Diane E. Brown: Arizona poll: Clean energy provides economic opportunity
Arizonans overwhelmingly embrace the idea of growing the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy resources and believe clean energy is important to Arizona jobs and the economy, according to a new statewide poll.
Arizonans support for cleaner energy comes at a time when new energy technologies — such as solar, electric vehicles and energy efficiency devices — are rapidly being developed, which is driving down costs and making it more affordable for Arizonans to take advantage of the benefits.
According to the statewide survey, nearly 90 percent of likely Arizona voters believe the growth and use of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, should be a priority for the state.
Eight-in-10 say it’s important to grow Arizona’s own energy resources, versus importing fossil fuels like natural gas and oil.
The wide-ranging poll, which was directed by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and conducted by Washington, D.C.-based WPA Intelligence, a conservative pollster, tested likely voter opinions on topics including renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, the Navajo Generating Station and climate change.
Additional key findings include:
· Eight-in-10 (82 percent) think it is very (56 percent) or somewhat (26 percent) important for Arizona to promote the growth of its own clean energy sources, such as wind and solar power, versus importing fossil fuels like natural gas and oil.
· Nearly seven-in-10 (68 percent) likely voters in Arizona agree that regulations applied to utility providers, such as Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, UNS Energy Corporation, or Salt River Project should be increased to ensure energy efficiency to all their customers.
· A majority (57 percent) support an investment from our utility providers for electric vehicle charging infrastructure to be developed in underserved communities, such as highway corridors or rural areas, or in areas where the private sector is unlikely to serve or invest.
Navajo Generating Station
· More than eight-in-ten (83 percent) think it is “very” (56 percent) or “somewhat” (27 percent) important the owners of the Navajo Generating Station provide financial assistance and support such as job training to communities impacted by the closing of the plant.
· A majority of Arizonans (64 percent) agree that if the federal government fails to address the issue of climate change, the state or local government has a responsibility to address the problem. While the above offers a glimpse into the study’s findings, the survey results including political party breakdown, can be found at arizonapirgedfund.org
The bottom line is this: From encouraging development, to increased jobs and ultimately reducing costs in utility bills, Arizonans across the political spectrum are supportive of solutions that will result in a greater use of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources.
Diane E. Brown is the Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. The Arizona PIRG Education Fund conducts research and education on issues in the public interest.