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U of R economist releases survey results showing strong support for Regina’s renewable energy targets

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: September 23, 2020 4:00 p.m.

U of R economist Dr. Brett Dolter today released survey results showing strong support from Regina residents for the City’s target of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.
U of R economist Dr. Brett Dolter today released survey results showing strong support from Regina residents for the City’s target of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050. Photo: U of R Photography

In 2018, Regina City Council unanimously voted in favour of using 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050. Findings from a report released today by University of Regina economist Dr. Brett Dolter reveal strong support among Regina residents surveyed to achieve this target.

“Our survey results show that there is broad support for the City of Regina’s 100 per cent renewable energy target. With a municipal election on November 9, renewable energy production and use may be top of mind for many voters,” says Dolter.

Dolter presented the survey results from the Regina Energy Futures Survey at today’s City of Regina Planning and Priorities Committee.

“We found that among the 451 Regina residents surveyed, 74 per cent support the City of Regina powering its buildings and vehicles with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050, while 64 per cent support the broader goal of ensuring the entire city, including private buildings and vehicles, are powered by 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050. Fewer than 15 per cent of respondents oppose this goal,” says Dolter.

The survey also found that solar energy is a hot topic, with Regina having the greatest solar potential of any major city in Canada.

“More than half of Regina residents have a home where solar panels could be installed,” says Dolter. “Our findings indicate that three-quarters of eligible households would install solar panels if they broke even or earned a financial return, while one-eighth would be willing to pay more to generate solar energy.”

Dolter says that if all eligible households installed solar they could generate up to 370 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of solar energy per year.

“If this potential is reached, solar on residential rooftops could provide electricity equivalent to 15 per cent of the annual electricity usage of homes, businesses, and industry in Regina,” says Dolter, who added that the survey was administered randomly to 451 Regina residents through both landline and cell phone calls in August and September of 2019.

“The survey also revealed that residents would be more likely to install solar panels if they could finance them using a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan from the City of Regina, which could then be repaid through property tax payments,” says Dolter.

The survey also explored the commuting choices of Regina residents.

“Municipal government is uniquely positioned to influence land use and the city’s urban form.  We find that more than one-third of Regina residents would prefer to walk, cycle, or use transit whenever possible, but only 12 per cent of residents regularly use these options. This suggests that the City of Regina could work to enhance the safety, accessibility, and desirability of walking, cycling, and transit to allow more people to choose these options.”

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The Regina Energy Futures Survey was released
today. (click image to download) 5.8Mb

Other highlights from the report include that:

  • 39 per cent of residents surveyed are willing to pay more on their property taxes to help achieve the 100 per cent renewable energy target, and another 25 per cent of residents would consider paying an additional charge, depending on the amount;
  • the majority of survey respondents (71 per cent) would support or strongly support the construction of a wind farm outside of city limits;
  • and, 68.4 per cent of survey participants accept that climate change is caused mainly by human activity, and those who recognize the urgency of climate change express the strongest support for the City’s 100 per cent renewable energy target.

Dolter says that the findings indicate that there are several politically acceptable actions and policies that the City of Regina could put in place to move towards their 100 percent renewable energy target.

“As the City of Regina develops their Energy and Sustainability Framework, it would be useful to continue to engage with residents to understand support or opposition to the specific actions, policies, and programs that the City of Regina could carry out to work towards the 100 per cent renewable energy target,” says Dolter.

To view the complete Regina Energy Futures Survey, including survey details, visit here.

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