Voters are skeptical of mandates but favor tax breaks for renewables — poll

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A majority of Americans are skeptical of federal energy mandates but still favor tax breaks for wind power and other forms of renewable energy, according to a poll released today by the pro-business American Energy Alliance.

The survey found that 60 percent of respondents oppose renewable energy standards for consumers and 77 percent don’t trust Congress to hand out corporate tax breaks.

At the same time, 51 percent of respondents said they support a production tax credit for wind power. And 62 percent said they believe U.S. EPA should require states to produce alternative sources of energy.

Still, American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle said the overall results show that Americans “don’t have faith in the federal government to make their energy choices for them.”

“The federal government has been giving special treatment to green energy for decades either directly through handouts like the wind PTC or indirectly through red tape like EPA’s proposed power plant rule,” Pyle added.

AEA is the not-for-profit arm of the right-leaning Institute for Energy Research. The survey of 1,005 likely voters was conducted last month by MWR Strategies, a Republican consulting firm, and had a 3-point margin of error.

Renewable energy advocates jumped on the poll, claiming that its conclusions don’t reflect changing attitudes about energy.

“Polls have consistently shown a wide majority of Americans support wind power and policies encouraging its growth,” said David Ward, a spokesman for the American Wind Energy Association.

Ward pointed to a USA Today poll released in December 2013 that found 73 percent of Americans favor extending tax credits for wind power and other sources of renewable energy.

To read the full survey, click here.