Arizonans overwhelmingly embrace the idea of growing the state’s energy efficiency and renewable energy resources and believe clean energy is important to Arizona jobs and the economy, according to a new statewide poll.

Arizonans support for cleaner energy comes at a time when new energy technologies – such as solar, electric vehicles and energy efficiency devices – are rapidly being developed, which is driving down costs and making it more affordable for Arizonans to take advantage of the benefits.

According to the statewide survey, nearly 90 percent of likely Arizona voters believe the growth and use of renewable energy, such as solar and wind, should be a priority for the state. Eight-in-10 say it’s important to grow Arizona’s own energy resources, versus importing fossil fuels like natural gas and oil.

The wide-ranging poll, which was directed by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and conducted by Washington, D.C.-based WPA Intelligence, a conservative pollster, tested likely voter opinions on topics including renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, the Navajo Generating Station and climate change.

Additional key findings include:

Renewable Energy

·    Eight-in-ten (82 percent) think it is important for Arizona to promote the growth of its own clean energy sources, such as wind and solar power, versus importing fossil fuels like natural gas and oil.

Energy Efficiency

·    Nearly seven-in-ten (68 percent) likely voters in Arizona agree that regulations applied to utility providers, such as Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, UNS Energy Corporation, or Salt River Project should be increased to ensure they are offering energy efficiency to all their customers.

Electric Vehicles

·    A majority (57%) support an investment from our utility providers for electric vehicle charging infrastructure to be developed in underserved communities, such as highway corridors or rural areas, or in areas where the private sector is unlikely to serve or invest.

Navajo Generating Station

·    More than eight-in-ten (83%) think it is important for the owners of the Navajo Generating Station to provide financial assistance and support such as job training to communities impacted by the closing of the plant.

Climate Change

·    A majority of Arizonans (64%) agree that if the federal government fails to address the issue of climate change and the state or local government has a responsibility to address the problem.

While the above offers a glimpse into the study’s findings, the survey results including political party breakdown, can be found at www.arizonapirgedfund.org

The bottom line is this: From encouraging development, to increased jobs and ultimately reducing costs in utility bills, Arizonans across the political spectrum are supportive of solutions that will result in a greater use of energy efficiency and renewable energy resources.

Diane E. Brown is the Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. The Arizona PIRG Education Fund conducts research and education on issues in the public interest

(4) comments

Informed Consent

Do not confuse renewable clean energy with the burning of biomass, which is trying to sneak in under this new awareness. All surveys are subject to how a question is asked. If the survey would ask "do you favor a renewable energy that will use enormous amounts of water from your aquifer, release more CO2 than natural gas and be subsidized by the electric rate payers, then you might get a more accurate answer. A survey is only as accurate as the general knowledge of the people responding to the questions. Thanks to the FS and the environmental groups we have just embarked on the road to hell, literally draining our aquifers with 5 projected biomass plants, fouling our air with the stored radiation caught up in our forests and forest soils from the atomic bomb testing for the 1950's and 60's( We are Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Counties) and increasing the death rate for heart, lung, brain and cancer patients. All this subsidized by you and me. Changing the out dated log export laws was just too abhorrent to them.

ronzim

Well, carbon is carbon whether found in coal, oil, gas or biomass fuels. For that reason I oppose biomass. Neither am I impressed with the fact that in the cultivation process, biomass plants remove about as much carbon from the atmosphere as their later burning creates. Clearly, we could grow the plants and utilize their CO2 cleansing capacities and then just skip the fuel process which regenerates the CO2 previously saved. Every electricity generating technology which involves a steam turbine uses water in varying amounts for cooling. In an important scientific paper published in 'Environmental Resources Letters', four scholars have assessed the amount of water used in various processes. Here are the results for water consumption for steam turbine technologies(expressed as a factor):
COOLING TOWERS: coal=.722; nuclear=.757; oil/gas=.768; biomass=.581; geothermal=.736; solar=.825.
ONCE-THROUGH FRESHWATER(OTF): coal=.263; nuclear=.421; oil/gas=.305; biomass=.315; geothermal=.315; solar=n/a.
COOLING PONDS: coal=.573; nuclear=.641; oil/gas=.285; biomass=n/a; geothermal=.410; solar=n/a.

As we see, biomass fuels used in steam turbine electricity production use far less water for cooling towers than any other technology, and are below average for OTF. On balance then, biomass is the lowest water consuming technology for electricity generation. Of course, even the lowest user can consume lots of water if the amount of generation is large. In some cases, the water is either salt water or, as in the case of Palo Verde, waste water.

A word or two about stored radiation. The long and the short of it is that there is no residual radiation in American forests and forest soils from the testing in the 1950's and 60's which is of any health consequence to humans. I quote here from the EPA's testing for a full range of radionuclides which in 2016 found, "Fallout typically contains hundreds of different radionuclides. Some stay in the environment for a long time because they have long half-lives. Some have very short half-lives and decay away in a few minutes or a few years. However, very little radioactivity from weapons testing in the 1950s and 1960s can even be detected in the environment now." In fact, testing at the Nevada test site found almost nothing even at the ground zero locations. Recently, teams of scientists and photographers were presented on the Science Channel walking around at ground zero there with no protection or even monitoring devices.

What is of great consequence is the global fallout from small particles and gases which remain in the atmosphere for as much as hundreds of years. That fallout has occasioned large-scale illness and death throughout the world.

