- As Power Grid Debate Continues, Majority of Americans Agree Coal, Nuclear Deserve Government Support
June 13, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the debate continues over potential government action to prevent further retirements of coal and nuclear power plants, a new poll conducted by Morning Consult for the National Mining Association (NMA) found that most Americans – 55 percent – believe the U.S. government should support coal and nuclear power plants, given their ability to provide electricity 24/7, and their utilization of fuel that can be stored on-site in the event of an emergency. Just 20 percent of voters oppose action to support coal and nuclear (24 percent had no opinion or did not know).
“Americans value reliability and, when it comes to keeping the lights on, they want to preserve all of our options,” said Hal Quinn, NMA president and CEO. “We shouldn’t be faced with a false choice of either / or when it comes to the fuels that power our grid. Reliability and resiliency depend on fuel diversity.”
The poll also found that a strong 73 percent of Americans still believe in an all-of-the-above energy strategy, that includes, coal, natural gas, nuclear power and renewables.
While critics of potential action from the administration argue in favor of a free energy market – and highlight potential costs to consumers of any intervention – they conveniently omit that the market has long been influenced by significant subsidies for other fuels coupled with former policies designed to actively work against coal. In 2016 alone, taxpayers supported an estimated $11.4 billion for renewable energy subsidies. That means that 63 percent of taxpayer-funded subsidies supported sources that produced only 12 percent of U.S. energy. At the same time, coal continues to bring value to consumers with energy analysts estimating that Americans save an estimated $114 billion a year due to the diversified electricity supply portfolio anchored by affordable, reliable coal and nuclear baseload generation.
The poll was conducted from June 7-11, 2018, of 2,201 adults nationwide carrying a margin of error of +/- 2 percent.