Survey Shows Maryland Strongly Supports Renewable Energy

4C and Climate Communication Consortium of Maryland report results from statewide survey

by 4C

Survey Shows Maryland Strongly Supports Renewable Energy

A new survey from George Mason University in partnership with the Climate Communication Consortium of Maryland demonstrates strong support for increasing the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources, like solar and wind, and mandated increases in the amount of renewable energy provided by electricity suppliers. The full report can be downloaded here.

Key Findings:

  • A large majority of Marylanders say that they would like the state to use more renewable fuel sources to generate electricity. The sources of renewable electricity most favored by Marylanders for further development are solar (78%), and offshore and land-based wind (each 69%). Support for increased use of renewable fuels for electricity generation rose between 2013 and 2014, especially for solar (9 percentage points) and wind (offshore, 10 percentage points; land-based, 7 percentage points).
  •  Additionally, most Marylanders are willing to pay more on their monthly bill for renewable energy. A majority in the state (54%) would be willing to pay more each month - ranging from $1 more, to over $30 more - to purchase 100% renewable energy such as from wind or solar. Of that number, more than a quarter of Marylanders - 28% - would be willing to pay $11 a month or more, on top of their current energy bill, for this service.

"Marylanders are particularly keen on renewable energy -- they want to see much more solar and wind used to produce electricity in our state, and much less coal," said Prof. Edward W. Maibach, Director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University and one of the study's authors.

"It is striking that over half of the people in Maryland want to buy 100% renewable energy from their utility company, and they are willing to pay a bit more for it. Yet, the most surprising and encouraging finding from this survey is that two out of three people in Maryland want to double the state's goal for renewable energy production, from 20% to 40%."

A large majority in the state supports increasing the renewable energy mandate to 40% by 2025; 65% either somewhat or strongly support this expanded requirement for suppliers. This level ofsupport is slightly below that of the current mandate that, by 2022, 20% of the electricity in the state must be generated from renewables (73%).

For the past two years, George Mason University has partnered with the Climate Communication Consortium of Maryland on statewide surveys of climate change, energy and public health in the state. This report is one of four that will be released from the 2014 survey; other reports highlight attitudes, behaviors and policy preferences on public health and climate change, climate adaptation and sea level rise, and climate change generally. The survey was mailed to 6,401 households in the state of Maryland. The survey was fielded from March 17 to June 10, 2014 with a response rate of 35%. The unweighted sample margin of error is +/- 2 percentage points at the 95% confidence interval.