The post-election survey found nearly 90 percent of all voters support more government action to speed up the shift to clean energy.
The public sentiment comes as no surprise to Warren Nevad, the director of the Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council, a statewide network of city and county leaders.
“We look at renewable energy in a business-minded manner,” he said. “We tell our cities and our members that ‘hey, energy is the second highest part of your budget, next to labor. Now if you use renewable energy, that is a way to save on your energy costs, thus reducing the tax burden to your citizens.’”
Coal and oil companies have argued that policies supporting renewables will raise the cost of energy and hurt the economy. But the survey found conservatives favor those policies specifically because renewables are growing and rapidly adding jobs. Pollster Public Opinion Strategies talked to 1,000 U.S. voters.
Trump’s selection of a climate skeptic to head the EPA suggests the incoming administration may try to undo President Obama’s attempts to cut the carbon emissions that cause climate change.
Mark Pischea, the executive director of the Conservative Energy Network, which commissioned the survey, said conservative groups are working to help transform the nation’s energy supply, but they’ve been more focused on state and local policies. He said they will work in Washington.
“Urge Congress and urge the Trump administration to take a proactive platform on clean energy,” he said. “But most of the important work to move the ball is really happening at the state level.”
Dwain Land is mayor of Dunlap and also a member of TREEDC. He said as a supporter of clean energy, he has been a supporter of Donald Trump from the beginning.
“I was for Trump, but I am for renewable energy also and conserving energy, because we just feel like that’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Last weekend, TREEDC held its annual conference in Cookeville to discuss ways to educate members about the benefits of renewable energy and how to expand programs in their municipalities and counties.