Overall, 70% of EU citizens think renewable energy should be prioritised as an energy option for the next 30 years, a Eurobarometer has found. The survey, “attitudes of Europeans towards air quality” published earlier this year found that the 70% compares to just 9% for unconventional fossil fuels like shale gas, and 8% for conventional fossil fuels.
In all 27 EU Member States, “renewable energy sources in the most mentioned priority for energy options in the next 30 years,” the survey says.
The share of people favouring renewables over other sources rises to 82% in Portugal and 81% in Austria, Spain, Germany and Denmark. In only two EU countries did fewer than half of all respondents favour renewables – Bulgaria (45%) and Romania (49%), but in both countries renewables were still by far the most popular option.
A substantial three-quarters of respondents meanwhile said they “would be concerned if a shale gas project were to be located in their neighbourhood.” Only 7% would not be concerned at all. The highest percentage of concerned people were in France (89%), Germany (82%), Ireland, Luxembourg (both 81%) and Austria (80%). Poland is the only country where fewer than half of all respondents said they would not be concerned (49%) – the only EU country to display this result.
With just seven years left until the EU’s 2020 renewable energy target for a 20% share of renewables in the overall energy supply runs-out, the news is a timely reminder of the popularity of renewables to policy-makers working on post-2020 EU energy policy.
At the end of last month the European Commission published a green paper on a “2030 framework for climate and energy policies” which outlines 2030 targets as a key policy option. EWEA has long argued for a 2030 renewable energy policy to build on the success of the current target. Not only would it drive Europe to continue to make significant cuts to its greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs and boost energy security, but it would also allow for the sustained development of the wind energy sector by giving investors the clarity they need to make long-term investments.