British Public Want More Renewable Energy, Benefiting Communities

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A new UK Public Attitudes Tracking Survey has found that support for renewable energy continues to remain high, with 81% expressing their support.

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has been conducting its Public Attitudes Tracker Survey since March 2012, with one annual survey conducted every March, and three smaller surveys conducted in June, September, and December. Published this week, the DECC released the results of its March 2016 (wave 17) survey, which included some interesting opinions for the country’s renewable energy industry.

“Support for renewable energy has been consistently high during the tracker at around 75-80%,” the DECC noted in its key findings report, which was re-emphasized in wave 17, with 81% of respondents expressing support for renewable energy. On the other side of the coin, only 4% of respondents opposed renewables, with only 2% “strongly opposing.”

Wave 17 re-introduced a new series of questions which yielded fascinating answers.

70% of respondents believe that “Renewable energy industries and developments provide economic benefits to the UK,” a percentage which has remained approximately the same for each March survey conducted since 2012. Unsurprisingly, only 56% of respondents “would be happy to have a large scale renewable energy development” in their area, which has similarly remained about the same since 2012. Interestingly, 77% of all respondents believe that “Renewable energy developments should provide direct benefit to the communities in which they are located.”

“It’s great that the British public sees how renewable energy is helping to grow the UK economy,” said Hugh McNeal, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive. “Renewables are delivering investment and jobs throughout our country.”

Support for individual renewable energy technologies also remained high. Total support for solar sat at 84%; Wave and Tidal at 77%; Offshore wind 76%; 63% for biomass; and 69% for onshore wind.

Reading into these figures, when combining only 56% of respondents wanting renewable energy in their own areas, support for residential solar with its relatively minor visual intrusiveness, and offshore wind’s “out of sight, out of mind” benefits, remain the obvious winners.

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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7 thoughts on “British Public Want More Renewable Energy, Benefiting Communities

  • The flip side of this is the fact that opposition to fracking continues to increase, with support forming. For all renewable technologies support vastly outweighs opposition, fracking has twice as many opposed as supporting.

    • If you’re part of the British opposition to fracking, keep reading about the earthquake crisis in Oklahoma and Kansas and passing on what geologists are learning. This is a truly amazing story that has developed in less than five years. The problem is not caused directly by the fracking, but by the staggering increase in waste water disposal that it enabled. So find out how the drillers intend to deal with the waste water.

      • Or the research that has just linked increases in ethane emissions of 2-5% globally from just one oil field in the bakken formation.

  • The question about local benefits wil seem odd to many readers, as you would expect wind and solar farms automatically to provide these in the way of rents, maintenance jobs – and property taxes. Thanks to Margaret Thatcher’s nationalisation of business rates (part of her war with Labour-controlled local councils), the last does not apply in England and Wales. The “reform” did not extend to Scotland. Unsurprisingly, Scottish local authorities are much more favourable to wind farms than English ones.

    • This has historically been the case, but didn’t the coalition legislated for business rate retention for renewable energy projects.

      • In Europe esp Germany, heavy industry has been granted relief in both business rates and electricity tariffs, but not here, there is more than a whiff of horse trading and horse Shyte in our lot trading off our heavy industry in return for’ protection’ for our ‘financial services industry’

    • NIMBYs have cost our local community £8k PY over the next 25 years, smug bastards.

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