A new YouGov poll in the UK has revealed that a clear majority of residents in the country not only support onshore wind power but actively favor an end to the Government’s effective-ban on new onshore wind power.
UK-based YouGov is an internet-based market research and data analytics firm that regularly polls across the UK on the public perception and opinion on clean energy and clean energy sources. Its most recent Renewable UK survey, conducted over the 5th to 7th of June with 3,609 adults, clearly shows that the population is against the current policies which effectively excludes onshore wind from the country’s Contracts for Difference auction scheme. Specifically, both onshore wind and solar have been relegated to one of two technology ‘Pots’, the Pot which has only benefited from one auction to date.
This discrepancy was highlighted recently by the first ever National Infrastructure Assessment published by the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission which, among other things, urged UK Ministers to seize the “golden opportunity” to switch to lower cost and greener ways of generating energy to homes and businesses, and called for “established technologies like wind and solar power [to] be allowed to compete to deliver the overwhelming majority of the extra renewable electricity needed as overall demand increases.”
“Cheap renewables offer the best deal for consumers,” said Emma Pinchbeck, Executive Director of RenewableUK, one of the country’s renewable energy trade bodies. “Government has a great opportunity to give bill payers a break by putting renewable energy at the heart of a modern smart energy system. Instead of that it’s inexplicably blocking new onshore wind projects. Why? That’s the question that MPs will have to explain to their hard-pressed constituents. Ministers should be listening to what people actually think and the Government’s own polling shows that 76% of people support onshore wind.”
The new YouGov survey asked respondents “To what extent would you support or oppose changing this policy in order to build more onshore wind farms in areas where there is local support for them?” The results are telling. Total support for changing the current policy was 66% — 23% strongly supporting the idea and 43% “tending” to support changing the policy — while total opposition was only 15%, with only 6% strongly opposing it.
More generally, the total number of respondents who supported building more onshore wind farms totaled 69% — an average that held across all parts of the UK, and only dropped to 67% in the North of the country, but increased to 71% in London.
“The Government’s policy is massively out of step with public opinion, including the views of Conservative voters,” said RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck. “Whether it’s the over-65s, people in rural communities or younger voters who want action on climate change, abandoning the onshore wind ban is popular across the board.
“Onshore wind is the UK’s cheapest new power source, bar none, and excluding it from the market means we’ll have to rely on more expensive technologies to meet our future power needs. It’s difficult for voters to square why the Government is bringing in laws to cap energy bills on the one hand, while choosing to further push up costs for billpayers by blocking cheap, new wind power on the other.”
“Onshore wind is cheap, popular, and a vital tool in both meeting our climate change targets and delivering jobs and investment across Scotland,” added Fabrice Leveque, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables. “The results of this new polling show clearly that the UK Government’s exclusion of most onshore wind projects from the energy market flies in the face of public opinion.
“While projects on Scotland’s islands can now compete alongside other sources of clean electricity we would urge ministers to lift the ban on mainland onshore wind projects and allow this technology to do more of what it’s already doing: delivering clean electricity, jobs, investment and social benefits for rural Scotland.”
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