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For the second time, an innovative utility public opinion poll suggests renewables such as wind and solar are given high preference. The "deliberative poll" was conducted among 253 participants at a town meeting on August 9-10 in Abilene, Texas, some 150 miles west of Dallas, by West Texas Utilities Co (WTU). The first such poll on renewables was also by a subsidiary of Central and South West Corp, Central Power & Light Co. (Windpower Monthly, July 1996). In the latest survey, wind and solar were preferred by 35%, the highest rating. The other options discussed -- importing power from elsewhere in the US and a new fossil fuel generating plant -- were far less popular. In fact, preference for renewables was such that when customers' first and second preferences were added together, 65% wanted renewables, followed by 61% who wanted efficiency. Customers also said they would pay an extra $7.83 on average for renewables. Furthermore, a proposed resource mix to avoid dependence on one source rated at 9.2 out of 10 (extremely important); reducing pollution rated at 8.9; 85% of those surveyed preferred plants with higher construction costs but predictable power costs over those with low construction costs and unpredictable power costs; on the 1-10 scale, technologies such as wind and solar rated 8.8 while those that added extra environmental protection were given 8.3. A third deliberative poll was to be used in Shreveport, Louisiana, on August 23-25.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol