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24/05/2021

Public support for onshore wind energy is ‘sky-high’

Words: Laura Edgar
Onshore wind farm / iStock-187030594

The public wants renewable energy to top the government’s agenda for green growth, with support for onshore wind schemes ‘sky-high’, according to the results of a survey.

Renewable energy should be prioritised over all other measures outlined in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's 10-point plan, announced in November 2020, the study discovered.

Measures that score highly with those polled included: investing £1 billion next year to make homes, schools and hospitals greener, and energy bills lower; ensuring that there is enough offshore capacity to power every home by 2030; turning water into energy with up to £500 million of investment in hydrogen; and harnessing nature’s ability to absorb carbon by planting 30,000 hectares of trees every year by 2025.

Commissioned by RenewableUK, the YouGov survey asked a weighted sample of 1,700 people to rank all 10 measures into their top five areas in which they think the government should be investing.

Five times as many people supported the prioritisation of renewable energy as their top choice than any other green industry.

The results reveal that support is particularly strong among respondents over the age of 65, with 75 per cent choosing renewable energy as one of their top three priorities for government investment.

Support for building onshore wind farms also scored highly at 70 per cent, with support at an equal level between those living within five miles of a wind farm as those living farther away.

A third (33 per cent) of respondents reported that they have a more positive opinion of onshore wind now than they did five years ago.

RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Melanie Onn said: “It’s great to see overwhelming public support for the government prioritising investment in renewable energy. This will in turn attract billions in private investment as well as creating thousands of high-quality green jobs.

“You can see the popularity of renewables reflected in attitudes to onshore wind. The popularity of this technology is sky-high, with a third of the country saying they like onshore wind more than they did five years ago.”

She explained that RenewableUK is urging ministers to recognise this public support for renewables by maximising investment in the UK’s ‘shovel-ready’ clean energy projects in the next round of Contracts for Difference auctions and setting targets for onshore wind, floating wind, renewable hydrogen and marine energy that are both ambitious and long term.

“Committing to clear milestones on the route to net-zero is the best way to show global leadership on climate change in the run-up to the COP26 summit, which the UK is hosting this year, as well as assuring our supply chain that the UK is the right place to invest,” she concluded. 


Read more:

Johnson sets out his 10-point plan for a green revolution


Image credit | iStock

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