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Report: Consumer support for wind, solar dropped in 2012

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According to the Energy and Environment Consumer Survey, a white paper released today by Navigant Research, favorable impressions of solar energy fell from 77 percent in 2011 to 69 percent in 2012. Wind energy suffered a similar drop from 77 percent to 69 percent.

"Since 2009, there have been steady declines in favorability for some clean energy concepts, particularly the areas that have traditionally enjoyed strong consumer support such as solar energy, wind energy, hybrid vehicles, and electric cars," says Clint Wheelock, managing director with Navigant Research.  "Overall, support for clean energy concepts in our tracking survey held fairly steady from 2011 to 2012, but the decline for solar energy in particular was significant."

The only sources of energy polled that were scored favorably by a majority were solar energy, wind energy and hybrid vehicles. Electric vehicle favorability dropped below 50 percent for the first time since the survey began in 2009.

Nationwide support for clean coal technology was at 42 percent. Cap and trade had the lowest favorability ranking at 15 percent.

The following are the reported percentages of those reporting they had a favorable or very favorable view of the concept:

  • Solar Energy:  69%
  • Wind Energy:  66%
  • Hybrid Vehicles:  61%
  • Electric Cars:  49%
  • Natural Gas Cars:  49%
  • Clean Coal:  42%
  • Nuclear Power:  41%
  • Biofuels:  39%
  • Smart Meters:  39%
  • Smart Grid:  36%
  • Carbon Offsets/Credits:  21%
  • LEED Certification:  20%
  • Cap and Trade:  15%