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New Poll Finds Maryland Voters Support Solar by More than 4:1; Oppose Coal

Posted By Lowell F. on November 19th, 2014

Another day, another poll showing overwhelming support for clean energy. This time it’s a poll of Maryland voters, commissioned by Ethical Electric. Also note that Maryland voters have a highly favorable view of wind, and a net unfavorable view of coal. Hopefully, Maryland’s new governor will keep all this in mind as he formulates Maryland’s energy policy in coming years.

Maryland voters support solar energy by a more than four to one ratio, say it’s the top energy technology they’d support if they were in charge of state policy, and want the state to be a solar leader, according to a new poll commissioned by Ethical Electric.

Solar is the most popular form of renewable energy in Maryland. 64% of voters have a favorable opinion of it, compared to just 13% who have an unfavorable opinion of the zero emission technology. All other forms of renewable energy performed well, including wind (57% favorable, 21% unfavorable), geothermal (56% favorable, 11% unfavorable), and hydropower (63% favorable, 8% unfavorable).

“The message is clear: solar power is incredibly popular with Maryland’s voters and they want their government to help it grow across the state,” said Tom Matzzie, CEO of Ethical Electric. “Solar’s a winner with Democrats and Republicans – Governor-elect Larry Hogan should keep this mandate in mind as he assembles his administration and begins to shape policy.”

And if the average Maryland voter were governor for a day, solar power would shine. 37% would provide financial support to solar if they were in charge of the state’s energy policy and could choose one technology to support. No other form of energy came close – natural gas (14%) and wind power (13%) were the only other energy sources with double-digit support.

64% of voters also say it’s important for Maryland to be a solar leader – a concerning result considering Maryland is outside the top ten in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s cumulative installed solar capacity ranking and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s state ranking for solar installed in 2014. Indeed, 43% of voters say state government is not involved enough in solar power promotion.

While voters also support natural gas (69% favorable, 9% unfavorable), a majority of voters are against coal (37% favorable, 41% unfavorable), and oil is supported by less than half of all voters (44% favorable, 29% unfavorable). Nuclear power is also supported by less than half of all voters (43% favorable, 31% unfavorable), highlighting a clear trend against energy technologies that create large amounts of carbon pollution or pose major environmental threats.

Solar support is consistent across party lines. 63% of Democrats, 59% of Republicans, and 62% of Independents view it favorably.

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    Three Graphics from Lazard Study Show How Competitive Clean Energy’s Gotten

    Posted By Lowell F. on September 30th, 2014

    The following three graphics (click on the images to enlarge) are from a recent “Levelized Cost of Energy” (LCOE) study by Lazard – one of the world’s leading financial advisory and asset management firms. I’m posting the graphics here because they demonstrate how competitive clean energy’s become (even with massive implicit and explicit subsidies to fossil fuels), and also how much cheaper renewable power is going to get over the next few years.  No wonder why the International Energy Agency just explained how solar “could be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050,” with coal just about extinct (see the slide “Solar’s share varies significantly by region”). Great stuff; now let’s get on with the transition from dirty, dangerous, fossil-fuel-based energy to clean, renewable power.

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    AWEA, SEIA Leaders: Wind, Solar “two affordable, reliable, and business-friendly solutions” to Meet EPA Rules

    Posted By Lowell F. on June 18th, 2014

    We just wanted to highlight this morning’s op-ed in The Hill by Tom Kiernan and Rhone Resch – the leaders of the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association, respectively, about how wind and solar are “two affordable, reliable, and business-friendly solutions” for America to meet the proposed new EPA carbon pollution rules. Here’s an excerpt from the op-ed, with which we concur 100%.

    Some members of Congress worry we could hurt our economy by working to meet the EPA’s proposed standards. They may not have heard the good news about these newly affordable solutions at hand.

    While there’s no single solution to meeting the much-needed goal of reducing carbon emissions, wind and solar power are two of the biggest, fastest, and most cost-effective ways to meet the EPA’s proposed rule. Governors all across the country already know how they grow economies and create jobs – and a strong majority of Americans support scaling up these clean, homegrown energy sources.

    That’s why we urge all members of Congress to look to wind and solar power as leading solutions to help meet America’s future energy needs.

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    New Poll: Brits Overwhelmingly Prefer Onshore Wind Farms to Fracking

    Posted By Lowell F. on April 21st, 2014

    Recently, the British newspaper The Telegraph reported that Prime Minister David Cameron “wants to go into the next election pledging to ‘rid’ the countryside of onshore wind farms.” The Telegraph article added, “Conservative plans would have put a limit on the total amount of energy generated in the country by onshore wind, meaning that future projects could be blocked.” Apparently, Prime Minister Cameron and his Conservative Party see this assault on wind power as a popular move.  If so, it’s unclear where they’re getting their polling information from, as this article reports.

    About two-thirds of people would rather have a wind farm than a fracking site near their home, according to a poll carried out by industry researchers.

    The research has been used to question the growing opposition to wind farms within Government ranks, with the Conservatives signalling a curb on the growth of wind energy projects in their 2015 general election manifesto.

    Asked to choose between having the two energy sources within the area of their own local authority, 62 per cent of those questioned in the poll said they would rather have a wind farm near to where they live than a fracking site, compared to 19 per cent who said they would prefer – if it were a choice of one over the other – the process of hydraulic fracturing, which involves fracturing shale rocks to release natural gas, known as fracking.


    [Wind energy firm] Ecotricity has questioned the Government’s energy policies when the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has been conducting its own Public Attitudes Tracking Survey since July 2012 – with the latest results showing that 64% support onshore wind. That research revealed that just 28% of people supported fracking in the UK.

    The firm also pointed out that while sections of the coalition Government indicate there will be pre-election promises against onshore wind in favour of fracking – suggesting there are plans for generous tax breaks and planning shortcuts for fracking – both the DECC poll and the YouGov poll for Ecotricity reflect a continued public preference for onshore wind.

    In sum: wind is far more popular than fracking in the U.K., and of course it’s also far better for the environment, yet for some strange reason Prime Minister Cameron and his Conservative Party seem to think it’s an electoral winner to oppose wind and support fracking.  It doesn’t seem to make any sense, especially when you consider that Cameron’s “fracking fairytale” is “demonstrably and devastatingly false.”  Perhaps it’s not, as Prime Minister Cameron suggests, fracking’s opponents who are “irrational,” but its supporters?

    Posted in Fracking, Wind energy
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    Wind Power Monthly: “Wind ‘competitive with gas’ in US”

    Posted By Lowell F. on April 1st, 2014

    The decline in the cost of wind power has been impressive over the past few decades, and it’s continuing. As this graphic by the American Wind Energy Association demonstrates. the cost of wind power in the U.S. has fallen from around 55 cents per kilowatthour in 1980 to less than 10 cents per kilowatthour today.  The result is that wind power is rapidly becoming cost competitive with natural gas-fired electricity.

    The Visualising the Production Tax Credit for Wind Energy study by the University of California and Syracuse University shows wind costing only $0.0035/kWh more than gas when levelised over the 20-year life of a typical wind project.

    This is the result of taking into account the cost of the environmental impact of gas power stations, as well as the predicted volatility of wholesale gas prices…

    … adding in the other factors finds an adjusted levelised cost of electricity for wind of 0.092/kWh, versus 0.0885/kWh for gas.

    No wonder why major companies like General Electric are pouring billions of dollars into wind power, and why Vestas Wind just boosted its revolving credit line to $1.4 billion.

    Posted in Wind energy
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