An overwhelming majority of Americans would want to see a renewable energy plant in their community, but few say the same for fossil fuel or nuclear plants
On Monday President Obama is set to announce new EPA regulations to cut carbon pollution from coal plants, threatening the long-term future of what is currently America's top fuel for generating electricity. Natural gas is the fastest growing alternative to coal, though nuclear power is also undergoing a resurgence in popularity, with eighteen new reactors currently in some stage of development or construction across the country. In the long run, however, both federal and state governments are seeking to adopt greener sources of energy, such as solar and wind energy.
The latest research from YouGov shows that if electric companies and the government are looking to avoid local opposition to new power plants, they would be well-advised to propose building renewable plants. 76% of Americans would support seeing a solar or wind power plant built in their community, compared to only 29% who would support a fossil fuel plant and 24% who would back the construction of a nuclear reactor in their town. 41% would oppose a fossil fuel plant, while most Americans (55%) would oppose siting a nuclear power plant in their area.
This support for renewable energy may be, in part, due to popular perception that it is safe. Solar energy is widely seen as the safest energy source (59%), followed up by wind (18%) and natural gas (10%).
Unlike nuclear energy, which might invoke memories of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima, or fossil fuels, which can be risky to produce and damaging to the environment when consumed, there are generally few safety issues connected with renewable energy.
Full poll results can be found here.