The U.S. and Canada continue to face major changes in energy production. Mounting awareness of the climate crisis has placed increasing importance on developing renewable energy sources, however, advances in fossil fuel extraction technology have opened vast domestic reserves of oil and natural gas. Public preferences for energy policy play a role in determining energy futures, but researchers rarely simultaneously compare public views across multiple renewable and non-renewable energies or across country boundaries. Here, we used a 2019 online survey sample (n = 1500) to compare predictors of support for eight fuel sources for electricity generation in British Columbia, Canada, and Washington and Oregon, USA. Results indicate the highest support overall for renewables (wind, solar, wave/tidal energy, geothermal) and the lowest for fossil fuels (coal and natural gas), nuclear, and hydropower. Mixed-effects regression modeling indicates that views on climate and the balance between environment and economy were consistent predictors of support across most energy types, while political ideology was less consistent. Perceived local importance of both extractive and renewable energy industries were significant predictors of support for some, but not all, energy sources, as were education and gender. Overall, our research suggests that while divisions persist in public energy preferences for both renewable and non-renewable sources, there is the broadest support for renewable energy technologies.
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