Donald Trump said some nasty things about clean energy during the campaign. He declared that wind and solar is “not working [at] large-scale.” He said solar and wind are “very, very expensive,” and that wind power “only works when it’s windy” (statements that contain varying degrees of Trumpian exaggeration and untruthfulness).
His messages may have appealed to a hard-core who thinks America should run only on coal, oil, and gas (these people tend to own coal, oil, and gas companies), but they may have only got him so far. A new survey from the Conservative Energy Network finds Trump supporters are actually quite enthusiastic about clean energy, and want to see more of it.
Asked whether they “support or oppose taking action to accelerate the development and use of clean energy,” 75% of Trump supporters say they “strongly” or “somewhat” support it. More than 60% say there should be “more emphasis” on solar power (compared to 17% who say there should be less). 52% want more emphasis on wind power (22% want less). In fact, Trump supporters want more emphasis on renewables in greater numbers than those who say the same about coal: only 38% want more emphasis on that. The poll, based on 1,000 interviews, comes from Republican survey firm Public Opinion Strategies.
For this and other reasons, worrying about the future growth of renewables may be unnecessary. First, solar and wind are much less dependent on government support than they used to be. Second, the main federal support for the industry was reaffirmed in Congress only last December, and involved key Republicans, like Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. And, third, renewables are increasingly popular across the spectrum. More than three-quarters of Americans overall–including 50% of “very conservative” voters–want to see “more emphasis” on solar, for instance.
Trump may do many things over the next four years, but killing renewable energy probably, hopefully, won’t be one of them.