In the New Energy World Survey by Accenture 89% of the 9000 respondents around the world believe that it is important to reduce their country’s reliance on fossil fuels, and two-thirds believe that the best solution is to develop renewable energy sources rather than using less energy.
It revelas that 90% of consumers are concerned by rising energy costs while 76% worry about the prospect of energy shortages. Climate change and local air pollution are concerns for 83% and 80%, respectively, with 77% are concerned about their country’s reliance on other countries to provide fossil fuels.
“We cannot address climate change or energy security unless we both create new sources of clean energy and reduce consumer demand,” explains Sander van ’t Noordende of Accenture. “But our survey shows that consumers do not think lower energy use is a priority.
“It will take many years before renewable alternatives come fully on stream; until they do, governments and energy companies will have to find creative ways to transform consumer habits and improve energy efficiency.”
Government should lead on energy challenges and renewable energy
When asked who should lead on taking actions to address energy challenges such as adding more renewable energy, 21% of respondents say energy companies but 45% think governments and political leaders should take the lead, and 24% want consumers to lead.
The majority of consumers (85%) think more government control and intervention is required to address energy challenges including implementing more renewable sources, with the most important government actions involving control of energy prices (54%), incentives for new technologies (51%) and investment decisions regarding the development of sources of low-carbon and renewable energy (41%).
Lack of comfort with foreign-owned energy firms
Consumers prefer energy to be provided from domestically-owned companies, the survey notes, with 72% stating that they are not comfortable with foreign-controlled energy companies. Sentiment against foreign ownership is strongest in the Netherlands (88%), the United States and Italy (81%), while consumers in Spain (60%), the Middle East (53%) and India (33%) are least worried by foreign ownership.
The survey also shows that consumers do not trust energy companies, with only 22% of respondents unreservedly trusting energy companies to take actions to address energy challenges. One-third do not trust them to do so and 46% trust them only if they have direction from governments.
Accenture did not release the wording of the poll, and critics suggest the wording may have influenced consumers to respond that they want more ways to use energy rather than be restricted in their own consumption pattern.
The study is based on an online survey conducted in native languages with 9005 consumers in 22 countries last November. The sample included 1500 in North America, 3502 in Western Europe, and 500 each in Australia, Japan, China, India, South Korea, the Middle East, Brazil and Mexico.