Community Energy retains overwhelming backing of UK public and increased support among Conservative voters, survey finds.
An overwhelming majority of the public would support local renewable energy projects, including wind turbines, if they were owned and controlled by the community, according to new research from Co-operative Energy. This includes not just Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Party supporters, but also those who identify with the Conservative Party.
More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of the 2,000 UK adults polled said they would support local community-owned renewable energy projects such as wind turbines, with just 8% in opposition. Support among Conservative voters increased from 62% in 2015 to 65% in 2016.
A staggering 78 per cent of the public thought that the Government should do more ‘to help local communities generate their own energy, with profits staying in the area’. Just 6 percent opposed this. Again, support among Conservative voters increased, from 73% in 2015 to 76% in 2016.
The findings directly challenge the Government’s recent decisions to slash subsidies for small, local renewable energy schemes and to bar investors from access to social investment tax relief. Two-thirds (68%) of respondents say that they are prepared to pay a small surcharge each year on their energy bill to fund an expansion of community energy, with just 15% opposing this. While 58% believe that the Government should change its mind and once again offer tax relief to those individuals who take the risk of investing in community energy, with just 12% against. Backing for these measures was higher still among Conservative supporters.