British people back renewable energy

July 16, 2013

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has revealed that UK residents are supportive of changes in the energy system to make it more renewable.

That was one of the key findings from a new study conducted by the Universities of Cardiff and Nottingham, which also highlighted some of the main influences that the public cite for renewable change and what changes are favoured.

For example, the research discovered that the participants were in favour of changes that are: energy efficient rather than wasteful; protect the environment and nature; are reliable, accessible and safe; allow consumers a certain amount of autonomy and power; are socially just and fair; improve on what has gone before; score well in terms of quality and performance; and, fit with a long-term, sustainable trajectory, rather than being just a short-term fix.

The report entitled "Transforming the UK energy system – public values, attitudes and acceptability", compiled findings taken from two in-depth phases of research. Covering a period of 30 months, the study saw members of the public in England, Scotland and Wales attend a series of six in-depth workshops, in addition to a nationally representative survey of 2,441 people. 

It was revealed that 85 per cent of people supported solar power, with 81 per cent claiming they would like to reduce their energy consumption. 

Furthermore, 74 per cent of participants in the survey said they were either 'very' or 'fairly' concerned about climate change. Some 82 per cent of respondents said that the UK's over-dependence on fossil fuels was also a cause of concern. 

Leader of the research team Nick Pidgeon said: "Our participants saw the bigger picture of energy system transformation, and they were overwhelmingly committed to moving away from fossil fuels towards renewable forms of energy production, and to lowering energy demand.”

However, participants in the study were unaware or new technology, such as solar heat pumps, which could also help to cut carbon emissions and save consumers money on energy bills.

The introduction of the domestic Renewable Heat Initiative (RHI) is expected to increase the awareness of technologies such as this. 

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