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Popularity of renewable energy reaches record high

Professional Engineering

79% of the public support onshore wind, with only 4% opposing it (Credit: Shutterstock)
79% of the public support onshore wind, with only 4% opposing it (Credit: Shutterstock)

A new survey of public attitudes towards renewables and climate change has revealed that 88% of people support the use of renewable energy – a new record high – and only 2% oppose it.

Data in the government’s latest Public Attitudes Tracker, conducted in the autumn and published today (15 December) by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), beats the previous record of 87%, set a year ago.

When asked about individual technologies, 85% of people supported offshore wind – another new record, beating the 2021 high of 84 – and just 2% oppose it. 79% support onshore wind, with only 4% opposing it. 84% support wave and tidal energy, while just 1% oppose it.

Three-quarters (74%) of people said renewable energy provides economic benefits to the UK. 

The percentage of people concerned about climate change remained high, at 83%, while the percentage who said they are ‘very concerned’ increased from 39% to 45%, perhaps reflecting increased awareness of the effects of climate change after record-breaking summer heatwaves and consistently above-average temperatures for most of the year.  

The poll also showed that awareness of the concept of net zero remained high, at 90%.

“Today’s polling shows unequivocally that the overwhelming majority of people want us to build more onshore and offshore wind farms to generate cheap power, increase our energy security and tackle climate change,” said Dan McGrail, chief executive of trade organisation RenewableUK.

“We need to maximise the range of our homegrown clean power sources to reach net zero and energy independence as fast as possible, so innovative technologies like floating wind, tidal stream and green hydrogen have important roles to play too.

“This sky-high level of public support needs to be reflected fully in government policy. This week Ministers have started publishing crucial details of the next auction for contracts to generate clean power and a consultation on future rounds beyond that. It’s vital that we secure as much new capacity as possible in each annual auction round at prices which are sustainable – and that we do so in a way which enables our supply chain to grow throughout the country.”

The latest BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker is available here.

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


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