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A tricky transition

Our new report on the reputation of the US energy sector reveals divisions in people’s attitudes to clean energy.

From gun rights to abortion rights, Americans disagree about many issues. 

The latest fault line? How the country should make the switch to clean energy.

That’s one of the key conclusions of our latest report on the US energy sector.

How energy companies address the schism may have ramifications for years to come.

A snapshot of the reputation of the sector’s biggest companies, our report includes the answers to three political questions we asked survey respondents this year.

  • Do you support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy?
  • What is your opinion on the current US Administration’s plan to drive a transition towards using renewable energy sources (better known as the Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment program)?
  • What are your concerns, if any, about the plan to drive the transition to clean energy?

And here’s the thing.

While most Americans support the transition to clean energy – including almost two-thirds of those who identify as Republican – Democrats and Republicans don’t see eye-to-eye on President Biden’s plan to wean America off fossil fuels.

About three-quarters of respondents (73%) support the clean energy transition, including 87% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans.

But while 88% of Democrats who are aware of the Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment program support it, only 51% of Republicans who are aware of it do.

Our report reveals other fault lines, too.

Despite their strong support for the EIR program, Democrats are divided on its goals.

While 20% of Democrats say it’s too ambitious, the same number say it’s not ambitious enough. 

And despite broad awareness of the plan – 70% of Americans have heard of it – a closer look at the data reveals a gender divide. 

While 84% of men are aware of the EIR program, only 56% of women are.

For US energy companies, the upshot of these schisms is clear.

First, they should become proactive facilitators of the clean energy transition and the EIR program by participating more in the public debate and making the conversation relevant to their customers.

They also have an important role in helping to educate the American public about the pros and cons of the program – in an apolitical manner – and facilitating better understanding and acceptance of it.

 Clear, constructive communication will be key – and the stakes couldn’t be much higher.

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