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Public support for renewables continues to grow, hitting 87%

Of those surveyed, 80% supported onshore wind. Image: Thomas Reaubourg (Unsplash).

Of those surveyed, 80% supported onshore wind. Image: Thomas Reaubourg (Unsplash).

Support for renewables has continued to grow, with 87% of people in the UK now supporting the technologies.

According to new figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), just 1% of people now oppose renewables, while 11% neither support or oppose, 33% support and 54% strongly support.

This is up from BEIS’s public attitudes tracker in 2020, when 80% of people supported renewables and 3% opposed.

Solar remained the most popular renewable, with 90% of those surveyed supporting the technology. 85% supported wave and tidal energy, 84% offshore wind, 80% onshore wind and 72% biomass.

A higher proportion of men supported renewables – with 58% strongly supporting compared with 50% of women – as well as support declining with age, with 62% of those aged 16 to 24 strongly supporting while 50% of those 55 or over do.

Those who were educated to degree level were more likely to support renewables, with 93% supporting it compared to 86% of those with other qualifications and 78% of those with no qualification.

RenewableUK’s chief executive Dan McGrail said in response to the new polling that COP26 in Glasgow was a “landmark event which raised public awareness throughout this year to an even higher level about the need to act swiftly and decisively", meaning ramping up the rate of renewable deployment.

“To do this, we need the decision-making processes at every level of the planning system to be more agile and more responsive to the public’s clear demand for clean energy. The latest auction for new contracts to generate clean power which opened this week will be the biggest ever of its kind, helping us to take a huge step forward towards our climate change goals by securing a record amount of new capacity. If these auctions were held every year, rather than every two years, we would get there a great deal faster”.

The deployment of renewables is set for a boost, with the fourth Contracts for Difference auction offering £285 million of funding.

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