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  • Overview
  • Nov '23
    Tracker data: The public and MPs overestimate opposition to local solar
  • Oct '23
    Communities near wind farms will receive £300 incentive
  • Public First: UK public backs a move towards energy independence.
  • Sep '23
    Labour Party confirms plans for GB Energy ahead of 2023 conference
  • Ipsos polling: Renewable energy infrastructure is a priority for Britons
  • More in Common: Oil & gas are no longer seen as reliable energy sources
  • Apr '23
    More in Common: Britain’s ‘quiet majority’ want less talk and more action on green energy
  • Nov '22
    Ipsos MORI polling: Britons want subsidies on environmentally friendly tech (but few want higher taxes on non-renewable energy sources)
  • Oct '22
    YouGov tracker: Wind power continues to be the most popular form of energy generation
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Renewables

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    Climate Barometer Tracker 22nd November 2023

    Tracker data: The public and MPs overestimate opposition to local solar

    Across all regions of the UK, people’s support for the construction of a new solar park in their area is overwhelming high (typically over three quarters support), and opposition is low (10% or less). Yet both the public and MPs tend to underestimate support, and overestimate opposition. This figure shows three waves of Climate Barometer polling of the public, between October 2022 to October 2023.

    Despite the overwhelming support from the public for the construction of a new solar park in their area, when asked if “other people” would support the new development, even the public underestimates support – and overestimates opposition. While support has hovered around 80% in favour, much lower numbers (39-45%) believe that, in their area, others support, than oppose a new solar farm.

    Even so, the public’s guess is closer than MPs: only around 30% tend to believe that in their constituency, “more would support than oppose” a new solar farm.

    Wider research suggests that a ‘quiet majority’ effect may explain why people think there is more opposition than there really is to solar energy. In focus groups, More in Common found that many people expressed a reluctance to voice their (majority) support for green energy developments, for fear of seeming confrontational in the face of louder (but minority) opposition.

    Played out in community after community, this hesitation to articulate support for solar and other forms of green energy is likely to be creating a false sense of where public opinion really sits.

    Policy Insight 19th October 2023

    Communities near wind farms will receive £300 incentive

    As part of relaxing planning rules around onshore wind developments, communities near wind farms will be offered incentives of £300

    Climate Barometer tracker data shows that onshore wind is a highly popular energy source, including a willingness to live near to a wind farm. However, public opinion has been misrepresented by Conservative MPs who significantly underestimate public support.

    Opinion Insight 5th October 2023

    Public First: UK public backs a move towards energy independence.

    Public First conducted a poll between 27 September and 2 October 2022 with a sample of 2,000 British adults, and ran four focus groups. They found:

    • People are worried about their livelihoods during the winter and want to hear a plan to ensure that the energy crisis never happens again.
    • Focus groups viewed energy independence as something that the UK should be striving to achieve.
    • Participants did not see independence as cutting the UK off from our neighbours – they wanted to maintain import routes – but were keen on the idea that the UK produces its own energy and were confident this would lower bills.
    • The UK public also continue to favour renewable technology over coal, oil and fracking – and believe that renewables will be cheaper in the long run as well as reducing our reliance on imports.
    Policy Insight 28th September 2023

    Labour Party confirms plans for GB Energy ahead of 2023 conference

    The Labour Party has pledged to create Great British Energy, a new, publicly-owned clean energy company to make the UK ‘energy independent’ and deliver 100% clean energy by 2030.

    • Source: The Labour Party
    • Date: 28th September 2023
    Opinion Insight 25th September 2023

    Ipsos polling: Renewable energy infrastructure is a priority for Britons

    Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are among the most popular forms of energy generation among Britons. Among energy sources, solar and wind are regarded as producing the lowest emissions, and having the greatest impact when it comes to tackling climate change.

    Ipsos polling shows that Britons feel split about the current quality of renewable energy infrastructure in the UK (solar/wind), with 48% rating it as very/fairly good, and 39% rating it as very/fairly poor. 

