Consumer Support for Green Energy Drops

by | Mar 6, 2012

Consumer support for clean energy declined significantly between 2009 and 2011, according to a report by Pike Research.

The cleantech market intelligence firm’s annual Energy & Environment Consumer Survey found that the average percentage of consumers with an “extremely” or “very” favorable view of 13 clean energy concepts, ranging from renewable energy to alternative fuel vehicles, declined from 50 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2011, the report says.

Among the 13 clean energy concepts surveyed, biofuels suffered the largest decline in favorability, dropping 17 points from 56 percent in the 2009 edition of the survey to 39 percent by 2011.

In the 2011 survey, cap and trade came out as the concept with the least favorable support, while solar energy was the most popular. Just 14 percent of respondents had either a “very favorable” or “favorable” view of cap and trade in the 2011 survey, while solar energy was seen as “favorable” or “very favorable” by 77 percent of respondents.

Carbon offsets/credits garnered the largest percentage of “strongly unfavorable” or “somewhat unfavorable” views from survey participants, with a 25 percent unfavorable rating, followed closely by nuclear power with a 23 percent unfavorable rating.

However, exactly how much attention should be paid to consumers’ voices is a matter of contention.

France’s Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transportation and Housing recently asked consumers to vote for the business-related sustainability measurement, such as water pollution, water conservation or air pollution, that they saw as most important. Elaine Tassoni, communication and sustainability manager at Cascades Tissue Group, wrote in a column for Environmental Leader that allowing fickle customer concerns to dictate environmental priorities could prove dangerous.

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