Many Ohio Voters Favor Renewables According to Recent Poll

The poll was commissioned by a coalition of environmental groups and conducted jointly by two national polling companies, ref. 1. One company, Public Opinion Strategies, is a Republican polling company. The other, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, is a Democratic opinion research company. The poll interviewed 405 registered Ohio voters. It is estimated that poll results have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9%. The voters interviewed represented Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Voters were asked if they favored political candidates who support more renewable energy development or those candidates who think the state’s reliance on coal, gas and nuclear power is adequate. A total of 64% favored the green candidates while 31% of those polled favored candidates supporting traditional energy production.

Other key findings include:
1. Those in favor of voting for candidates that support clean energy include 82% of Democrats and 47% of Republicans. While 47% of Republicans opposed those candidates supporting clean energy.
2. In favor of a gradual increase on the dependence of renewables by electric utility companies included 87% of Democratic voters, 70% of Independents and 56% of Republicans.
3. Energy efficiency was supported by 85% of Republicans, 81% of Democrats and 73% of Independents.

The utilities, led by Akron, OH based First Energy Corp. and some of the state’s largest industries want the U.S.government’s energy efficiency rules scrapped. First Energy reported that the rules interfered with normal market development. The big power users indicated that they did not need any help with efficiency and argued that the cost of the programs was becoming a burden.

Why do so many Democratic voters favor further development of green energy sources? Is it because they are reflecting the green energy party line? They may fall, along with others, under the category of “under-informed” voters as identified by radio commentator Rush Limbaugh. The under-informed voter, with regard to energy, should be aware of the following facts before voting:
1. As the amount of renewable energy increases, the consumer price of electricity will increase. The German energy policy is currently midway toward attaining 100% of their electricity from renewable energy sources. At this midway point, consumer electricity prices have more than doubled since the initiation of the new policy, ref. 2. Additional price increases are expected when the need for energy storage is implemented.
2. Government subsidies for wind and solar energy farms should be stopped. Germany’s economic assessment of renewable subsidies has concluded that they are unsustainable and have placed a strain on consumers and the economy. Renewable subsidies have clearly generated disequilibrium in the electric power markets. In addition, the subsidies have caused a value destruction for most stakeholders: consumers, renewable companies, electric utilities, financial institutions and investors, ref.2.
3. As the production of renewable energy is increased, fluctuations of electric energy produced by renewables will increase. Fluctuations in electricity contribute to the electric grid instability and as a result grid reliability will decrease. Details of this problem are discussed earlier in this column under the title: “Our Electric Grid is Headed for a Blackout.”

Ref 1. Funk, John, Plain Dealer News reporter, “Poll: Voters favor renewables”, The Plain Dealer, p. F2, Sept. 7, 2014.
Ref. 2. Lundin, Barbara V., “Renewable energy lessons from Germany” Fierce Energy, July 17, 2014.