Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Power Government United States Science

Two-Thirds of Americans Give Priority To Developing Alternative Energy Over Fossil Fuels ( 333

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Pew Research Center: A new Pew Research Center survey finds that 65% of Americans give priority to developing alternative energy sources, compared with 27% who would emphasize expanded production of fossil fuel sources. Support for concentrating on alternative energy is up slightly since December 2014. At that time, 60% said developing alternative energy sources was the more important priority. There continue to be wide political differences on energy priorities. While a 2016 Pew Research Center survey found large majorities of Democrats and Republicans supported expanding both wind and solar energy, the new survey shows that Democrats remain far more likely than Republicans to stress that developing alternative energy should take priority over developing fossil fuel sources. About eight-in-ten (81%) Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party favor developing alternative sources instead of expanding production from fossil fuel sources. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are closely divided: 45% say the more important priority should be developing alternative sources, while 44% say expanding production of oil, coal and natural gas should be given more priority. There also are differences in public priorities about energy by age. Americans under the age of 50 are especially likely to support alternative energy sources over expanding fossil fuels. About seven-in-ten (73%) of those ages 18 to 49 say developing alternative sources of energy should be the more important priority, while 22% say expanding production of fossil fuels should be the more important priority. Older adults are more divided in their views, though they also give more priority to alternatives. Among those 50 and older, 55% say alternative energy development is more important, while 34% say it's more important to expand production of fossil fuel energy sources.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Two-Thirds of Americans Give Priority To Developing Alternative Energy Over Fossil Fuels

Comments Filter:
  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Monday January 23, 2017 @08:08PM (#53725363) Homepage
    Contrast this with the incoming administration which wants to favor fossil fuels above pretty much all else [], [].
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        I'll bet you're right there saying that the US should break from middle eastern oil supplies tho. What do you think his policy is going to do? That's right, break the ME stranglehold on supply and distribution. That's good in my book. That only way that things are going to be fixed in that region is if their one-trick source which enables them to have a stranglehold on policy making is broken. Round that out that it will put pressure on them to "modernize" and grant rights to the other half of their

        • by Layzej ( 1976930 ) on Monday January 23, 2017 @10:18PM (#53726047)

          Saudi Arabia is modernizing their energy sector. [] Three years ago, Saudi Arabia announced a goal of building, by 2032, 41 gigawatts of solar capacity, slightly more than the world leader, Germany, has today. According to one estimate, that would be enough to meet about 20 percent of the kingdom’s projected electricity needs

          Meanwhile USA is investing in ... Coal? This while Solar is closing in on price parity with the likes of coal [] — with full-cycle, unsubsidized costs of about 13 cents per kilowatthour, versus 12 cents for advanced coal plants

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            So how's that environmentalism and nimbyism working in the US for you then? You know the same people who protest against offshore windfarms or nuclear power plants, or hydroelectric. Right. Solar is getting no where near to the price of coal. We're still paying 0.528kWh for solar here in Ontario, the price we were paying for coal when the last plant shut down was 0.043kWh.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              Yeah, but you've got a lot of solar energy production now, and no coal. That's a policy success.

              And if the high price makes you conserve energy like a European, so much the better.

              Plus there are fun ways of staying warm in the Great White North.

            • by Layzej ( 1976930 )

              We're still paying 0.528kWh for solar here in Ontario

              That's not market value. That a legislated price from five years ago. It's now down to about 35 c/kWh and dropping. [] Even at this price it is quite lucrative for anyone considering rooftop solar because people are making a profit at just 13 c/kWh.

              • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

                That's the pricing for microfit. Just a FYI

                http://fit.powerauthority.on.c... [] Then check the normalized price across the province, it works out to being around 0.528 still. Because if you're a native, you get an extra payment premium on top from the province. Which is around $1.50kWh, across nearly all solar or wind projects. Those prices listed above are the normalized rates for anyone else. I'm talking about the actual and total overall cost.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          break the ME stranglehold on supply and distribution

          Not so much considering who owns most of the stock on those oil companies. Profits are still going to the middle east apart from some of the smaller shale companies (that's if there's any left after the Saudis started a price war).

        • by gtall ( 79522 )

          The ME has already been broken of their stranglehold. Oil prices have been halved and they didn't do that out of concern for Americans. There were several reasons, one of which is alternative (green) energy, which el Presidente Tweety opposes. Another is frakking in the U.S. and a few other countries, no Tweety needed there. Another is oil exporters coming back on-line after wars and official stupidity, no Tweety needed there.

