Consumers favor solar, wind as part of future energy portfolio
Public sentiment toward clean renewable energy has been all over the place in recent years, including down. However, favorable attitudes toward solar, wind, hybrid vehicles, and electric cars have rebounded significantly from 2012 levels, according to a new consumer survey from Navigant Research.
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The average favorability rating for the 10 concepts (solar, wind, nuclear, hybrid vehicles, electric cars, natural gas vehicles, biofuels, smart grid, smart meters, and LEED certification) also increased 51 percent -- the highest level seen in Navigant Research's annual survey since 2010.
"Between 2009 and 2012, there were steady declines in favorability for some clean energy concepts, particularly the most favorable concepts, such as solar energy, wind energy, and hybrid and electric vehicles," said Clint Wheelock, managing director with Navigant Research. "This year saw statistically significant increases in favorability for seven of the 10 concepts, and a decline for only one -- nuclear power."
Similarly high levels of favorable views of solar and wind energy indicate that consumers are generally supportive of the more established sources of renewable energy. Since these two concepts have retained their most favored status year after year, Navigant Research contends that consumers consider these renewable sources to be important pieces in the power generation portfolio of the future.
Specifically, nearly 80 percent of respondents favored the concept of solar energy, the highest in terms of favorability, followed by wind energy at 72 percent. Not only does solar energy possess the highest percentage of favorable opinions, but it received one of the lowest percentages of unfavorable opinions, at 6 percent, among all energy and environmental concepts covered. Further, half of respondents see solar energy as the least controversial of the green technologies. Nuclear power had the most unfavorable rating among respondents at 32 percent.
Navigant attributes solar energy's high level of consumer acceptance to its relatively long history in the market, strong renewable energy reputation, and the variety of applications that utilize solar energy.
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