Survey finds support for solar power is strongest in Europe

Feb 06, 2006 01:00 AM

Developing the use of solar power is the single most popular goal for residents of Europe, according to a survey of 50,000 people.
When asked where national governments of the EU-25 should focus to reduce the current energy dependency, improvement of the use of renewables and more investments in research are seen as the main solutions, explains “Attitudes towards Energy” produced for Eurobarometer. The average for the EU-25 was 48 % for the development of solar, with another 31 % calling for development of wind energy.

Development of nuclear was supported by 12 % while 23 % supported regulations to reduce oil consumption. Another 41 % called for advanced research for new energy technologies such as hydrogen and clean coal. Respondents were asked for their top two solutions.
Support for solar was highest in Cyprus at 76 % and lowest in Lithuania at 16 %. The largest support for wind was 59 % in Denmark and lowest in Italy at 15 %. In Germany, 55 % supported solar and 26 % supported wind, while the levels were 43 % and 39 % in Britain, 50 % and 28 % in Spain, and 63 % and 38 % in France.

The question was stated: “To reduce our dependency on imported energy resources, governments have to choose from a list of alternatives, sometimes costly solutions,” In more than half of the countries, development of solar power is rated as the main focus while eight of the 25 countries said advanced research is the best way to tackle energy dependency.
The survey was conducted with 29,430 personal interviews in October and November, and released in January. Respondents in the Netherlands (62 %) and Denmark (61 %) preferred advanced research over solar or wind.

A majority (54 %) were not prepared to pay a premium for renewables, with opposition reaching 66 % in the EU-10 countries, while 27 % were prepared to pay more if the price increase remained below 5 %. Above that level, 27 % were supportive and 13 % backed a higher rise.
Tolerance of higher prices for renewables was highest in Slovakia at 76 % and lowest in Lithuania at 35 %. Males were more supportive of a price premium than women (42 % vs. 38 %), with support correlated with youth, education and urbanization.

Most respondents (47 %) preferred decisions on energy challenges to be made at the EU level, while 37 % want action at the national level and 8 % at the local level.
“The message from the citizens is a clear one; energy is a concern for all Europeans and people expect clear and concrete actions on all political levels,” says energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs. “Europe needs a real energy policy focused on security of supply, competitiveness and sustainability.”

Source: Refocus Weekly
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