‘Near Unanimous Support’: Kansas Sends a Renewable-energy Message to America

News out of the heart of America’s Heartland reminds us all of just how much America loves renewable energy.

The Wind Coalition and the Climate and Energy Project released new poll data showing that Kansans overwhelmingly — and we mean overwhelmingly — support the development of renewable energy resources in the their state. The poll, conducted by North Star Opinion Research, found that 91 percent of Kansas voters are strongly supportive of using renewable energy. It showed further that renewable energy is just as popular as it was in 2009, when Kansas first pursued renewable energy legislation. Last year, efforts to roll back the state’s renewable energy law failed in the legislature. Small wonder.

Again, 91 percent. That’s nine out of 10 people — people who are already well familiar with wind energy because it’s being developed in their state — who support renewables. Nine out of 10 translates into a great free-throw percentage in basketball; in polling, it’s almost unheard of. Moreover, it’s not often you can say a poll shows “near unanimous support statewide,” as the news release states.

Why do Kansans like renewables so much? Probably because renewables have been great for the state’s economy.

“Kansas has been a significant beneficiary of renewable energy investment with nearly $8 billion of dollars in new investment and more than 12,000 new jobs in a decade,” said Jeff Clark, Executive Director of The Wind Coalition. “This poll underscores the sentiment developers see in the field — Kansans want to develop renewable energy, and more of it.”

What’s almost as noteworthy as the sweeping support is its breadth. Kansas voters, the poll found, support the 2009 renewable energy law across the political spectrum. The poll found that the law receives a strong 73 percent show of support among Republicans, 75 percent among Independents and 82 percent among Democrats. And, two-thirds of voters would support increasing the state’s renewable energy standard, even if it meant a $1-2 increase on their bill.

“State legislators should take note that Kansans support renewable energy and support the state’s clean energy law,” said Dorothy Barnett, Executive Director of the Climate and Energy Project. “Impressively, this support was equally high across partisan lines.”

More slam-dunks from the poll:

  • 9/10 respondents said using renewable energy is the right thing to do for the future of Kansas and the country;
  • 88 percent agreed renewable energy will lead to new investments in Kansas and help grow the state’s economy;
  • 85 percent believe renewable energy will lead to the creation of new jobs; &
  • 89 percent believe renewable energy helps protect the land and environment.

Again, these responses come from a state already familiar with renewable energy — particularly wind.

Just as Kansas is associated with America’s Heartland, so is it known as a red state on the political map.  “It is rare for anything to be popular across partisan lines,” said Dan Judy, Vice President at North Star Opinion Research. “Yet, our polling shows a consistent, high level of support for renewable energy among all Kansans.”

Message sent from the Heartland, and received loud and clear: America likes wind power — so much so it transcends party lines. 

Other polls demonstrating Americans support wind power:

This article was originally published on AWEA’s Into the Wind and was republished with permission.

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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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