Support for the move is high among Conservative voters, 61% of whom say the exclusion of onshore wind should end – 65% of people in rural areas agree.
There is strong local support for building onshore wind farms over other infrastructure options.
When asked which type of development they would favour most in their local area, the most popular choice was an onshore wind farm (23% – and higher in rural areas at 26%), beating a new railway line (22%), housing development (17%), a dual carriageway (16%), a fracking site (4%) and a nuclear power station (2%).
SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson warned that the Tories are “dangerously out of step with public opinion” on energy policy, following the new YouGov poll findings.
With no public consultation and no parliamentary scrutiny or debate, the UK Tory government locked out almost all new onshore wind projects from the UK’s contract-for-difference (CfD) support mechanism, while projects in England are also subject to planning rules designed to hamper development.
The Scottish Conservative’s 2017 party manifesto stated: “We do not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for Scotland.”
Stevenson, who sits on Holyrood’s Environment Committee, said: “The Tories’ backwards decision to cut subsidies for the renewables sector is not only dangerously out of step with public opinion, including a majority of Tory voters, it has also hampered growth in a vital industry of the future that experts say will be more cost-effective than nuclear power.
“Despite the Tories’ damaging opposition to onshore wind, the SNP continues to support Scotland’s renewables potential, both in generation and infrastructure, with renewable electricity capacity in Scotland making up approximately 25% of the UK’s renewable generation in 2017.
“The SNP recognises that renewable energy plays a hugely significant role in powering Scotland’s future, and it is clear that for Scotland to maintain a strong renewables sector, environment and energy policy must be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.”
17 Jul 2018