          New Headline: Tweety claims his policies broke ME stranglehold on oil. Please read

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sit1963nz ( 934837 )
      Well you have to understand, when it comes to voters Franklin has more votes than Grant who has more votes than Jackson who has more votes than Hamilton who has more votes than Lincoln who has more votes than Washington who has more votes than the people who did not contribute to election funds sufficiently for anyone (Read Trump) to care. You have to understand there are REAL Americans (the wealthy) and there are american voters (those that can be exploited by the wealthy)
    • Yup. The petro-oligarchs are in charge, and the 2/3 of the peasants can go fuck themselves.
    • I guess you didn't watch the video you linked to? Maybe you just figured that since he's a jackass (true), whatever position you think is wrong, that must be what he said?

      Here's what he said in the video you linked to:

      "We'll get the bureaucracy out of the way of innovation so that we can pursue all forms of energy. This includes *renewable* energies and the technologies of the future. it *does* include nuclear and wind and solar, but not to the exclusion of other forms of energy."
      (Emphasis his]

      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        I guess this explains his picks for EPA administrator and the other oil patch connections in his cabinet? You really that stupid to believe anything that man says?

    • Fossil fuels and alternative energy are rather passe. What we really need is ambient, decentralized energy solutions.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        That's where we are heading for a lot of devices. The term is "energy harvesting". Calculators with little PV panels have done it for decades, but now we are also seeing more complex equipment getting low power enough to take advantage of it.

        Energy sources include light, heat, RF, and vibration.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by BradMajors ( 995624 )

      Nope. Trump's plan is to treat all sources of energy equally.

    • The cheaper energy is, the faster R&D goes. Movement to renewable energy is going to occur regardless, but a thriving economy based on cheaper energy now means we get to a great alternative energy future even sooner.

      The previous administration was just helping subsidize solar for rich people. That's nice and all but I want electric cars for everyone, not just the 1% or wannabes.

  • Depends who pays (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday January 23, 2017 @08:09PM (#53725367)

    The majority of Americans will support anything as long as someone else pays for it. If you ask them if they are willing to pay an extra 5 cents per gallon of gas to pay for alternative energy, of course they will say no.

    • Re:Depends who pays (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Monday January 23, 2017 @08:14PM (#53725411) Homepage
      Luckily for them, alternative energy sources and low CO2 energy sources like natural gas are much cheaper now than they were previously. Solar is replacing almost all the retiring coal in Texas and this is for primarily economic rather than environmental reasons []. Moreover, the people who are unhappy about paying more at the pump and on their monthly electric bill don't realize that they are really paying a lot more for coal and oil in terms of pollution caused and other issues that aren't directly in the price. Getting them to understand that last bit though seems hard.
      • Great, so what you're saying is we can lay back and let the market take care of this? If it truly is a cheaper and/or more reliable energy source, then there's nothing to even talk about, competition will take us there in no time.
        • No; that's misleading at a fundamental level: there are in many circumstances market advantages. That doesn't mean that the changes will happen quickly enough to avoid serious damage. The timing here is extremely critical, and keeping running older fossil fuel plants and putting out massive amounts of CO2 will screw us over even if the slow market progression would make us carbon neutral in 2050.
      • Solar, wind, hydro, even nuclear ... all work for offices, factories and homes. But when it comes to transportation sector, we are too dependent on fossil fuels. Except for electric trains, that is. Cars and trucks run on diesel or gasoline. Ships on furnace oil or low grade diesel. Airplanes run on kerosene.

        Just to given an example. Iceland has the world's largest geothermal sources currently being exploited. Electricity is so cheap 15% of world's Aluminum is produced there. Aluminum can be only produced

        • Some types of transportation are going to stay dependent on fossil fuels for the time being, because there's no good alternative. You're not going to power commercial or military aircraft with batteries or solar panels. Maybe someday ships can be powered by giant batteries, but I'm not so sure that's a great idea for marine vehicles, given their aquatic environment. And obviously, we're not going back to wind-power.

          I think it's perfectly reasonable to start with the low-hanging fruit, which is converting

      • I assume you meant to say "lower" and not "low". Natural gas is better than coal, no doubt, but when coupled with all the methane that leaks before we get it, its still a greenhouse gas problem.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      To be fair on those affected by the resulting pollution, fuel prices should more than double. That people could care or complain about a measly 1 cent per litre (as you suggest) beggars belief.

      • That people could care or complain about a measly 1 cent per litre (as you suggest) beggars belief.

        It is an emotional thing. Americans view cheap gas as a birthright, and see any intrusion on that right as a threat to the freedom of the open road. Taxing baby formula is okay, but not gasoline. Telling an American that their gas prices should be higher is like telling a German that there should be a speed limit on the autobahn, or telling a Brit that the pubs should be closed on Sunday.

