Nine in ten people in France are in favour of renewable energy, a survey published on Thursday in Le Monde’s annual special publication Le Bilan du monde found, largely because of their clean and non-polluting image. Moreover, 63% of those surveyed said they think that more renewables will be used than traditional fuels in 50 years’ time.
However, only half of those surveyed consider renewable energies to be a cheap energy option and some 68% said the biggest obstacle to the development of renewables is their cost. 26% said wind farm aesthetics was the biggest hurdle, but 68% said they would accept the installation of wind turbines in their district with 45% of the 68% saying they would also accept turbines in their line of vision.
When it comes to wind energy, onshore wind is already competitive with traditional fossil fuels – a fact those surveyed do not seem to be aware of. Offshore wind meanwhile is more expensive than fossil fuels – although the cost is falling – and considerably cheaper than nuclear.
Last year, Delphine Batho, French Minister of Ecology, launched a national debate on France’s energy transition and a new energy law is expected at the end of this year. In September 2012 Batho promised her government will set stable rules for renewables.
However, the survey published in Le Bilan du monde revealed that 79% had not heard of the national debate on energy, and seven out of ten respondents felt that the French government did not dedicate enough time to energy matters.
Meanwhile, 77% of the population said they did not consider nuclear to be a renewable energy – leaving a relatively large amount perhaps unaware of the fact that nuclear uses fuel, the most common being uranium mined from countries including Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia, Namibia and Russia.