According to a new white paper from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, after declining sharply from 2009 to 2011, consumer support for clean energy concepts has essentially stabilized. The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults conducted in the fall of 2012 found that the average percentage of consumers with a “very favorable” or “favorable” view of 13 clean energy concepts stands at 42 percent.
“Following a period of declining consumer favorability for clean energy in the past few years, there were relatively few changes in our survey responses from 2011 to 2012,” said managing director Clint Wheelock.
“Many in the general public have already formed opinions about energy and environmental topics, and these views are holding steady despite the challenges in the space. In addition, despite efforts to educate consumers about the benefits of these energy and environmental topics, attitudes about these topics are slow or difficult to change.”
The exceptions, adds Wheelock, were that consumer support for four clean energy concepts fell significantly between 2011 and 2012. This dip in favorability affected the four most popular clean energy categories: solar energy, wind energy, hybrid vehicles, and electric cars.
Among the 13 clean energy concepts, consumer opinions of the clean energy concepts were generally the most positive; all four concepts received favorable responses from at least 40 percent of the respondents. Nuclear power also earned the highest percentage of unfavorable and neutral responses among all energy and environmental concepts. These results have held steady year over year.
The percentages of survey respondents stating that they had either a “very favorable” or “favorable” view for each of the 13 concepts in 2012 were as follows:
Solar Energy: 69 percent
Wind Energy: 66 percent
Hybrid Vehicles: 61 percent
Electric Cars: 49 percent
Natural Gas Cars: 49 percent
Clean Coal: 42 percent
Nuclear Power: 41 percent
Biofuels: 39 percent
Smart Meters: 39 percent
Smart Grid: 36 percent
Carbon Offsets/Credits: 21 percent
LEED Certification: 20 percent
Cap and Trade: 15 percent