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Europeans support new wind and solar projects in their local area

20.10.2021

New YouGov polling commissioned by the European Climate Foundation has revealed massive public support for new wind and solar power projects.

Previous polling has consistently shown wide public support for wind and solar, but this new data underlines that Europeans not only want a lot more renewable energy, but they also want greater control over it at the local level, and when they are exposed to renewable energy in their communities, they become even more supportive of it.

Across Europe, 86% of people questioned said they would support new wind and solar projects near to where they live. They also expressed a strong interest in joining a local energy cooperative and supported government measures to accelerate the rollout of wind and solar power. 

This is in a nutshell what is revealed in a recent poll conducted in 10 European countries (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria) to better understand the public support for wind and solar.

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Key findings

  • 86% of people questioned said they would support new wind and solar projects being built near to where they live.[1]
  • 70% of those questioned support new wind turbines in their area.[2]
  • Support for building new wind farms and solar parks is higher among people who already live near one in every single country. 
  • In contrast, 65% of Europeans oppose the construction of a new nuclear power station and 67% oppose a new oil- or gas-fired power plant being built near to where they live.
  • A majority of people support requiring all new buildings to have solar panels in all counties (68%). The highest support for this measure was in Italy (84%), Spain (83%), Greece (77%), Bulgaria (74%), the UK (70%) and Romania (70%).  
  • Across Europe, 61% of those questioned said they would be likely to join an energy cooperative if one was set up in their local area. Support was highest in Romania (85%), Italy (75%), Bulgaria (75%), Poland (74%), Greece (71%) and Spain (69%).
  • Only 18% of Europeans think their government is doing “all they realistically can to tackle climate change”. 

[1] People who would support the construction of at least one of the following in their area: new onshore wind (62%), new offshore wind (62%), a new solar park (73%) and new solar panels on buildings (81%).
[2] People who would support the construction of at least one of the following in their area: new onshore wind (62%) and new offshore wind (62%).

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 10547 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 24th September – 6th October 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK, French, Italian, German, Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek, Polish, Czech and Spanish adults (aged 18+).