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Public want preference for renewables;
1 September 1996
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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