Published on May 8th, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill0
British Support For Renewable Energy Continues To Grow
May 8th, 2013 by Joshua S Hill
The survey, DECC Public Attitudes Tracker, was run from early 2012 through to last March. There were four surveys — one longer survey and three shorter ones — concluded with a face-to-face in-home interview with a representative sample of 2,051 households.
Below are the key findings which were taken from the survey, as finalised after Wave 5. For a full comparison of wave 5 findings against the previous four waves, head on over to the DECC website and access the full questionnaire, the full wave 5 dataset, and more.
ENERGY BILLS & SWITCHING: six in ten people concerned about energy bills; increased interest in collective switching
- Concern about energy bills has reached the highest level since wave 1, with 59% of UK adults concerned about rising bills (56% in wave 1) and 45% to 50% over waves 2-4. This is likely to have been influenced by the unseasonably cold weather prior to and during the fieldwork period.
- Awareness of collective switching increased to 27%, from 21% in wave 1 and there was a significant increase in the proportion of people interested in joining a collective switching scheme, up to 42% from 34% in wave 1.
- 16% have switched energy supplier in the last year, similar to the wave 1 figure of 15%.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY SECURITY: not seen as key challenges facing the UK but, when asked directly, concern about energy security is rising; strong support for mix of energy sources
- In spite of increased concern in wave 5, climate change and energy security are not viewed as key challenges facing Britain today. 5% of respondents saw climate change as the top challenge, up from 2% in wave 1; and 6% cited security of energy supply, double the wave 1 level of 3%.
- When asked directly, 66% were concerned about climate change (similar to wave 1’s 65%), with 12% attributing it to natural causes, down from 15% in wave 1.
- Concern about energy security has increased since wave 2 (when the questions were first asked). 88% were concerned about steep rises in energy prices in the future (the next 10-20 years) in wave 5, up from 84% in wave 2; 79% were concerned about the UK becoming too dependent on energy from other countries, up from 74% in wave 2; and 75% were concerned the UK is not investing fast enough in alternative sources of energy, up from 71% in wave 2.
- There is strong support for a mix of energy sources: 81% agreed that the UK needs a mix of energy sources to ensure a reliable supply of electricity. This is unchanged from the wave 1 level of 82%.
CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE: small rise in awareness
- Awareness of CCS increased to 41%, from 36% in wave 1. 57% of those aware of the technology supported its use to generate electricity in the UK.
SHALE GAS: awareness level rises from 42% to 52%
- Awareness, at any level, of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, to extract shale gas rose by ten percentage points to 52% since wave 2 – the first time the question was asked.
RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES: steady growth in support
- Support for renewable energy sources to provide the UK’s electricity, fuel and heat rose to 82%, from 79% in wave 4 (and 79% in wave 1).
- Support for individual renewable technologies is at similar levels to wave 1, with 85% now supporting solar, around three-quarters supporting wave and tidal (77%) and off-shore wind (76%) and around two-thirds supporting on-shore wind (68%) and biomass (64%).
NUCLEAR ENERGY: support rising but a mixed picture overall
- Support for nuclear energy for generating electricity in the UK rose to 40%, from 37% in wave 4, although overall views are split, with 23% opposed and 35% neither supporting nor opposing its use.
- 46% of people agreed that nuclear energy provides a reliable source of affordable energy in the UK, no significant difference to wave 1’s 43%.
- 44% thought nuclear energy generates economic benefits to the UK, again no significant difference to the wave 1 level of 42%.
SMART METERS: more people have a smart meter
- The number of UK adults saying they have a smart meter rose to 12%, from 6% in wave 1. This finding may have been influenced by changes to the question wording and display images on the wave 5 questionnaire.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND INSULATION: high levels of energy wasting behaviours; increased uptake of under floor heating
- The number of people saying they think about saving energy in the home returned to wave 1 levels, with 26% giving a lot of thought to energy saving behaviours and 54% a fair amount of thought.
- In spite of concern about energy bills and 80% saying they think about energy saving behaviours, levels of energy wasting behaviours remained high overall: with 67% of people admitting to at least occasionally boiling the kettle with more water than they intend to use; 52% leaving lights on when they are not in the room; and 52% leaving the heating on when they go out for a few hours.
- 51% of households had installed or thought about replacing an older gas boiler with a more efficient condensing boiler, up from 45% in wave 1. This is considerably higher than any of the alternative sources of heat measured – only 7% have installed or thought about installing solar panels, and 2% installed or thought about installing air source heat pumps.
- The proportion of households who had installed under floor insulation increased to 15%, from 11% in wave 2.
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