Energy company polls shows popular support for onshore renewables

renewables generalBy DARA BUTTERFIELD 

A new survey has revealed strong public support – and almost no opposition to onshore wind and solar farms.

The findings come a day after a government poll highlighted public opposition to fracking, with 28% saying they actively oppose shale gas and just 3% strongly supporting the controversial extraction technique.

The results of the independent survey published today show that solar is the most popular form of energy generation amongst the public, with 76% of people saying they support it.

Meanwhile the results show most people back onshore wind with 59% of respondents saying that they support the technology.

Just 4% of the public are opposed to solar farms while 8% say they are opposed to onshore wind farms.

Alasdair Cameron, Renewables Campaigner, Friends of the Earth, said: “Renewable energy like wind and solar power is incredibly popular, and it is frankly astonishing that the Government continues to make it harder for people to use it.

“Failing to back renewables now is like attacking mobile phones in the early 1990s – renewables are already far cheaper than nuclear and closing in on gas from new power stations.

“David Cameron is going to have to work really hard in the run up to the climate talks in Paris if he is to convince the world he’s not trying to take the UK back to the dark ages.”

Yesterday, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) released its latest public attitudes tracker, which asks UK residents their opinion on various topics ranging from energy bills to fracking.

However, this edition of the DECC survey, the first to be carried out since the general election, left out the usual questions relating to renewable generation sources such as solar and wind – the technologies which have seen subsidies slashed in recent weeks.

Energy company Good Energy commissioned its own independent survey which asked the same questions that were missed out by the government to 2,000 UK adults.

The results show the same strong support for renewables seen in previous editions of the tracker, which has been carried out by DECC since 2012.

Will Vooght, Head of Innovation, Good Energy, said: “Renewables have been performing brilliantly recently – providing 22.2% of the UK’s electricity in the first three months of the year. Solar alone provided 15% of our electricity needs on one day last month.

“These stats indicate that opposition to renewables remains consistently low, showing it’s a vocal minority dictating policy – flying in the face of public support.

“The old adage goes ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it’. The government seem to have realised they can’t manage public opinion so instead they just won’t measure it.”

Sonia Dunlop, spokesman for the Solar Trade Association, also commented on the findings: “DECC’s surveys have consistently shown that solar power is the UK’s favourite way of generating electricity. This new survey confirms this.

“We would like to see the Government take solar’s public popularity into account when making key policy decisions on support for this sunshine technology over the next few months.”

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