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The Nation’s Favourite Energy Source?

According to research published by the Guardian, wind energy is the nation’s favourite energy source.

Despite the anti-wind policy supported by the Conservatives and the NIMBY brigade, the survey claims to have canvassed opinion from across the political, geographical and social spectrum and has seen wind energy given the ‘thumbs-up’.

The Guardian reports that rather than ‘blot on the landscape’ concerns, 48% of those asked said they would be happy to see a wind farm developed within 5 miles of their home.

Is this a sign of a new way of thinking about our energy needs and sources?

Not necessarily given the question was posed alongside the alternatives of a Coal-fired power station, a nuclear generator and localised fracking activity.

According to the survey:

  • Coal would receive 20% backing
  • Nuclear surprisingly higher at 27% backing
  • And the current bête noire of the energy industry fracking received backing of 19%

Given the biggest ‘fear’ of wind farms is ‘the view’, this pales in comparison to worries about the other sources, however unfounded, where they can evoke thoughts among the general public of smog, Chernobyl and earthquakes.

It’s hardly a surprise then that wind received a better reception when the alternatives carried such reputational issues.

Offshore wind fared even better than onshore with 55% of respondents supporting its deployment regardless of their proximity to the location. Presumably because they were less likely to see it and any issues would be ‘safely’ confined to the immediate seabed!

Despite the interesting slant put on the survey by the Guardian, perhaps the most telling, and relevant statistic was that 81% of respondents were concerned about the rise in cost of energy with only 52% having concern for carbon emissions.

Clearly therefore across the political, social and economic spectrum, the fundamental energy issue that remains at the forefront of peoples’ minds is cost regardless of the ultimate source (and location) of that energy.

Food for thought.

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