Despite Conservative-backed budget Cuts, Public Continues to Express Support for Renewable Energies
After past fluctuations, solar power has once again topped the polls in popularity when it comes to renewable energy options within the UK.
The findings were released by both Good Energy and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and show that 75% of the individuals polled favored solar energy while just 6% oppose it.
The DECC has released more than a dozen polls that look at the public’s opinion on renewable energy, and this latest one continues to add more pull in favor of how the public views the potential of solar power.
Non-renewable energy methods, such as the increasingly notorious water fracturing (or fracking) is losing the ground of public support, as was shown in the DECC poll. While 28% said that they oppose the controversial method, only 3% stated their support.
The DECC’s findings are in line with another poll released by British energy company Good Energy, which asked 2,000 people about their opinions of renewable energy options. One of the most major figures is similar to that of the findings by the DECC, where just 4% of those asked were against renewable sources, although their reasoning was not reported.
Despite the clear public support for the UK to continue exploring renewable options, the Conservatives don’t seem keen on listening. As was pointed out by several news outlets, it was just last month that subsidy cuts were put in place by the ruling party under a consultation within the Renewables Obligation.
This original legislation was put in place in the early 2000s, eventually spreading to Scotland in 2002 and Northern Ireland in 2005.
It is interesting then that the DECC conducted their poll just a month after this consultation was put in place, which almost indicates that the government is expressing little interest in additional investments within the renewable sector. It has been pointed out that the cuts have essentially decimated the investment power for the time-being.
To make things worse, the DECC has proposed ending the grandfathering (i.e., guaranteeing lifelong subsidies) of solar projects that produce 5MW of power or below.
While the DECC should at least be commended for taking the time to poll (and actually publish) the findings of public support for renewable energy, it is certainly understandable why the public and green energy proponents would express their dismay at the retroactive decisions currently being made by the Conservatives.
Although expected, the total solar output in the UK in Q2 was a mere 254MW compared to the 2.53GW generated in Q1. These numbers are seasonal and not necessarily related to any policies put in place.
Michael Cartier is a North Carolina-based digital strategist and writer on solar energy for SunRun and SolarCity.