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According to a study recently conducted by researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, there is broad public support among Pennsylvania residents for increased renewable-energy generation.
The research found that Pennsylvanians rate hydropower, solar electricity and wind power highest among electricity generation technologies, followed by nuclear power and natural gas. The results indicate that the average Pennsylvania household is willing to pay an extra $55 per year to increase renewable-energy production by an amount equal to 1 percent of Pennsylvania electricity consumption.
The study, “Pennsylvanians’ Attitudes Toward Renewable Energy,” was conducted by Clare Hinrichs, associate professor of rural sociology, and Richard Ready, professor of agricultural and environmental economics, with assistance from doctoral students John Eshleman and James Yoo. The project was funded by a grant from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a legislative agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
“The dominant message that came across was that there is broad support for increasing the amount of renewable energy production in the state, and there is broad support for the state taking an active role in encouraging that,” Ready said. “The majority of Pennsylvanians support strengthening the state’s alternative-energy portfolio standard that mandates that a certain amount of electricity comes from renewable sources.”
Based on these results, the researchers developed several considerations for policymakers:
– Policymakers should consider more nonpolluting technologies when developing policies that will affect the mix of energy sources available to Pennsylvania residents.
– If future modifications of proportional targets in the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard are considered, policymakers should consider including more electricity from renewable sources.
– Concern about the job impacts of the state’s energy policy and tendencies to see natural gas and coal as the energy technologies having the most positive impact on jobs suggest the need for careful and accurate job and workforce projections associated with both renewable and nonrenewable energy sector development.
To learn more about the entire study visit Live.PSU.edu.