foundations and trade groups. For more information, visit http://www.cleanenergytrust.org.

About Advanced Energy Economy (AEE)

Advanced Energy Economy is a national association of businesses and business leaders who are making the global energy system more secure, clean, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available commercial technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE members include companies involved in technology development, component and product manufacturing, project and infrastructure development, equipment installation, engineering, finance, advisory services, and other activities that help business and residential consumers meet their energy needs in better ways.

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