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UK poll reveals public support for community renewables

More than three quarters of UK households would support renewable energy projects such as wind turbines and solar farms if the profits generated benefitted the local community, has reported.

Co-operative Energy polled 2000 UK adults in order to reveal public attitudes on community projects in the wake of the Government’s decision to consult on subsidy withdrawals for community energy generation investment.

Co-operative Energy general manager Ramsay Dunning said: “The overwhelming picture from our poll is that the British public support renewable, and most importantly, community energy generation. Therefore the Government’s decision to withdraw its support from the renewable sector is extremely disappointing and at odds with popular opinion.

“Not only is support for onshore wind and solar as strong as ever but people actually want to be involved in local, community-owned projects in their own backyard.

“There is a real appetite amongst the general public alike to see renewable energy grow and prosper, but with more emphasis on community energy schemes which allow local communities to share the rewards.

“Any changes to the UK’s flagship Feed-in Tariff Scheme should allow for continuation of the UK’s community energy revolution.”

The poll revealed that 78% would support local projects within two miles of their home. Solar proved the most popular form of electricity generation with 30% saying it would be their preferred source of energy and 65% saying they would support a local solar farm.

Wind turbines also proved popular with 53% of households supporting the construction of turbines. Shale gas was the least preferred method of energy generation at 2% public support.

Age was a significant factor for supporting renewable schemes, in particular onshore wind projects. The poll found that 62% of people aged 18-24 supported the projects compared to 43% of over-65s.

The news follows the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change announcement stating that five out of six proposed energy infrastructure projects set for Powys, in Mid-Wales have been rejected.

Of the six submissions, only the Llandinam onshore wind farm repowering was given consent.

“Careful consideration has been given to each application, and the planning and energy issues involved,” said a DECC spokesperson.

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