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Oct 22, 2020

New Polling Highlights Broad Public Support for Renewable Energy Across America’s Sun Belt

A series of recent polls released by the Advanced Power Alliance (APA) shows strong public support for the continued growth of renewable energy development across America’s “Sun Belt”. For the purposes of this research, APA focused on eight states including portion of the area including the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

Polling measured other concerns of voters, including their perceptions of the public response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the volatile nature of the economy, and the growth of clean energy in their states. Overwhelmingly, voters supported expanding clean energy development to bring economic growth and to restart the economic rebuilding process. Jeff Clark, President of APA, commented, “Voters appreciate the energy transition that is underway, and they want their states to play a leadership role benefiting from investments in cleaner, cheaper, home grown energy options. With benefits for consumers, schools, local governments, rural communities, and the environment, it’s no surprise that clean power investments remain popular. Americans see that wind, solar, energy storage investments are valuable economic development options throughout the region.”

The polling research was conducted by Victory Enterprises, a comprehensive political and corporate consulting and communications firm based in Davenport, Iowa. Victory Enterprises routinely conducts survey research and market research for campaigns, associations and corporations across the country. Victory was selected by APA because it is non-partisan and has a reputation for accuracy and integrity. Polling was conducted between August and October of 2020 and has a margin of error of 4 – 4.3%, with a 95% level of confidence.

Respondents were asked to name the issues most of concern to them and, while many issue were on their minds, two related areas, “Combating the spread of COVID-19” and “Jobs and Economy”, were consistently cited as the greatest concerns of respondents. Conservative voters responded with more concern over jobs and the economy progressives were more concerned with the ongoing pandemic and its spread. Question: In your own words, what is the single greatest challenge facing the state today? 

  • Alabama                    30.5% (Jobs and Economy – 19.2%)
  • Arkansas                    27.6% (Jobs and Economy – 20.1%) 
  • Georgia                       35.4% (Jobs and Economy – 11.6%)
  • Louisiana                   25.0%  (Jobs and Economy – 27.7%)
  • Mississippi                 21.3% (Jobs and Economy – 20.5%)
  • Oklahoma                  26.5% (Jobs and Economy – 16.0%)
  • Tennessee                  32.7% (Jobs and Economy – 19.5%)
  • Texas                           34.0% (Jobs and Economy – 10.0%)

When asked to share their thoughts on energy issues facing their states, respondents consistently showed support for energy development, including renewable energy development. Question: The cost of renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, have become more competitive than traditional sources of energy, like coal. Knowing this, would you support or oppose bringing wind or solar power production projects to your county/parrish?  

  • Alabama                    72.7% Support/Probably Support (7.7% Unsure)
  • Arkansas                   74.7% Support/Probably Support (7.5% Unsure)
  • Georgia                      76.5% Support/Probably Support (5.5% Unsure)
  • Louisiana                  71.6% Support/Probably Support (6.0% Unsure)
  • Mississippi                69.3% Support/Probably Support (12.2% Unsure)
  • Oklahoma                  67.0% Support/Probably Support (10.0% Unsure)
  • Tennessee                  74.8% Support/Probably Support (5.0% Unsure)
  • Texas                           70.0% Support/Probably Support (10.0% Unsure)

When the value of renewable energy projects to local schools and communities is introduced, support for renewable energy development is even more pronounced, and the opposition diminishes as uncertain voters become more certain. Question: Many renewable energy projects involve landowner lease payments, where the energy production company leases land to house solar panels or wind turbines. These projects not only provide additional income to landowners, but also provide tax benefits for local schools. Knowing this, would you support or oppose bringing landowner-lease wind or solar projects with energy storage to your community? 

  • Alabama                    73.5% Support/Probably Support (9.3% Unsure)
  • Arkansas                   77.0% Support/Probably Support (7.0% Unsure)
  • Georgia                      78.8% Support/Probably Support (7.5% Unsure)
  • Louisiana                  76.0% Support/Probably Support (7.2% Unsure)
  • Mississippi                77.0% Support/Probably Support (9.5% Unsure)
  • Oklahoma                  75.0% Support/Probably Support (7.0% Unsure)
  • Tennessee                  76.9% Support/Probably Support (4.5% Unsure)
  • Texas                           73.0% Support/Probably Support (7.0% Unsure)

Voters in these states also see the value of bringing advanced manufacturing to their communities, to contribute to the economic rebuilding that lies ahead. When asked if they would support state incentives to recruit advanced manufacturing to their states, respondents were overwhelmingly supportive. APA monitors this areas because, often times, the availability of renewable energy is a key consideration to companies when selecting locations for these advanced manufacturing facilities. Question: Would you support or oppose (your state) providing incentives in order to recruit data centers and advanced manufacturing to the state? 

  • Alabama                    72.7% Support/Probably Support (7.7% Unsure)
  • Arkansas                   74.7% Support/Probably Support (7.5% Unsure)
  • Georgia                      76.5% Support/Probably Support (5.5% Unsure)
  • Louisiana                  71.6% Support/Probably Support (6.0% Unsure)
  • Mississippi                69.3% Support/Probably Support (12.2% Unsure)
  • Oklahoma                  66.0% Support/Probably Support (23.0% Unsure)
  • Tennessee                  74.8% Support/Probably Support (5.0% Unsure)
  • Texas                          61.0% Support/Probably Support (28.0% Unsure)

Jeff Clark, President of the Advanced Power Alliance, further commented on the findings, “No doubt, this is a time of anxiety for all of us with the pandemic, and economic uncertainty creating stresses for all Americans. We are resilient and we will rebuild our economy, put our citizens back to work, and create a more prosperous future. Renewable energy will play a key role in this recovery. We have seen the tremendous economic value of clean energy development in communities across the country. Voters continue to make their preference clear. Across the country, they want to see clean energy expanded to bring jobs, affordable energy, tax revenue, and new income to their states.”

The Advanced Power Alliance was formed to promote the growth of clean power generation technologies. APA focuses on expanding the use of wind energy, solar energy, energy storage, and other technologies that provide consumers with cleaner, cheaper energy, made closer to their communities. For more information on the polling and clean energy, please visit: https://poweralliance.org/