Wind power crossed the 75 gigawatt (GW) installed capacity threshold this summer, meaning there’s now enough wind power in the U.S. to supply electricity for 20 million homes. As AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan recently stated in his Huffington Post column, “sometimes the more you know about something, the more you like it. And that’s the case for wind energy.”
That really seems to be true when looking across findings from the following polls. Here are the top seven things you need to know about each one. You can thank me later, as I saved you time by picking out the best parts from each:
1.Wind energy’s rapidly grown since 2008, more than tripling from over 25,000 megawatts (MW) in 2008 to 75,000 MW installed capacity today. That’s created tremendous economic benefits. Just last year, building wind farms attracted over $14 billion of private investment to the U.S. economy, and American wind power owns the fastest growing job in the country. That’s probably why 70 percent of registered voters nationally have a favorable impression of wind energy, according to a new mixed-question omnibus poll. But that’s just the start, keep scrolling for even better results.
2. Iowa obtained nearly one-third, 31 percent, of its electricity from wind energy last year. And Iowa’s Third District ranks in the top 20 U.S. Congressional districts for the most wind capacity, a new drought-resistant cash crop for the state’s farmers. The Third District also happens to be the home to the tallest operating U.S. wind turbine in the country. All of this simply means, out of the more than $11 billion in capital investment that wind power has attracted to local economies in Iowa so far, the Third District has seen some great benefits. That’s why it’s not surprising that a recent poll found 91 percent of respondents in that District support wind energy.
3. Michigan is a wind manufacturing heavyweight. 26 factories employ well-paid workers and build wind turbine parts and supplies, which are delivered to U.S. wind farms across the region. Apparently Michigan voters have noticed that the added benefit of growing wind power in the U.S. means good news for the Michigan economy. A poll released by American Wind Action just last week finds support for wind among 81 percent of Michigan’s Tenth Congressional District. That includes broad support across party lines, with at least three-quarters of Republicans, Independents and Democrats having a favorable impression of wind.
4. Then there’s Texas. The undisputed installed wind capacity leader in the U.S. with 17,911 MW. Texas is making more of its own energy right at home as wind supplies 10 percent of the state’s electricity needs. Wind also supports 24,000 jobs there. A recent poll by the Texas Clean Energy Coalition, a nonpartisan group that supports both natural gas and renewable energy,found 85 percent of registered Texas voters, including 78 percent of Republicans, support increasing clean energy like wind power.
5. Similar favorable polling data of young millennials, including young conservative millennials, also show strong support for wind. A poll from the group Young Conservatives for Energy Reform shows 80 percent of millennials want to see the next president get serious about converting to renewable energy, including wind power.
6. All of this data continues support strong polling results found elsewhere this year. Lazard, a highly reputable financial advisory and asset management firm, found bipartisan support for clean energy policies has increased among U.S. voters, with 91 percent of likely voters and over 80 percent of self-described conservatives supporting wind energy growth. According to North American Windpower, 70 percent of likely voters in 2016 support legislation that requires energy companies to generate 15 percent of their power from alternative energy sources over the next several years, up from 60 percent of voters in 2012.
7. The results from Lazard’s survey were also backed up by another 2016 poll by Gallup conducted in early March. That poll found rising support as 73 percent of Americans now say the U.S. should develop more wind and solar power, up five points from 2011, and 70 percent now say we should put even greater emphasis on developing these sources.
As we head into the final months of the 2016 election, it’s important to raise your voice about your support for wind power to the candidates asking for your vote, or even your elected officials in office. It’s the work they do once they return to Washington, D.C. or your state capitol that helps keep American wind power growing and progressing for years to come.