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Public support for renewable energy at all-time high

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New official research into public attitudes toward energy has revealed that renewable power sources are growing in popularity among members of the public.

According to the latest public attitudes tracker from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), 82 per cent of the public now support renewable power generation – up from 77 per cent recorded in the last quarterly survey.

Meanwhile, over that same period, public support for controversial shale gas fracking has fallen substantially, BEIS’ report reveals.

Its latest survey, which interviewed more than 2,000 UK households, found that public support for fracking had fallen to a record low of 13 per cent.

Of those respondents that said they supported renewable power generation going forward, solar energy was found to be the ‘favourite’ energy source, backed by 84 per cent of people.

This is in comparison with 79 per cent for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, 74 per cent for onshore wind and 69 per cent for biomass.

Commenting on the data, James Court, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the Renewable Energy Association, said: “Following an extraordinary year for the industry, seeing record highs for generation and dramatic falls in prices, it is not surprising that public support for renewables has risen and is the most popular form of generation.

“We now need the Government to see what the public have seen and take the brake off this sector,” he said.

He voiced concerns that “cheap forms of renewable power” are still unjustly “blocked to market,” while the likes of nuclear and gas power are still receiving support from the Government.

Emma Pinchbeck, Executive Director of RenewableUK, added: “Onshore wind is the cheapest way to generate power and there is clear public support for this technology, which can keep consumer bills low. In many parts of the UK new wind farms that have public support are currently blocked from competing in the market.

“An overwhelming 82 per cent of people support developing all types of renewable energy – so when it comes to reaching out to voters, renewable energy is an issue that matters.”