Currently with 7% of current energy use currently coming from renewable resources, 90% of individuals surveyed say a national goal of having 25% of our domestic energy needs met by renewable resources by the year 2025 is achievable. And 98% said it was an important goal, explains Bill McInturff, partner for Public Opinion Strategies.
"This is about as big as it gets in consensus terms," adds McInturff, who over the years has done surveys on high profile issues such as healthcare.
The survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, Va., for the Energy Future Coalition, a non-partisan public policy initiative that sponsored the research for the 25x'25 Work Group. Results were released Wednesday at the 25x'25 Agriculture and Forestry Renewable Energy Summit.
Other key findings of the survey include:
- Eighty-eight percent of voters favor financial incentives, and 92% support minimum government standards for the use of renewable energy by the private sector.
- Nearly all voters (98%) say the costs, such as the cost of research and development and the cost of building new renewable energy production facilities, would be worth it to move us toward the 25x'25 goal.
- Voters consider energy to be an important issue facing the country, rating it similarly with health care, terrorism and national security, and education, and ahead of taxes and the war in Iraq. Half (50%) of voters believe America is headed for an energy crisis in the future, and 35% believe the country already is facing a crisis.
- Voters see many convincing arguments for a shift to renewable energy - the need to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, protection of the environment for future generations, the readiness of these technologies to contribute today, and the opportunities they present to create new jobs, especially in rural communities.
Building on the momentum
Allen Rider, former New Holland North America president, says the 25x'25 group has an ambitious road ahead of them. Currently 70 commodity and environmental groups have signed on to endorse the concept. The working group hopes to broaden those alliances and begin to see more partnerships formed outside of agriculture with labor, religious and other groups.
By Nov. 1, 2006, the group wants to have 50% of Congress endorse this bill to make this a national, bipartisan goal. Forming state alliances are also top of the agenda for the group. Rider explains that the group wants to have 20 states formally endorse and in some matter support the vision of the 25x25 group.
And the final goal for the year is to put together some sort of implementation plan. "The what is figured out," Riders says. "Now it's time to figure out the how - the things that will really make this happen." He adds that working to enhance state and federal policy, more research development to support ongoing technologies and commercialization of those technologies all fall into accomplishing the goal.