Poll: 87 Percent of Illinois Voters Want More Renewable Energy

Wide majorities of likely Illinois voters believe it is important that the state maintain its commitment to increase its use of renewable energy and support legislation that would achieve that goal by fixing the state’s broken renewable portfolio standard (RPS) law, according to a Zogby poll released this week.

The survey, conducted for Clean Energy Trust (CET) and Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), found an overwhelming majority (86.5 percent) of likely Illinois voters believe it is very important or somewhat important that Illinois ”continue to get an increasing amount of its energy from secure and clean power sources.” Renewable energy companies have invested more than $5 billion in Illinois power projects in the last few years.

Recent news reports in the Chicago Tribune (”Energy Fund Lacks Power”, May 13) and Crain’s Chicago Business (”A Mighty Wind Problem”, April 8) have detailed how the state’s renewable portfolio standard law has not achieved the intended results under the state’s fairly complex and unique procurement system. SB 103 seeks to fix the law by consolidating renewable energy purchases under the Illinois Power Agency, which would administer a competitive procurement process to minimize consumer costs while maximizing renewable energy.

Specifically, the survey found that:

  • 86.5 percent of likely voters also believe it is very or somewhat important to ”maintain policies to bring renewable energy to Illinois,” with 55 percent calling it ”very important.”
  • 76.7 percent of respondents said they are either strongly or somewhat in favor of legislation (SB 103) to ensure Illinois ”continues to increase its use of renewable power.” Only 8.2 percent are opposed.
  • 66.4 percent said they would either be much more or somewhat more likely to vote for their state representative or senator in the next election if that legislator supported such legislation, while only 9 percent said less likely.
  • 79.6 percent prefer that at least one quarter of the state’s electricity ”come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar,” with more than 61 percent wanting the state’s renewable energy requirement doubled to at least half of the state’s electricity.

“The people of Illinois almost unanimously consider renewable energy critical to the future of our state,” said Amy Francetic, Clean Energy Trust CEO. “We hope this overwhelming voter support will help to inform policymakers’ discussions around SB 103.”

“This survey shows that the people of Illinois support energy that is clean, secure and affordable,” said Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy. “We look forward to working with policy leaders in the state to help provide more advanced energy solutions and services.”

Lead image: Red pencil checkbox via Shutterstock

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Carl is Editor & Publications Manager at the American Wind Energy Association, where has worked since 2006. At AWEA he oversees AWEA's online and print publications including the Wind Energy Weekly, Windpower Update, and other products. He has worked as a journalist in the energy industry as a staff writer for Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine and in the association sector as senior editor at Association Management magazine. He also has covered the home-building industry, where his areas of greatest interest were sustainable development and "smart growth," and has written articles for numerous other publications as a freelance writer. Carl received his B.A. from James Madison University and spent some time in New Orleans teaching as well as working with homeless youth.

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