Poll finds New Yorkers favor transition to renewable energy over fossil fuels

Sep 27, 2012

A new poll released today by Public Policy Partners (PPP) shows than an overwhelming percentage of New York voters favor clean, renewable energy sources over fossil fuels to power the state. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The poll comes out just as the Long Island Power Authority is deciding on new energy contracts that could include offshore wind, and just after NYISO released their “Reliability Needs Assessment” report showing New York could safely retire its remaining coal plants and reliably meet energy needs with clean energy and efficiency.

The survey shows 72 per cent of New Yorkers want a clean energy future and expanded use of renewal energy resources - with an emphasis on wind and solar  - Grace McRae is the polling and research strategist at the Sierra Club - she says when it comes to the state building additional energy infrastructure, 8 out of 10 poll respondents indicated they favor building renewable energy facilities over constructing fossil fuel plants. 68 per cent of those polled were against financial bailouts for existing coal plants.

While 8 in 10 polled would support offshore wind projects,  2 out 3 answered they would NOT be willing to pay more for "green" electricity: unless the increase was capped to one to two dollars a month.

The survey found 2 in 10 New Yorkers haven't heard of the process known as "fracking" - results show that 80% of voters polled are concerned about fracking’s implications for water quality and a majority (52%) would oppose lifting the current moratorium on high volume fracking.

“It is clear that New Yorkers want a clean energy future where our kids will grow up with healthier air to breathe, clean water to drink and exciting new jobs in the clean tech industry. Now, it’s up to Governor Cuomo to make that clean energy vision a reality,  seize the opportunity to move our state beyond dirty energy like coal and fracking and make New York a national clean energy leader that we can be proud of,” said Lisa Dix, Senior New York Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club.

Next week the Long Island Power Authority is expected to announce plans for how to proceed with contracts for future power generation... Dix says the Clean energy ball is in Governor Andrew Cuomo's court. A call to Governor Cuomo's office was not returned.

Currently, both LIPA and the State of New York are failing to meet the state’s renewable energy goal of obtaining 30% of its energy from renewable sources by 2015, even though the poll shows meeting these goals is important to 84% of voters. Investing in local offshore wind would align with what voters would like to see; 70% say it is “very important” that the state meets their renewable energy goals using in-state clean energy projects. New Yorkers clearly want their state to gain the economic benefits of new energy industries and new clean energy jobs.

PPP polled registered voters via telephone Sept 18-20:  601 voters were contacted statewide and 383 additional on Long Island - the survey has a margin of error of approx. 6 percentage points