New evidence of overwhelming public support for solar

The majority of UK respondents to the largest survey of attitudes towards green energy ever conducted would like to see more solar power used compared to other generation technologies.

The Ørsted Green Energy Barometer, which surveyed more than 26,000 people across 13 countries, asked just over 2,000 people in the UK where they would like to see more of their energy come from.

The results showed that the most common answer was solar, with over three quarters (77%) preferring the technology to its closest competitors, tidal power (71%) and offshore wind (70%).

Natural gas and nuclear, the two technologies being pursued most vigorously by the UK government, languished in bottom place with 34% and 31% respectively, while the survey did not even ask UK respondents for their views on coal, which is to be phased out by 2025.

UK (2,020 respondents)International average (26,401 respondents)
Solar power77%80%
Tidal power71%58%
Offshore wind70%67%
Onshore wind61%64%
Sustainably sourced biomass53%51%
Natural gas34%37%
Nuclear31%26%

Only a small proportion (4%) wanted to see less solar used in the country’s energy mix, with nuclear being the top technology respondents wanted the country to use less of at 38%.

The study, which collected evidence between the end of July to 1 September also found overwhelming support for the green agenda, with 82% of people stating it is important to create a world fully powered by renewable energy, regardless of age, education level or political ideology.

This result reflects the same findings of the UK government’s latest public opinions tracker, which also identified 82% of those surveyed supporting renewables, putting support for the green agenda at an all-time high.

It placed support for solar even higher at 85% in deep contrast to the level of support currently on offer to the technology following cuts to the feed-in tariff and the closure of the Renewables Obligation scheme for grid scale solar farms.

According to Ørsted the support for renewables in the UK was rooted in national pride, with 74% of people saying they would be proud if the UK invests time and money to become a global leader in green energy.

Almost the exact same proportion (73%) added that building and producing more green energy would boost economic growth, with slightly fewer (68%) claiming the UK should lead the world in building and producing green energy.

With the international figures suggesting similar approval ratings for green energy, Ørsted chief executive Henrik Poulsen said: “We’re at a tipping point. Green energy has become cheaper than black, and the newly released Green Energy Barometer shows an overwhelming public support for a shift from black to green.

“We owe it to the planet and to future generations to transform our energy systems from black to green. And with the economics and public opinion now supporting a shift to renewable energy, there’s no reason not to speed up the transformation.”