A project by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) which surveyed 2,400 people has found that consumers aremore than willing to accept changes to the way the energy system operates.
The 30-month study aimed to show how people would respond when presented with changes in the way energy is produced and consumed.
Prof Nick Pidgeon of Cardiff University, which conducted the survey, said, “There are many independent attitudes towards the way in which energy is produced; whether this be traditional methods such as nuclear and fossil fuel or renewable such as wind and solar.”
Speaking to Blue & Green Tomorrow, he said respondents, who were selected to represent a national sample, were enthusiastic about changes in energy once they were aware of issues such as energy security and the environmental impact of the current system.
Pidgeon added, “I was rather surprised, given the public scepticism towards renewable energy that is often reported in the mainstream media, that once respondents worked out there was a problem, they were very enthusiastic and wanted the government and stakeholders to create a fair, affordable and sustainable energy system.”
The report, Transforming the UK energy system – public values, attitudes and acceptability, says that 79% of people wanted to see a reduction in fossil fuel dependency. Meanwhile, 81% expressed a desire to reduce their energy consumption.
It adds that 85% of people support solar energy whereas 75% supported wind. When asked why some respondents may not support wind energy, Pidgeon said, “The main problem when it comes to wind farms is location. It is a question of the sensitivity of sites. There is a greater support for offshore wind production than onshore. If proposals are put forward for wind farms on uninteresting sites then people are more likely to support them”.
Juliet Davenport, CEO of Good Energy, the first UK company to provide 100% renewable energy, said, “It’s little surprise that the energy market as it stands continues to be a source of distrust for the public, but what’s really exciting is that this research clearly shows how green technology creates the opportunity to turn that around.”
Good Energy was recently named the best provider of renewable energy by Ethical Consumer.