Survey reveals widespread support for Renewables

A survey recently carried out by YouGov has revealed that a majority of the British population is in favour of both increased renewable energy development and the use of government subsidies as funding . The results were based upon a sample of around 1,700 people. The survey had been commissioned by the Sunday Times but is yet to appear in the paper. It is unclear as to why this is the case.

The survey asked the initial question; “Thinking about the country’s future energy provision, do you think the government should be looking to use more or less of the following?” and returned the following results:

Solar power
More than at present – 74%
Less than at present – 6%
Maintain current levels – 12%
Not sure – 9%

Wind farms
More than at present – 56%
Less than at present – 19%
Maintain current levels – 15%
Not sure – 9%

Nuclear power stations
More than at present – 35%
Less than at present – 27%
Maintain current levels – 23%
Not sure – 15%

Oil power stations
More than at present – 10%
Less than at present – 47%
Maintain current levels – 27%
Not sure – 17%

Coal power stations
More than at present – 16%
Less than at present – 43%
Maintain current levels – 25%
Not sure – 17%

These figures demonstrate that the public have identified renewables as the future of the country’s energy policy with only a minority believing that new fossil fuel plants are the way forward. It should be noted that the older a person is the more likely they are to support new nuclear plants and less likely to support renewable developments.

The survey went on to ask the following questions:

“Do you think the government is right or wrong to subsidise wind farms to encourage more use of wind power?”

Right 60%
Wrong 26%
Don’t know 15%

Do you think increased use of wind power is or is not a realistic way of combating climate change?

Realistic 47%
Not realistic 36%
Don’t know 16%

Do you think increased use of solar power is or is not a realistic way of combating climate change?

Realistic 67%
Not realistic 18%
Don’t know 15%

These results demonstrate that the majority of people can see the benefits of the Feed-in tariff in encouraging renewable energy developments to reduce carbon emissions, tackle climate change and give the country energy security. This is despite a concerted campaign in some areas of the media against renewables and the spread of misinformation about the impact green subsidies are having on energy bills, particularly compared to ever increasing wholesale gas prices.

James Murray, of BusinessGreen, described the poll results as “explosive” and the “best kind of early Christmas present”.

The survey comes as the end of a year which has been described as “exceptional” for renewables by the Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. Much investmentment has occurred in the Scottish Renewable Energy Sector in 2011, demonstrated by the recent announcement that SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy) is to create an offshore wind hub in Dundee (which recently missed out on a similar development by Spanish turbine manufacturer Gamesa) and create 700 jobs.

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, commented: “Even as 2011 comes to a close we are continuing  to welcome major announcements from international companies such as Gamesa, who have signaled an interest in establishing a presence in Leith, and SSE who signed a Memorandum of Understanding with key figures in Dundee to build an offshore wind hub and create 700 jobs.

“It’s announcments like these that have helped grow public support for renewables too.”

We can but hope the good news continues in 2012.

 

 

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