A recent Ipsos-Mori poll found that 43% see the UK subsidy for wind power as good value for money against 18% who do not. Another survey has also found a big majority in favour of renewable energy.
The subject of wind energy can become noisily controversial with local concerns over wind farm applications being weighed against the wider considerations of UK’s energy mix in the future. Those who criticise wind farms rarely offer alternatives or turn a blind eye to the risks and costs of the alternatives.
For example, progress of new nuclear generation has stalled in the UK as the Government can’t commit the taxpayer to fund the cost of dealing with nuclear waste for 100,000 years or more, while the plants themselves operate for only 40 to 50 years. If someone wanted to build, run and decommission a nuclear plant in the UK, they could, subject to planning consent. Fracking technology is being tested in the UK and could solve short-term issues with gas supply, but again the technology has been controversial.
Ipsos-Mori asked a representative sample of just over 1,000 adults to what extent they favoured wind power.
Sixty-six per cent were either “strongly in favour of” or “tended to favour” the technology, against just 8% who were opposed.
Two-thirds also found turbines’ impact on the landscape acceptable.
Clean energy development is subsidised through the Renewables Obligation, which obliges electricity companies to buy a certain amount of their electricity from renewable sources.
According to the regulator Ofgem, the cost of this in 2010-11 amounted to £15.15 per household per year. Just over half – £7.74 – was accounted for by wind power.
Ipsos-Mori asked people “to what extent do you consider this good or poor value for UK energy consumers?”
RenewableUK has just released the responses to this question – 43% thought it was either “very good” or “fairly good” value, against 18% who found it “fairly poor” or “very poor”.
Asked why they approved of wind power, a majority of respondents said it helps curb greenhouse gas emissions, helps tackle climate change, and contributes to the UK’s energy security.
“The misleading refrain that wind energy is an expensive burden on the public was disproved by recent figures from Ofgem,” said Maria McCaffery, Renewable UK’s chief executive.
For more information see this article by Robert Black: Public back wind farm subsidies, survey suggest