Only 8% oppose onshore wind, finds new Good Energy poll

A new survey has found overwhelming support for renewable energy coming just days after a Government poll suggested a fall in support for shale gas.

Only 8% of those polled by Good Energy opposed onshore wind farms

Only 8% of those polled by Good Energy opposed onshore wind farms

The Good Energy survey found just 4% of the public opposed solar farms while only 8% opposed onshore wind farms.

The poll also found only around 7% of people oppose biomass, the technology being used in the ongoing conversion of the Drax power plant.

The findings come in the same week as a poll by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which found public support for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, had fallen, with 28% saying they actively oppose shale gas and just 3% saying they strongly supported it.

The new independent poll, commissioned by Good Energy, asked 2,000 adults questions on renewable energy which had been left out of the DECC public attitudes survey.

Good Energy asked specific questions on solar and wind power, which have seen subsidy cuts in the last month, such as the end of renewable energy’s exemption under the Climate Change Levy in the recent Budget.

Good Energy’s results mirror findings in DECC’s poll, which found opposition to renewable was very low at around 4%.

DECC’s original survey found only 21% of 2,118 households support fracking, the lowest percentage recorded in such a poll. Many more people said they were unconvinced by fracking, with 49% saying they neither supported nor opposed the extraction method. 

Vocal minority

Good Energy head of innovation Will Vooght said: “These stats indicate that opposition to renewable remains consistently low, showing it’s a vocal minority dictating policy – flying in the face of public support.”

High public support for clean energy such as solar and wind comes after a month of green subsidy cuts by the Conservative Government. The renewable energy industry has seen subsidies for solar and biomass cut under the Renewables Obligation and an end to support for onshore wind.

Solar Trade Association spokesperson Sonia Dunlop said: “We would like to see the Government take solar’s popularity into account when making key policy decisions on support for this sunshine technology over the next few months.”

Friends of the Earth renewable energy campaigner Alasdair Cameron claimed renewables were now cheaper than nuclear, with the price of many technologies falling.

“Renewable energy like wind and solar power is incredibly popular,” said Cameron, “and it is frankly astonishing that the Government continues to make it harder for people to use it.”

Energy targets

Not all renewable energy projects have come to fruition, however. Recent plans for a new wind farm by renewable giant Vattenfall fell through after the closure of subsidies and fierce local opposition.

In the build up to the COP21 climate change talks in Paris in December, the UK remains likely to miss EU renewable energy targets, currently producing 7% of its energy from renewable sources against a target of 15% by 2020.

However, the UK’s so-called shale gas revolution has also fallen flat with just a handful of new wells planned for 2015. Opposition to the controversial technology led to the postponement of fracking projects by Cuadrilla in June. 

Matt Field


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