        • It's also an economic thing. Increased gas prices directly correlate with an increase in the price of food and other goods. Also, daily commutes are not exactly something most people can opt out of. And not everyone is fortunate enough to make six-figure-plus salaries that can largely ignore those "minor" cost-of-living increases.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      They have kind of woken up to the fact that if you own underwater front property, easy access to fossil fuels is a bad idea and quite wealthy people live and own in the underwater front zones across the globe, many own in multiple locations. What the sheep want is arbitrary, the eat what they are given and they are shorn regularly, if you can not buy it, you can not buy it (like its going to be a matter of choice, the infernal combustion engine will be banned from city centres globally).

      So renewable for do

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fred6666 ( 4718031 )

      The majority of Americans will also support anything as long as someone else suffers from the consequence of their pollution. Actually, they suffer too but a large part is exported to other countries so they don't care as much as they should. That's why we need the government to set limits (cap and trade) or taxes to change habits of selfish people who would rather save 5/gallon even if it meant polluting 10x more.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      As will everybody else in the world. And that is why politicians should not always follow the popular ideas. It is also why subsidizing is not always a bad idea.
      Remember when things where done, not because they were easy, but because they were hard?

      What you need is leaders. What you have now are managers. (Clinton would have been a manager as well)

  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Monday January 23, 2017 @08:13PM (#53725391) Homepage Journal

    How much business sense does it make to invest in cheaper and cleaner energy instead of expensive tax-subsidized pollution-heavy energy that can't exist without taxpayer subsidized mining leases on public lands and non-accounting of pollution costs?

    I mean Big Government demands we do the worst possible most expensive fossil fuel version!

    If we don't Fill The Swamp with massive tax subsidies for old Soviet-style fossil fuels, we might become independent of the Middle East!

    And then what excuse will we have to start foreign wars to make billionaires richer at the cost of American blood and treasure?

    • Nice rant, you almost make it sound like reasonable alternatives exist for a majority of our fossil fuel uses. Tell me, what energy source to power airplanes is just around the corner so we can stop investing in extracting fossil fuels?

      And despite what you think, electric cars are just not viable yet for a significant part of the population. Maybe if you live and drive all the time in warm California, but the rest of the country is damn cold. The most pretentious ones yet will do a short road trip in
  • by justcauseisjustthat ( 1150803 ) on Monday January 23, 2017 @08:22PM (#53725459)
    I'd put a $1 billion into Polywell tech, supercharge that research.
  • Stop it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23, 2017 @08:33PM (#53725551)

    Face it, we lost.

    The conservative coalition in power (alt-right, "christian", etc.) believes they have been subject to abuse at the hands of the "elite". They are acting like a cornered animal, lashing out at whatever the perceived injustices done to them by the liberal AND conservative elite. We told them their life-long, deeply held beliefs were "out of the mainstream", wrong, and hurtful. They came back and won, but they are still wounded.

    Free market conservatives, clean energy conservatives, and basically anyone who is conservative based on pragmatism and principle are sitting in the back of the bus with the rest of us. No matter how many "but the majority of people say"... articles you publish, if it flows contrary to the narrative of the Ruling Powers, will be marginalized, ridiculed, and probably create a backlash against the very thing

    Listen to Sean Spicer (Press Sec.) today.

    You will hear the cries of victimhood and ego that we will hear for the next 180-360 days as the President & team settle into their roles. They sincerely don't know why we don't love them (and, by extension, America). My advice (not that I think anyone is actually going to take it), is to stop trying to influence the administration with these types of "facts" and polls. Instead, find a way to embrace their actual policies but SHINE A LIGHT on their impacts.

    Example (I'm not a headline writer, but you'll get the drift).

    Instead of saying the "Carrier Deal Was A Failure". Tell the whole truth. "Carrier deal saves 700 jobs, cost tax payers 3M, and 800 people are still going to mexico."
    Instead of saying "Trump's Crowds were Smaller than Obama", Estimate the size of Trump's crowd, compare the weather, tell me how technology has changed viewership, and compare to the past 20 years of inaugurations.

    Stop trying to "Crystallize" the narrative. It's hurting you. Try to report contextual facts, don't just tell us what we should "believe", even if you want to make a statement. BTW - this is why most conservatives hate you. They don't want to be told what to do, think or believe -- even if it is "true".

    I do believe the Media will figure this out. It's going to take a while before they learn to report in such a way that speaks to all America. But they will, we'll survive, and just like Trump is rolling back Obama's agenda we'll have a chance at some point to re-enact some parts of policy that, as the article say, most "Americans" agree with.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Orgasmatron ( 8103 )

      I disagree. I think the left has been too peaceful, too moderate, and too open. If they want to win in 2020, they need to get to work now on being more violent, more extreme and more insular. (2018 is a write-off, and it would be even if they were organized properly today.)