    The majority (70%) feel that infrastructure in Britain has not been adapted enough to cope with future changes in climate, and 65% of Britons feel that infrastructure isn’t being built quickly enough. Britons are also less resistant to increasing spending on infrastructure than citizens of other countries, even if it means higher taxes or more government borrowing. According to the public, solar energy infrastructure should be among the highest priorities for Britain’s investment (40%). 

    In fact, a separate poll by Ipsos shows that renewable energy features highly among the priorities for Britain, with wind and solar featuring as one of the top five “most in need of improvement” areas of Britain’s infrastructure, alongside roads, schools, hospitals, courthouses, as well as housing, and water supply/sewerage.

    From the Climate Community 19th September 2023

    More in Common: Oil & gas are no longer seen as reliable energy sources

    For a long time, an argument made in favour of fossil fuels (and against supposedly ‘intermittent’ renewables) was that oil and gas could provide a secure, reliable source of energy.

    But as familiarity with renewables (and confidence in them) has increased, so have perceptions of the reliability of solar and wind power. At the same time, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the instability that subsequently rippled through the global energy system, doubts are growing among the public that oil and gas are in fact secure, reliable sources of energy.

    This is a significant shift – and could be what ultimately underpins a faster transition away from oil and gas. At a time of global insecurity, energy sources that can provide reliable (and ‘hoegrown’) energy become even more attractive. As Luke Tryl, UK Director at More in Common writes, message testing is showing renewables, not oil and gas, winning out in terms of being a secure and reliable source of energy:

    There has been a shift in how we view energy security towards renewables – message testing on anti-oil and gas arguments finds strong support for the idea they’re getting more expensive – & particularly for Loyal Nationals (Red Wall voters) the dependence on Putin worries people.

    From the Climate Community 20th April 2023

    More in Common: Britain’s ‘quiet majority’ want less talk and more action on green energy

    The image of Britain “split down the middle” on issues of local renewable development projects is not, according to research by More in Common, an accurate depiction of public opinion.

    In focus groups with communities in two regions where green energy developments have been presented as contentious and controversial in local media, they report that:

    “Most Brits are balancers, tired of the loudest voices dominating debates, and eager for us just to get on with it quietly, less talk, less fuss and more action.”

    While renewable energy projects are often positioned as controversial, and do attract some loud minority opposition, these conversations suggested people were often not aware of planned developments, and were typically broadly supportive when offered the chance to reflect on them.

    • Source: More in Common
    • Author: Conleth Burns
    • Date: 20th April 2023
    Opinion Insight 3rd November 2022

    Ipsos MORI polling: Britons want subsidies on environmentally friendly tech (but few want higher taxes on non-renewable energy sources)

    In a poll of 34 countries, Britons are the most supportive of government subsidies for renewables, with 65% in favour. However, higher taxes on gas and oil were nowhere near as popular, likely reflecting ongoing concerns about the cost of living, and an illustration of the nuanced views that the public holds on phasing out oil and gas.

    Opinion Insight 15th October 2022

    YouGov tracker: Wind power continues to be the most popular form of energy generation

    It is a line graph, where the vertical axis is percentage of support for various forms of energy generation, and the horizontal axis represents time, from August 2019 to May 2023. Wind power is consistently the most supported energy source over this time period, with nuclear overtaking solar in second place in recent years. Gas and coal power are consistently low over time.

    YouGov’s biannual tracker of support for various forms of energy generation shows that wind and solar have had the highest support since 2019, with nuclear overtaking solar in recent years. Coal and gas receive consistently low support over time.

    Methodology Note: These percentages are lower than other surveys that measure support for different forms of energy generation individually. This survey requires that people choose one out of all options, rather than asking people outright whether they support any particular energy generation source.

    • Source: yougov.co.uk
    • Author: YouGov
    • Date: 1st August 2019

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