RALEIGH — A study by a conservative group has found that North Carolina voters support the growth of renewable energy.
The group, Conservatives for Clean Energy, is a Raleigh-based organization that educates the public on the economic benefits of renewable energy in North Carolina and Virginia.
In the study, the organization found that more than 80 percent of North Carolina voters in the last three years would be more likely to support candidates who worked toward clean energy options, including wind, solar and waste to energy technologies.
Pollsters with Strategic Partners Solutions LLC interviewed 600 registered voters in North Carolina during two evenings at the end of February. About 32 percent of the randomly survey respondents identified as Republican, and 43 percent identified as Democratic.
The study also found that in 2017 the first- and second-most perceived reasons for electricity rate increases were higher profits and a lack of competition, at 38.8 and 24.7 percent, respectively. The cost of renewable mandates was cited as the No. 1 reason by only about 10 percent of the participants.
In 2017, about 87 percent of respondents believed that utilities have a monopoly and that consumers have few options.
North Carolina ranks second in the nation for solar energy capacity, but the state ranked fifth in 2016 in development of new solar projects, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.