Informed Consent

Ron, check out the following references. "Forest Fires and Re-suspension of Radionuclides Into the Atmosphere"/The American Journal of Environmental Sciences, (1): 1- (2012). "Inter and Intra -continental Transport of Cesium Released By Boreal Fires", Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33. L 12806, "Burning Question: What Happens to Iodine, Cesium and Chorine in Biomass Fires?", The Science of Total Environment 187 (1996) 93-103,"Pulsed Redistribution of a Contaminant Following Forest Fire: Cesium Run-off," Journal Environ Qual 32:2150-2159 (2003), "Chernobyl's Nuclear Threat Returns: Forest Fires in the Ukraine Causes Radioactive Particles to be Released Over Europe", Daily Mail (9/2018), "Chernobyl's Trees Are Not Decaying Normally....Wildfire Today (4/2015), "Eccr Report Challenges Entrenched Radiation Assumptions", WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor, 2-21-03. There us a good line graph in, "Dating Wines With Cesium-138:Fukushima';s imprint", Fentre d Etudes Nucleaires de Bordeaux Gadignon (CNR/Universite de Bordeaux) 7-2018. There is 25 years between the NTS explosions and Chernobyl, but if you check out the graph, you will see that Chernobyl and Fukushima are mere pimples compared the NTS emissions. These radionuclides are sequestered in the biomass of our forests. When our forests burn, they are re-suspended into the atmosphere in the form of gases and particles and are carried in the smoke to be redeposited in a concentrated form within the ash. Cesium's analog is potassium which makes its uptake readily available to all plants. As far as people standing around at ground zero, a friend's father was one of the ENLISTED soldiers that was ordered to stand on the ground within the blast zone at NTS in the late 40's.He died of cancer and his daughter had several birth defects. What you need to look at is the chronic exposure to low dose ionizing radiation epidemiological studies. Also, the health standards of today are based on the EXTERNAL exposure to an adult male. Breathing in or swallowing these particles where they can be lodged inside the body and continue to irradiate the surrounding tissue is not even calculated in their models. Most cancers from these particles are attributed to their powerful free radical effect on the lipids in the human body. The amounts and kinds of plutonium that were contained in the different bombs is still classified. Plutonium 239 has a half life of 24,4000 years. Scientists use cesium as marker to track the smoke from forest fires around the earth and they use cesium to track the movement of topsoil from the top of a mountain to the bottom. There has been talk of returning to atomic bomb testing. I even read one opinion that a little atomic bomb radiation is good for you, along the line of inoculation. Tell that to my friends that have died of cancer. Thanks for your interest.

ronzim

Thanks IC. I am delighted to hear from someone who actually bothers with research and is highly literate in science. I read each of your sources carefully and have no dispute with them. In the main, however, they focus on the release of stored wood and soil radionuclides arising from large, uncontrolled forest fires. My comments concerned the dissemination of radionuclides from much smaller/controlled biomass electricity generating plant emissions. Even from forest fires, one of your sources found that three recent, major fires near the Chernobyl exclusion area(a sort of worst-case scenario)yielded total radionuclides which entailed just one percent of the permitted annual human exposure. While biomass facilities generate much CO2 and a broad range of toxins and elemental contaminants, there is virtually no human health risk from radioactive substances in these emissions.

In 1996, Environmental Systems Inc. of Hampton, N.H., designed a pilot plant to convert contaminated wood and litter from the forest floor into electrical energy. Radionuclides, primarily cesium and strontium, would be captured in the ash, and could then be disposed of as low-level or very low-level waste; thus, actually cleansing the environment. Quite costly however.

German designer Entrade’s E4 plants, can reduce the mass of lightly irradiated wood waste by 99.5 percent. Shrinking the volume of waste could help Japanese authorities who need to reduce the volume of contaminated materials. "Burning won’t destroy radiation but we can shrink detritus to ash and create a lot of clean power at the same time."

From Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jul; 12(7): 8542–8605. Published online 2015 Jul 22. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120708542PMCID: PMC4515735PMID: 26206568:
"Potential Occupational Exposures and Health Risks Associated with Biomass-Based Power Generation"
"Concerns over the potential radioactivity of biomass ash stems from the expectation that natural or manufactured radioactivity present in plant material can become concentrated in ash upon combustion. Overall the concern has been less for natural radiation (which is generally considered to be negligible), and more for anthropogenic radionuclides that may be present at higher levels in plants and soils in areas that have experienced nuclear fall-out [167]. Principal radionuclides of concern are cesium-137 and strontium-90, and significant quantities of both were released from the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents [220]. A limited number of studies have examined potential occupational radiation risk from biomass fuel. After an exposure assessment that included on-site monitoring of airborne dust, aerial radon, and ambient gamma dose-rate measurements, a study conducted at a peat-fired power station in Ireland concluded that workers involved in various plant activities did not experience a radiation dose above the level of concern established by the Irish government. Potential radiation exposures to workers have also been investigated in areas where the fuel stock is contaminated with radioactivity associated with the fall-out from Chernobyl."

I want to be clear about what happens here. As Cesium137, for example, decays into barium that process releases beta particles which are harmful to humans if swallowed, inhaled or otherwise ingested; thus, atmospheric depositions are a serious matter. They are serious in proportion to the amounts released. Normal background radiation is about 310mren/yr. and is amplified by another 310emrn from anthropological sources which our bodies are evolved to cope with. The NRC states that high doses(50,000mren threshold)are expected to produce cancers and that levels below 10,000mren are not associated with any increase in cancer rates. Low levels of exposure can however be problematic because the effects tend to accumulate in the body. I have been exposed much more than the average bear and have handled radioactive materials directly. In 9.5 months, I will enter my 10th decade on this planet. So far, so good. Make no mistake here, I am opposed to biomass because of its proven, manifold human health dangers and CO2 emissions. As far as I can determine from the literature, there seems to be no significant radiological constituent in these dangers.

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