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Indiana Survey on Energy Reveals Hoosiers Want Reliable, Low-cost and Abundant Energy Sources

July 10, 2014

State NewsFindings from a recent random-sample survey conducted in Ft. Wayne, Indianapolis, and South Bend revealed some “eye-opening” results about how Hoosiers think about energy.
The survey, sponsored by the Indiana Coal Council, asked more than 400 randomly selected Hoosiers some hard-hitting questions about their preference of energy sources, and their perceptions of each.
“And we didn’t hold back on the tough questions about coal, either,” said Bruce Stevens, president of the coal council. “The results were eye-opening. The survey revealed some interesting perceptions and preferences, and some lessons.”
When choosing a source for electricity, 81 percent of respondents reported that reliability was the most important factor for them, closely followed by 73 percent of respondents who stated low price and affordability are significant considerations when choosing an energy source. Additionally, 72 percent of respondents said they want an energy source that is abundantly available, and 44 percent felt that their preferred energy source needed to be domestic. Surprisingly, only 37 percent of those surveyed felt environmental friendliness of the energy source to be a very important attribute.
“Our interpretation of that data point is that most people do want to be good stewards of the environment, but believe we can get there collectively without throwing away our reliable, existing sources today,” said Stevens.
The study also polled individuals’ perceptions about various energy sources, such as natural gas, nuclear, wind, solar and coal. While 33 percent of respondents viewed natural gas as “clean,” 44 percent expressed concerns about the risk of fluctuating prices associated with natural gas–such as those experienced on the East Coast this past winter during the Polar Vortex. When it comes to nuclear energy, 67 percent of respondents labeled it as “dangerous.”
In regard to wind, 49 percent of survey participants viewed it as “clean,” but 30 percent viewed it as an inconsistent energy source. Likewise, solar was also perceived as “clean,” (51 percent), yet collectively 87 percent see wind and solar energy as a futuristic energy source, but are not reliable today.
Of those surveyed, 46 percent indicated that coal meets Hoosiers’ top preferences when it comes to being reliable, abundant, and affordable. However, 71 percent also viewed coal as “dirty.”
“That’s an antiquated image dating back 60 years,” said Stevens. “We, as an industry, have to address that outdated view. Since 1970, regulated emissions from coal-fired electricity have been reduced by nearly 90 percent while electricity from coal has increased 163%. This means pound per pound coal burns cleaner in our power plants today than your backyard fire pit.
The survey was made up of 401 fully completed questionnaires, administered by an independent pollster, and resulted in a statistical accuracy of +/- 5 percent margin of error, with a 95-percent confidence rating.
Respondents were made up primarily of adults between the ages of 31 to 49 (66.8 percent), with 55 percent female. Additionally, 40 percent of respondents claimed a “conservative” political status, and 40 percent claimed an “independent” political status.
The Indiana Coal Council, Inc., is a trade association for the coal industry in Indiana. The Indiana Coal Council serves as the focal point for the industry with government, business, community and other organizations interested in Indiana’s coal industry.

One Response to “ Indiana Survey on Energy Reveals Hoosiers Want Reliable, Low-cost and Abundant Energy Sources ”

  1. namlizzie on July 11, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Wind power will do wonders.