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Letter: Public agrees that ND needs more energy efficiency, renewables

In today’s divisive political environment, unified public opinion is rare. That’s why it is so refreshing to see the results of a newly released public opinion survey regarding renewable energy and energy efficiency in North Dakota. The bottom line: North Dakotans overwhelmingly support energy efficiency and renewable energy, and they want the state to do more to promote it. 

The survey, commissioned by the North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy, shows that almost all (97 percent) North Dakotans feel that energy efficiency is somewhat or very important, 72 percent of respondents favor having a state energy building code and 87 percent support new public buildings meeting stronger standards of energy efficiency. I encourage readers to view the complete survey results on our website, www.ndare.org.

Survey respondents also felt that the state Legislature should do more to support renewable energy and energy efficiency.

More than 70 percent of those polled agreed that additional funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency should be allocated from a state constitutional trust fund, which was originally established to support water and energy efficiency projects. Historically, less than 1 percent of the Resources Trust Fund has been directed toward energy efficiency.

Respondents favored utilizing Resources Trust Fund monies to develop robust energy education programs, monitor energy use in public buildings and develop utility rebate programs for consumers. Survey respondents also supported the expansion of the state’s weatherization program and extending tax incentives for geothermal, biomass, solar and small wind programs.

The survey showed strong support for wind power as an energy generation resource, followed closely by energy efficiency, natural gas and solar energy. In addition, more than one-half of respondents believe that additional energy efficiency and renewable energy projects will create jobs in North Dakota. 

Survey results also strongly support the addition of energy consumer and energy efficiency representation on North Dakota’s state-level energy policy commission, which is chaired by the North Dakota Commerce commissioner.

The results of the survey underscore what we’re hearing from North Dakotans in every corner of the state — energy efficiency and renewable energy are very important parts of our future energy equation.

Kim Christianson,

Bismarck,

Board president, North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy