CWL’s poll also showed that 49% of respondents support renewables. Image: Pixabay.

A poll commissioned by electric utility company, Community Windpower Ltd (CWL) showed that 41% of the nationally representative sample of 1,000 UK adults disagreed with the proposed increase in windfall tax for solar and other renewably generated energy.

In last year’s Autumn Statement chancellor Jeremy Hunt revealed plans to implement a 45% levy – the Electricity Generator Levy (EGL) – for “extraordinary returns” of companies generating low-carbon electricity, including solar.

This is 10% higher than the Energy Profits Levy imposed on oil and gas companies, which was raised to 35% as part of the Autumn statement.

Conducted by polling firm Censuswide, the study showed that respondents disagreed with the taxation of profits solely targeting green energy by a factor of close to five to one.

“This poll confirms what we suspected all along, namely that there is significant public disquiet over the controversial Energy Generator Levy and its smash and grab raid on renewables,” said Rod Wood, managing director of Community Windpower.

“The levy is bad news for consumers, bad news for the climate and bad news for our national energy security.”

The poll also showed significant public backing for clean energy with 49% of respondents saying they support renewables.

This builds on the government’s own Public Attitudes Tracker, which in December showed that 88% of people support the use a renewable energy in the UK, including solar, beating 2021’s previous high of 84%, whilst only 2% of the public oppose it.

CWL’s poll also show there is strong support for the local distribution of energy profits to help households struggling with energy bills as 50% of the respondents agreed with the implementation of these schemes.

When asked about the UK Government’s approach to renewable energy and climate change the poll illustrated public concern. 45% of respondents agreed the government is “too close” to large oil and gas companies, whilst 41% didn’t feel that ministers were doing enough to support solar and other renewable energy sources.

“This polling shows that voters find it bizarre that the Government is bringing in a levy that will deliberately penalise renewable energy firms. This comes at a time when over half of Britain’s electricity demand is being met by low carbon power, saving consumers an estimated £5.7 billion in the last quarter by avoiding the need for gas imports,” continued Wood.

“With this policy, the Government is putting at risk the UK’s renewables industry. It is jeopardising £200 – £300 billion of new investment and the 440,000 well paid jobs that the Government itself had previously forecast to be delivered by 2030. Investors will simply look to other countries if this policy is not substantially reversed.”

Community Windpower has warned ministers that it will sue in a bid to block the progression of the EGL, which came into force 1 January 2023. The green energy generator has said it has requested the law firm Mishcon de Reya, as well as barristers David Blundell KC and Yaaser Vanderman of Landmark Chambers to pursue the case.