Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Poll: Public overwhelmingly backs wind and solar power

YouGov poll for Sunday Times finds over half of people want more wind turbines, while nearly three quarters support increased solar panel rollout

By BusinessGreen staff

The environmental movement might have taken a bit of a battering in recent months from opinion polls suggesting climate change and environmental issues are falling down the public's list of priorities, but according to a new survey a clear majority still support the rollout of renewable energy technologies.

Despite a high-profile media campaign criticising wind farms and attacking the cost of renewable energy technologies, 56 per cent of people want to see more wind energy capacity in the UK and 74 per cent think solar energy capacity should be increased.

The figures come from a YouGov poll of 1,696 people commissioned by The Sunday Times, which also reveals that just 19 per cent of respondents want wind power to be scaled back, and just 12 per cent think the rollout of solar panels should be blocked.

Just over a third of respondents said there should be more nuclear plants and just 10 per cent and 16 per cent respectively believed the UK should build new oil and coal power stations. In contrast, just under half of respondents said the use of these fossil fuel power sources should be scaled back.

Perhaps most interestingly, given the keen debate on the price of energy bills, 60 per cent of those polled thought the government was correct to subsidise wind farms, compared to just 26 per cent against such policies.

Dr Gordon Edge, director of policy at trade body RenewableUK, said the poll confirmed the industry's long standing belief that only a "small, but vociferous minority is opposed to wind energy".

"This poll demonstrates that even in difficult economic times, the public understands why the expansion of wind power is important - to secure jobs, enhance energy security and reduce our reliance on expensive fossil fuels," he said.

The new figures come as engineering giant Siemens yesterday confirmed that it plans to invest £210m in a new offshore wind turbine manufacturing plant in Hull, creating over 700 long-term jobs.

No comments: