Majority of Scots want Ministers to make renewables a priority

Renewables has come out top of a new poll that asked people in Scotland which energy source the next Scottish Government should prioritise.

As Scotland heads to the polls on May 5, the YouGov survey asked more than 1,000 respondents whether the next government should prioritise the continued development of renewables, extend the life of fossil fuel plants, use shale gas or build new nuclear power stations.

70% of those polled want to see more renewable energy such as wind, solar, wave and tidal, and two-thirds agreed that the next government should “continue to take forward policies that tackle greenhouse gas emissions and climate change”.

Only 19% said the next government should prioritise the use of fracking for shale gas while 42% said they should not prioritise building new or extending the life of fossil fuel power stations. 33% support new nuclear power plants being treated as a priority.

The poll, commissioned by Scottish Renewables, is published on the first day of the industry representative’s annual conference in Edinburgh.

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “The poll suggests that the people of Scotland continue to be strongly behind the growth of renewable energy, with support for the sector way ahead of any other.

“Just months after the Paris climate change agreement, the poll also shows clear support for Scotland’s next government to prioritise policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

When asked about their own household energy needs, respondents were given the option of picking from a list of renewable energy devices they would consider installing in or around their own homes. The most popular response was for solar PV panels (39%) followed by solar thermal panels (36%), wind turbines (21%), biomass boilers (20%), heat pumps (20%) and then small-scale hydro turbines (13%).

Of those who indicated they already had a renewable energy device installed, solar panels were most commonly featured along with biomass boilers and heat pumps.

Mr Stuart added: “While only 4% of the sample has small scale renewables at home, there is clear appetite amongst householders to generate their own renewable energy. More than a third of those surveyed saying they would consider solar panels to power or to heat their homes, and 20% interested in installing a wind turbine or biomass boiler.

“We will be continuing our work on the Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive to ensure that smaller scale renewables remain a viable investment for homeowners across Scotland.”