UK public fully on board with renewable energy mission

Generating electricity, fuel and heat through the use of renewable energy is supported by 79% of the UK public, with just 4% opposed, according to a government survey published today.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) collected data from 2,107 UK households, between December 12 2012 and January 2 2013, to monitor public attitudes to the Department’s main business priorities.

Of the various renewable energy sources, solar energy was found to have the highest levels of support at 82%, followed by offshore wind at 72% and wave and tidal at 71%.

Looking into other sources of energy generation, responses from the survey revealed that 37% of people support the use of nuclear energy to generate electricity in the UK, with 25% opposed.

The survey also asked households to provide information on whether they think about saving energy in their homes, which revealed that a minority are making energy efficiency a priority in the home.

Only three in ten people said they gave a ‘lot of thought’ to saving energy in the home with 49% giving it a ‘fair amount’ of thought.

It also found that 54% of people said they left the heating on at least occasionally when going out for a few hours, while 76% said they try, at least occasionally, to keep rooms they are not using at a cooler temperature than those they are using.

Installing technology also revealed mixed figures, with just over half of people (52%) saying they had not heard of an air source heat pump and 44% saying they had not heard of a ground source heat pump.

It also showed that the proportion of people thinking about installing solar thermal panels was 6%, with 19% saying they would like to install this measure “but not at this stage”. According to the survey, 24% have not thought about installing energy efficiency measures at all.

The Government’s findings follow yesterday’s announcement from the National Grid that a record amount of electricity had been generated by wind energy in Great Britain.

The new high was reached on Sunday morning, when wind generated more than 5 gigawatts for the first time – more than 12% of the nation’s electricity needs for industry, businesses and households and enough to power more than ten million British homes.

RenewableUK director of external affairs, Jennifer Webber, told edie: “This survey, coupled with the three previously undertaken by DECC, and regular other polling, demonstrates the continued popularity of wind and marine energy.

“Only this weekend we saw a record amount of wind power supplied onto the grid, over 5GW, and it’s good news that people can see the benefits of that. Now is the time to ensure that the policy framework is right to encourage more wind which will create more jobs and save more carbon,” she added.

Leigh Stringer

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