A new survey carried out by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has revealed that renewable energy generation in the UK continues to receive incredibly strong public support as part of a diverse energy generation mix. The survey, which consisted of over 2,000 face-to-face in-home interviews, revealed that the overwhelming majority of Brits (83 percent) supported the implementation of solar, making it the most supported form of renewable energy generation, with offshore wind (76 percent) and wave and tidal (75 percent) distant runners-up.
The public attitude tracker shows extremely strong support for the use of renewables in the UK, with 79 percent expressing their desire for renewable solutions to provide the nation's electricity, fuel and heat. Only 5 percent opposed the development of renewable generation technologies.
Seven out of ten people surveyed agreed that renewable energy industries and developments provide economic benefits to the UK, a point that the CBI recently outlined in detail. Nearly 80 percent of respondents believed that renewable energy developments provide direct benefit to the communities in which they are located. Impressively, 55 percent of interviewees noted that they would be happy to have a large scale renewable energy development in their area.
Worryingly, the results of the survey reveal that climate change and energy security measures are ‘not top of mind issues’ amongst the British public. Only 2 percent of interviewees indentified climate change as the biggest challenge facing Britain today, with 3 percent expressing concern over energy supply, compared to 45 percent indentifying unemployment as the UK’s biggest challenge.
When challenged directly, 19 percent said that they were concerned about current climate change. Almost 40 percent of people said that climate change was mainly or entirely caused by human activity. Compared to just 15 percent who believe that climate change is mainly or entirely caused by natural processes.
When pressed on the issue of energy security, over half of all respondents raised concerns over steep rises in energy prices. Almost a third of all interviewees believed that the UK is not investing enough in alternative sources of energy, with 40 percent concerned over the UK’s dependence on other countries for energy supplies.
DECC’s ‘Public Attitude Tracker’ survey will run four times a year for issues where public opinion may shift quickly, as well as repeated annually for wider issues. The full report can be read here.