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Solar power is most popular energy for the future

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 October 2012 at 3:30 pm

While the message from government seems to be focusing on a dash for gas and fracking, the public has just demonstrated that it's way ahead of government in its support for future powered by renewable energy. Results of a new poll from YouGov found that people would like to see more investment in solar and wind power, and less in oil and coal fired power stations.

Solar power is the most popular source of energy for the future. Asked whether the government should be looking at using more or less solar power for the UK's future energy provision, 72 per cent of respondents chose 'more than present'. Only 5 per cent thought we should use less.

Wind farms also proved more popular than the fossil fuel or nuclear options, with 55 per cent saying that we should use more than present. This was markedly less popular among people who voted Conservative at the last election (45% in favour of more) than among Labour (60%) or Lib Dem (67%) voters. Support also slipped to 45% among the over 60s. Twenty one per cent were in favour of using less wind power, with 14% wanting to maintain the status quo.

Next in favour is nuclear with 40% of respondents wanting to see more, and 21% happy with the status quo. 20% want less and 19% don't know.
The majority of respondents wanted a reduction in the use of coal (43%) and oil (45%), with only a handful wanting to increase investment (17% and 11% respectively).

Enthusiasm for gas fired power stations varied. Just over a third of respondents wanted less, just over a quarter would like to maintain present levels, 20% weren't sure, and just 17% wanted to see more.

Conservatives who are hoping that shale gas, which is extracted by 'fracking', is going to be a golden bullet to solve energy problems may find it difficult to persuade people. Less than a third thought the government should support the use of fracking in the UK (32%). Slightly fewer thought it should not, and 38% said they don't know. People intending to vote tory at the next election were a bit more in favour. The biggest difference was between men (43% in favour) and women (just 21%).

The survey also asked people about the energy companies,  and what they think is MAINLY responsible for the rising cost in energy bills. While the energy companies blame it on the rising price of oil and gas, only 17% of respondents buy that. The vast majority (58%) think it's the energy companies taking bigger profits.

The government currently obliges energy companies to meet the cost of its carbon reduction targets by offering subsidised insulation and boilers and helping people reduce their energy usage. They pass on the cost of this to customers through higher bills. When asked whether this was justified, respondents said a resounding no (71%).

Photo by Walmart Stores

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