By Adam Benalayat, Intern
The renewable energy resources industry, like many others today, has become the victim of over-politicization and antagonistic framing. Regardless of what one might see on the nightly news, however, issues pertaining to sustainable energy are far less divisive between parties than other topics. Whether Democrat or Republican, legislators across the country agree that it is wise to invest in America’s future and the industries that it will bring.
This is clear when you look at a recent Clean Edge report, which shows a healthy balance between blue states and red states when it comes to renewable energy, even though some politicians choose to present sustainable energy as a left-right schism. From that viewpoint, one would assume that the states that top the report would align blanketly with one political ideology or another, but the report shows the opposite. In fact, here are a few examples from the Clean Edge report:
- Historically Republican Idaho is one of the top states in conserving carbon emissions per capita.
- Iowa, which also leans red, leads the entire nation in percentage of electricity generated by utility-scale wind operations.
- Traditionally Democrat states, such as New York and California, lead in total solar electricity generation.
The report shows that the effects of energy efficiency are apolitical, and states have the bipartisan support of lawmakers and voters to thank for the legislative unity in that field.
Another report that revealed similar findings is a 2016 the Pew Research Center survey on the influence of political affiliation on views towards energy policies. The study did find points of contention between the left and right on some issues, but it also showed that both sides agree on many issues. For example, expanding solar paneling programs had the strongest bipartisan support, with 89% of respondents saying they would support such growth.
Respondents from both sides of the aisle proved to be strongly in favor of expanding wind turbine farms. These unified positive perspectives on renewable energy sources are contributing to the industry’s rapid growth.
Here in Virginia, we have active support for solar and renewable energy from both Republican and Democrat Senators and Delegates. They work together for the good of the Commonwealth, because renewable energy means great jobs, a robust economy, an attractive business climate and better – and less expensive – choices for ratepayers.