      Everyone knows that Hillary's primary win was a sham. The voters wanted Bernie, the Communist, not Hillary, the crook. But Hillary is powerless now, and Bernie probably won't run again. They need to be searching, and searching now,

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday January 23, 2017 @08:45PM (#53725625) Journal

    Solar power is showing a nice pattern of gradual gains and is becoming quite competitive with fossil fuel. As much as conservatives complained about the bungling of Solyndra, the govt's general investment in multiple solar companies sparked the industry and made solar cheaper.

    China's gov't jumped into the field also, creating a kind of solar "space race", which cranked up the rate of R&D. It's a good "fight". (China was later caught under-pricing their solar products to drive out foreign competitors, but that's another story. I took a nasty stock hit due to that.)

    Thus, even though Solyndra was a lost battle, it seems Obama won the solar war. Over-focusing on the failures has made many conservatives miss the bigger picture.

    Solyndra was a really cool idea: paint the roof white and use regularly spaced solar-collecting tubes. It was especially useful for low sun angles, resulting in fairly even power throughout all seasons . It just didn't pan out because flat panels eventually got fairly cheap due to flat panel R&D such that flat panel INefficiency at low sun angles mattered less.

  • A new Pew Research Center survey finds that 65% of Americans give priority to developing alternative energy sources, compared with 27% who would emphasize expanded production of fossil fuel sources.

    The government has little to do with either.

    It certainly can't speed up "developing alternative energy sources".

    And the only thing it can do with fossil fuel sources is to step out of the way and let companies do what they want to do anyway.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday January 23, 2017 @08:58PM (#53725703)

    ... to fossil fuels. Like nuclear. I'm OK with this.

  • ... how many have noticed that there are few "polls" anymore?

  • This largely depends on how the survey was worded. I am all for developing alternative energy sources, but I am also realistic about how feasible and financially viable it is. Right now there are a few criteria that need to be met for US power needs:

    1. The power must be economically competitive with existing sources. Current solar PV arrays are about on par with natural gas turbines.
    2. Power available as it is needed 24/7/365. This is the difficulty that comes with solar PV, wind etc.

    If tomorrow someo

    • This largely depends on how the survey was worded. I am all for developing alternative energy sources, but I am also realistic about how feasible and financially viable it is. Right now there are a few criteria that need to be met for US power needs:

      1. The power must be economically competitive with existing sources. Current solar PV arrays are about on par with natural gas turbines.
      2. Power available as it is needed 24/7/365. This is the difficulty that comes with solar PV, wind etc.

      If tomorrow someone perfects the ultra high capacity liquid metal battery [] or some other way to efficiently store massive amounts of energy efficiently then solar and wind and other alternative power sources become grid wide viable options for baseline generation. As it is, no renewable power source works reliably when the sun goes down/wind randomly stops blowing. I have over 5kW of solar panels myself, because it made financial sense and paid for it'self within about 10 years.

      Rather than spend $billions on the US war machine to ensure the reliable supply of oil to the country, the US government should be subsidizing the production of batteries to store solar energy. Batteries are the single biggest expense in providing a reliable supply of energy 24 hours a day. There is plenty of space in the desert to put up the solar arrays, on top of houses, factories, car parks. Solar panels are cheap now. Just need batteries to make it all work.
      You already have quality electric cars which

  • Yeah, all these people seem to think such things will happen just by wishful thinking.
  • Or fracking operation? Coal power plant? Of course not, especially if you can get your lights on and your care cruising on the highway through other means. You would rather have a thousands birds ground by wind turbines per day than get lung cancer from breathing radioactive coal smog.

    So why are these things next to your home? Of course, because government has forced you and only the Standing Rock tribe had the cojones to call their bullshit. Fossil fuel industry only still exists because we are spineless.

  • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @12:11AM (#53726441)
    Has anybody noticed that North-Central Oklahoma is averaging a couple (minor) earthquakes per day since large scale hydraulic fracture extraction (a.k.a., "fracking") started? That region of the US used to be seismically stable - rock solid, one might say.

    I wonder if fracking will bring enough money into the region to pay for the damages which will be caused by the major earthquake which is now foreseeably coming their way?

  • ... lots of present stuff, like the keyboard I'm typing on, laptop cases, tablets, chairs, clothes etc?

    • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

      While we're talking about the exact same dinosaur squeezings, making petroleum into durable goods makes it a raw material, not fuel. You can believe in fossil "fuel" as a material while wanting to get away from burning it. It might even be because you want to make more stuff out of it instead of burning it.

  • only a small fraction of those care enough to vote.
  • If you look at the questions and breakdown, Republicans support expanding development of all sources of energy, Democrats only want to expand renewables. Except nuclear, about which both sides are tepid.
  • We are not a nation ruled by majority.

    We are a nation of many different facts.

    This is fake news

    This is true news.

    At present, 100 percent of Americans want fossil fuel only solutions, go ask Wyoming politicians.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay