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Australians prefer renewable energy over nuclear

An opinion survey in Australia has shown overwhelming public support for the government to focus support on wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.

When asked to choose between supporting development of renewable energy or nuclear, four of five respondents favoured greater priority by government to the development of renewable energy, according to the Newspoll of 1205 adults commissioned by the Clean Energy Council (CEC).

“This confirms what we have thought for some time - you need to exhaust every other alternative before talking about nuclear energy as a climate change solution for Australia,” says Matthew Warren of CEC.

“The answers in this poll show that some people may express support for nuclear power in principle, but four out of every five people would prefer to see an effective renewable energy strategy as a priority.”

“We need to see what renewable technologies can achieve over the next decade,” he adds. “Renewables have enormous potential, but we still have a lot of work to do to find out how much energy they can deliver and at what cost.”

Respondents were asked two questions: the first was to baseline their support individually for each source of energy, and the second was to gauge whether they thought the government should give a greater priority to the support of renewable energy or nuclear.

There was broad acceptance for developing alternative energy sources, with 93% supporting federal government support for the development of renewable energy and 49% supporting the development of nuclear. When asked which of the two options they prefer, 80% said government should give priority to renewable energy while 15% favoured priority to nuclear.

Of respondents under the age of 50, 86% prefer renewable energy over nuclear, but this drops to 71% for people over 50. On gender, 22% of males believe greater priority should be given to nuclear compared with 8% of support from women.

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