A new survey has found that 78 percent of respondents believe the winner of the presidential race should prioritize faster adoption of renewable energy. The 7th Sense & Sustainability Study released by G&S Business Communications also found that opinion is split in relation to elected leaders and their understanding of the costs associated of fossil fuels. Fifty-two percent disagree while 48 agree that elected officials are well informed about fossil energy’s total costs. Regionally, Americans in the Midwest (59 percent) are more likely than those in the Northeast (49 percent) and in the South (47 percent) to disagree that elected officials comprehend the full costs associated with fossil energy.
However, public uncertainty is not discouraging the view that the government can play a role in creating advantages for consumers with a marketplace that allows for broader competition among electric power suppliers. The survey found 85 percent believe customers benefit from having alternative energy sources that include rooftop solar and wind. Along the same lines, 77 percent responded government regulators should develop a pricing model that ensures utilities pay for excess power supplied to the grid by smaller scale independently owned device operators. In addition, 68 percent indicated it is more important to have a resilient power grid than to enjoy lower electricity costs.
“Even the contentious nature of this year’s presidential campaign could not distract Americans from recognizing the importance of renewable energy to future economic growth and their own personal well-being,” said Ron Loch, G&S managing director and sustainability consulting leader. “It’s clear that public interest is served when there are discussions about the broader financial impact of fossil energy and the need to improve both energy efficiency and the infrastructure investment required to build a resilient power grid. Industry, government and civil society can better educate and engage by communicating about environmental and social responsibility in ways that tie back to stakeholders’ interests in choice, flexibility and security.”
Another interesting finding is that there is an increasing trend among those who stay uninformed. While 50 percent say they turn to news media for information (down from 57 percent in 2014), 27 percent indicated they do not rely on any sources to learn about environmentally and socially responsible practices among businesses.
And for the second year in a row, the same three industries of agriculture, food and beverage, and energy lead with positive reputations for sustainability while manufacturing, leisure services and transportation lag again.