North Carolina residents overwhelmingly support renewable energy, including legislation that would let independent power generators sell directly to customers, according to a poll out today.
The N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, which advocates for wind, solar and other renewable fuels, commissioned the poll of more than 700 residents last month by public opinion firm Fallon Research.
The poll found strongest support for solar energy, at 89 percent, natural gas at 84 percent, and offshore wind energy at 76 percent (with 15 percent opposed). Support for nuclear power came in at 57 percent and for coal-fired electricity at 56 percent, with 32 percent opposed to both.
On other questions, residents gave their firmest support -- 87 percent -- to legislation allowing non-utility energy companies to sell directly to customers. North Carolina law now allows only the utilities that serve the state, chiefly Duke Energy and Progress Energy, to sell power.
North Carolina legislators, under a bill sponsored by Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg, are studying whether to allow so-called third-party sales. Twenty states allow such sales, which the association says could open up new markets for solar-energy companies.
Eighty-five percent of the people polled said consumers should have more options for buying electricity.