Consumer support of clean energy stabilizing

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The challenges faced by clean energy in 2012 were no secret -- solar bankruptcies, lack of energy policy and climate change action, expiring renewable subsidies -- and contributed to some skepticism among customers.

After a sharp decline from 2009 to 2011, consumer support for clean energy concepts has stabilized and could be facing a rebound in 2013. In a survey conducted by Pike Research, consumer opinions of clean energy concepts were generally positive.

"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 Pike Research 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."

Solar, wind, hybrid vehicles, and electric cars received the highest rate of favorable responses. Nuclear power earned the most unfavorable.

Survey respondents stated they had either a "very favorable" or "favorable" of the following:

  • 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

Click here for access to charts summarizing the survey results, along with commentary on notable trends and patterns for each area.

-- Barb