By Jennifer Mitchell
MPBN news story
ORONO, Maine — More than half of Mainers surveyed say they would be willing to pay extra in their electricity bills to support more efficient and/or cleaner fuel development.
The University of Maine study sampled a random group of more than 400 Mainers. Each respondent on the mail-in survey was asked whether they would support energy efficiency efforts. They were also randomly shown one of four renewable energy development scenarios to support: hydroelectric, wind power, tidal power, or deep water offshore wind.
“What we found was that people are in general supportive.” says Caroline Noblet, an assistant professor at the University of Maine School of Economics. “So we had 52% of our respondents say that they would agree to that energy scenario where we invest in renewable energy or energy efficiency.”
Noblet says the results didn’t vary much by which type of renewable energy the respondent saw. People were willing to accept an average of $6.76 per month on top of their normal power bills, and they said they’d like to see 56% of that fee go toward efficiency programs, with 44% going to investment in the renewable energy source listed on their survey.
Noblet says the team tried to get a sample that matched the state’s demographics in the last census, however the actual respondents were more predominantly male, slightly older than the mean, and of significantly higher income.
The study was conducted as part of Maine Sustainability Solutions Initiative, a program of the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation to Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine.