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Most NC Voters Support Wind Energy: Poll

An offshore wind farm. Photo: File

A large portion of North Carolina voters support offshore wind, according to a new poll commissioned by a wind energy advocacy group.

The poll released Wednesday shows that 77% think the primary goal of the state’s energy policy should be achieving 100% clean energy.

The Southeastern Wind Coalition commissioned the survey of 656 registered voters that was conducted between Nov. 12-16 by Nexus Polling, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.

“The pandemic’s impact on North Carolina’s economy is shining a light on the state’s need to pursue industries that not only expand existing businesses, but also create new investment opportunities,” said Katharine Kollins, President of the Southeastern Wind Coalition in a statement. “Offshore wind and the robust manufacturing supply chain required to support the wind industry meets that need. This poll confirms that North Carolinians understand that dynamic and believe offshore wind and other clean energy technologies should be prioritized as part of our state’s energy policy.”

More than seven in 10, or 33%, strongly or somewhat, or 38%, support the development of offshore wind farms. The majority of voters — about 70% — polled also believe the buildout of offshore wind along North Carolina’s coast would have a positive impact on jobs, the state’s economy, air quality and climate change.

“North Carolina voters see that expanding offshore wind will bring a range of important benefits to their state,” said Dr. Edward Maibach, director of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication. “More good jobs, a stronger economy, and cleaner air are the immediate benefits that are obvious to most voters, but many also see a longer-term benefit in the form of limiting climate change.”

More than six in 10, or 61%, of state voters say developing renewable energy sources like solar and wind should be prioritized over other sources, and 89% say that renewables are very important or somewhat important to North Carolina’s future.

“Given North Carolina’s existing assets in the land-based wind manufacturing supply chain, strong port infrastructure, and a substantial wind resource off the coast, the state is already well-positioned to be a leader in the offshore wind industry, further boosting the state’s economy and creating new jobs,” according to Southeastern Wind Coalition.

The poll finds that North Carolinians understand the industry’s significant job creation potential, with 70% saying that offshore wind farms here would have a positive impact on the state’s job market.

“North Carolina is well positioned to seize a critical energy and jobs-creating opportunity,” said Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. “North Carolina voters strongly support the development of an offshore wind industry.”

Toplines for the poll are available here.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.