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Poll finds 51% of UK public want more investment in renewables

A poll by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on UK energy policy has found that 51% of people think the government should support the construction of more renewable energy sources like solar, wave and tidal power.

The people polled were asked about what types of technology they would favour to secure future energy supplies. Renewable energy sources like solar, wave and tidal power were the most popular, with 51% of people saying the Government should provide more support for these projects.

43% said there should be more support for offshore wind farms, 31% for onshore wind farms; while as few as 8% supported more gas-fired power stations.

The poll of over 2,000 members of the public also found that 33% of people would consider personally investing in small-scale community renewable projects like wind farms, solar farms or small-scale biomass plants.

Of the people surveyed, 25% said they would consider investing in Energy Bonds where money would be used to build large energy infrastructure projects like nuclear power stations or large offshore wind farms.

The poll also revealed significant concern over the UK's direction – 64% of the public is concerned about possible blackouts, and that 93% are worried about higher electricity and gas bills.

“These results show there is a severe lack of public confidence in the Government’s confused energy policy,” said Dr Tim Fox, Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

“There are clear concerns that there is an insufficient amount of investment in new energy infrastructure and that the UK faces a future of high energy prices for consumers and possible blackouts. Confidence in Government energy policy has been damaged by its mixed messages on low-carbon energy policy and uncertainty over its support for a new nuclear build programme,” added Fox.

“Government must stop playing politics with our energy system and the environment and make clear exactly how it is going to ensure that the country’s future needs are affordably met,” said Fox. “It is only with this clarity that energy companies will have the confidence to invest in the infrastructure needed to keep the nation warm, lit, moving and working.”

This poll follows the publication of another Institution poll on 28 May which found that 43% of the public would support a Government subsidy for the construction of new nuclear power in the UK – which compares with just 28% who said they would not.

The poll of 2,034 people was carried out by ICM, on behalf of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, on 3-6 May.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling  •  Wave and tidal energy  •  Wind power