ON MARCH 26, JUST BEFORE IT OPENED THE STATE'S electricity market at midnight on the 31st, the California Public Utilities Commission announced new interim rules to protect consumers, plus this...
AMERICAN SUPPORT FOR FEDERAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs is increasing. Conversely, American support of nuclear power and fossil fuels is on the decline.
That's according to a recent survey, America Speaks Out on Energy: A Survey of Federal Energy Funding Priorities, conducted by the Sustainable Energy Coalition.
A thousand registered voters were asked about federal energy budget issues. They were told Congress is making decisions on the federal budget for the next fiscal year for five energy research and development programs: renewable energy; nuclear power; technologies to improve energy efficiency and conservation; fossil fuels; and natural gas. Participants were asked which programs should receive the highest priority for funding in the Department of Energy's R&D budget, and which of the programs should have budgets cut.
Renewable energy programs received the most support for R&D funding -- 32 percent of those surveyed back such initiatives. Energy efficiency and conservation followed at 28 percent, for a two-category combined total of 60 percent.
By comparison, only 10 percent chose natural gas as their first priority for federal funding, followed by fossil fuels, at 8 percent, and nuclear power, at 6 percent. About 16 percent of those polled didn't select one of the offered responses. Nearly three-fourths of those who expressed a preference among the choices picked either DOE's renewable energy or energy efficiency R&D programs.
Compared with a 1996 survey of 1,200 registered voters, these results indicate a greater level of support for renewable programs. In 1996, two-thirds of those with a preference picked either the DOE's renewable energy or energy efficiency R&D programs. Similar levels of support were found in surveys conducted in 1994 and 1995.
In the most recent survey, nearly a third of respondents selected nuclear power and almost a quarter selected fossil fuels as the first R&D program that should be cut, meaning 54 percent support such cuts. A fourth of the voters didn't express a preference among the choices. Therefore, some 74 percent of respondents would recommend cutting funding for either nuclear power or fossil fuel programs. In the November 1996 survey, only 69 percent of respondents chose nuclear power or fossil fuels as their top priorities for budget cuts.
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