Solar (still) most popular source of energy in new DECC opinion poll

Fossil fuels and renewablesThe Department of Energy and Climate Change has publish the results of its latest opinion poll on public attitudes to energy.

The regular opinion poll found yet again that solar is the nation’s favourite source of energy at 80% – higher than every other renewable or conventional energy technology.

The specific question about solar and other renewables is now only asked every six months as opposed to every three months in a controversial decision taken earlier this year.

This also comes as last week a ComRes survey for the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) showed that the British public backed subsidies for renewable energy sources (66% wind, 73% solar and 75% early stage renewables) and that support for renewables subsidies combined was at 83%.

A spokesman for the Solar Trade Association said: “These very high levels of public support for solar show yet again that this sunshine technology is the nation’s favourite source of energy. This is also shown by the more than 55,000 responses to the Feed-in Tariff public consultation received by DECC – an unprecedented number showing the widespread outrage and these extreme cuts.”

“No other technology empowers consumers and communities to take charge of their energy bill and act on climate change like solar power. By cutting support for solar the government is taking power away from people, organisations and communities all over the UK – and they don’t like it one bit.”

However, the government plans to cut the Feed-in Tariff for solar by up to 87% in Jan 2016 and to cut solar out of the Renewables Obligation entirely as well as taking away key guarantees within the scheme.

Earlier in the summer the Government also removed incentives for solar panels on new build homes and commercial properties, and forced low carbon generators to bay the Climate Change Levy carbon tax.

The government is also putting more emphasis on shale gas and nuclear power, while making extreme cuts to renewables, despite the fact that only 23% of the public support shale gas and 36% support nuclear power.

Meanwhile, just over half of the public trust energy suppliers to give customers a fair deal (56%), and provide impartial and accurate advice on energy efficiency measures (56%) – indirectly highlighting a chronic lack of trust among the other near-half of the population over ‘prices that rocket skywards, but only fall like leaves’.

When asked whether they support or oppose extracting shale gas, just over four in ten of the public neither supported nor opposed it (43%). Amongst those that did offer an opinion, slightly more opposed (30%) this approach than supported it (23%).

Support for the use of nuclear energy had increased slightly since June 2015, with 36% in favour (up from 33% at wave 14) and a quarter (25%) opposed.

With regard to domestic space-heating, two thirds of people would only replace their heating system if their current one had broken or began to deteriorate (67%). Of those who would replace a working heating system (17%), the main reason for doing this would be to save money on current bills (49%).  

Only 26% cited getting a more reliable system or a more environmentally friendly system (24%), as the main reasons for doing this.

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