DECC publishes 12th survey on renewable energy public attitudes

By Katie Fletcher | February 10, 2015

The U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change recently published its findings from an updated survey that tracks public attitudes towards renewable energy.

Beginning in early 2012, the DECC deployed a tracking survey to understand and monitor public attitudes to the department’s main business priorities. The survey circulates four times a year, consisting of one long, annual survey and three short, quarterly surveys, which are designed to gather attitudes that may shift quickly affected by seasonal changes.

This is now the DECC’s 12th wave of data collected on the topic, with each survey building on questions from the last. According to the survey results, wave 12 is broadly consistent with waves one through 11 and largely unchanged since the two previous waves in September 2014 and June 2014. 

Wave 12 was collected between Dec. 10 and Jan. 8 using face-to-face interviews with U.K. adults 16 years of age or older from 2,119 households. The survey shows that renewable energy sources continue to receive high levels of support. Over three quarters of U.K. adults, or 76 percent, support the use of renewables to generate electricity, fuel and heat in the U.K. This compares to 78 percent in September 2014 and 77 percent in December 2013. Specifically the support for biomass represents a slight increase at 65 percent, up from 60 percent in December 2013.

The survey also asked questions related to time, awareness and support of various renewable heat options, which have overall remained fairly stable since first asked in June 2012. Seventy-six percent of respondents were aware of renewable heat, and the proportion of those who are positive about having a renewable heating system in their home is 42 percent. The proportions of those who had already installed renewable technology, were in the process of installing or considering installing remained largely consistent across various units. Biomass boilers were at 2 percent.

The questionnaire gathered attitudes on energy savings and security. The proportion of people who think about saving energy remains stable. The survey shares that three quarters of people, 74 percent, gave a lot or fair amount of thought to saving energy in their home.

Data shows that concerns over paying energy bills has dipped to the lowest level since the survey began, with 31 percent concerned compared to 34 percent in September and 47 percent in December 2013. On the other hand, trust in suppliers is at 67 percent across the different renewable energy sources, the highest level since the survey began.

Another finding with the wave-12 survey is that concern over steep rises in energy prices in the future remains stable at 76 percent when compared to reports since June 2014. Forty-nine percent of people were concerned about power cuts becoming more frequent in the future, which is down from 54 percent in December 2013.

All of the statistics on the wave-12 public attitudes tracking survey can be found here, including the summary of key findings, questionnaire, headline findings and dataset. Copies of the previous 11 surveys are also available at the bottom of the page.