Public attitudes toward clean and renewable energy concepts have tended to fluctuate and, in several cases, decline. According to a new consumer survey from Navigant Research, favorable attitudes for a number of these concepts – particularly solar energy, wind energy, hybrid vehicles and electric cars – have rebounded significantly from their 2012 levels.
Close to 80% of respondents favored the concept of solar energy – which led all concepts in favorable responses – followed by wind energy at 72%.
The average favorability rating for the 10 concepts that fall under the categories of clean energy, clean transportation, smart grid and building efficiency also rose to 51% – 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,’ says Clint Wheelock, managing director with Navigant Research. ‘ saw statistically significant increases in favorability for seven of the 10 concepts, and a decline for only one – nuclear power.’
The survey of 1,084 U.S. adults was conducted in fall 2013, and asked respondents to provide their level of favorability for the following key concepts:
- Solar energy
- Wind energy
- Nuclear power
- Hybrid vehicles
- Electric cars
- Natural gas vehicles
- Smart grid
- Smart meters
- LEED certification
According to the Navigant survey, the similarly high levels of favorable views toward solar and wind energy indicate that consumers are generally supportive of the more established renewable energies that harness naturally occurring power sources. Since these two concepts have retained their most favored status year after year, Navigant Research asserts that consumers consider these renewable energies to be important pieces in the power generation portfolio of the future.