Survey: Majority favor renewable energy over coal, despite costs

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to come out with new greenhouse gas regulations as earlier as next week that could have a devastating impact on existing coal plants. 

But a new survey from an environmentally-friendly business group finds a majority of people would support efforts to overhaul the nation's electric power grid to make room for more renewable forms of energy.

The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) survey found that two-thirds of people said it is a good idea to "modernize" the nation's power system, while three in four respondents said they would like to use electricity more efficiently in order to reduce the need for old power plants. 

But 58 percent of people believe say they would like to move from old power sources like coal to new renewable forms of energy like wind, solar, and hydropower, even if it costs more to do so.

This comes as the EPA is preparing to deliver a new draft guidance limiting greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal plants. The agency already came out with more stringent rules for new coal plants, but is now looking at coal plants that are already out there.

"We believe that EPA's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions represents an opportunity to modernize the electric power system for the 21st century, and this new survey shows that Americans support the idea of modernizing the electric power sector by a wide margin," Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president at the Advanced Energy Economy, said in a statement.

AEE surveyed 1,000 people.