Polls reveal citizens' support for Energiewende

The German public remains strongly in support of the transition to a low-carbon and nuclear-free economy. This factsheet provides a summary of recent polls measuring citizens' acceptance of the project. [Update integrates ServiceRating survey]

"Public perception of the Energiewende" by the Universities of Stuttgart and Münster in cooperation with Fraunhofer ISI and ISE

Published: October 2016
Pollster: TNS Emnid

Key phrasing for measuring citizens’ support for Energiewende: “We need a resolute switch to renewable energies.”

Fully agree 33%
Agree somewhat 27%
Partly agree/disagree 23%
Disagree somewhat 13%
Fully disagree 5% *

*Numbers add up to 101%, like in the survey report.

The 2,009 telephone interviews for this survey were conducted in May and June 2015. A majority of participants generally supports Germany’s Energiewende, but there are different “acceptance groups” to be made out. 29 percent of the participants could be classified as energy transition “supporters”, 29 percent as having ambivalent opinions (“undecided”) and another 27 percent as “critics” of the Energiewende, each group with a complex set of characteristics. Four factors were central to how people viewed the energy transition and how willing they were to invest in the project: trust in actors like utilities or the federal government, benefit-risk calculations, acceptance of the relevant technology, and fairness.

Find an extensive report on the poll results in German here.


"Energy Monitor" by utility association BDEW

Published: May 2016
Forschungsgruppe Wahlen

Key phrasing for measuring citizens' support for Energiewende: "The Energiewende is..."

  2016 2015 2014 2013
Very important
57% 50% 49% 47%
Important 36% 40% 40% 43%
less important 5% 7% 10% 8%
not at all important 1% 2% 1% 1%




For this survey, 1,013 adults were interviewed in late January and early February. 67 percent of respondents also said the energy transition was advantageous to Germany as a business location. 14 percent said the Energiewende brings them personal disadvantages. More than two thirds expect electricity prices to rise if power comes from renewables. But a majority (55 percent) believe the transition to renewables is advancing too slowly, blaming politics, high costs and a blockade by the utilities for the delay. Only 8 percent said renewable development was too fast.

Find the poll in German here.


Survey by the Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster

Published: February 2016

Key phrasing for measuring citizens' support for Energiewende: "Do you believe the decision to exit nuclear power and to move to renewable energies was the right decision from today's perspective?"

  Total North South
Yes 74% 80% 72%
No 21% 16% 23%

For this representative survey, pollster forsa interviewed 1,575 people in January 2016. 60 percent of respondents living in Northern Germany said they would prefer to use electricity produced in their region, but only 55 percent of those living in the south. 68 percent of those asked said they would agree to the construction of wind farms near their home, while 29 percent would object. People saw the construction of powerlines more critical: 52 percent said they would agree to having an overland line built near their home, while 41 percent would object.

Find the poll in German here.


“German Energy Compass” from Innovationsforum Energiewende (IG BCE)

Last published:  January 2015
Pollster: TNS Infratest for IG BCE

Key phrasing for measuring citizens’ support for Energiewende: “How do you evaluate the decision for the Energiewende from today’s perspective? Was this decision…”

  2012 2013 2014 2015
Very good / good 66% 68% 60% 57%
Moderate n.a. 21% 26% 29%
Bad / very bad n.a. 9% 11% 11%


 TNS Infratest now conducts this formerly annual poll three times per year. For the representative survey, 1,000 people aged 18 or over, as well as around 250 companies, are interviewed­­­­­­­. Its last survey revealed that people who consider themselves well-informed about the Energiewende are considerably more in favour of the project (64 percent versus the average of 57 percent). But of the total, only 19 percent were happy with the government’s current implementation of the project and only 26 percent considered companies’ efforts “very good” or “good”. Of the companies polled, 57 percent thought the Energiewende was a “very good” or “good” decision, but they were even more critical of government measures, with an approval rating of only 9 percent.

Find the poll in German here.


“Acceptance Survey” (AEE)

Last published: September 2016
Pollster: TNS Emnid for Renewable Energies Agency

Key phrasing for measuring citizens’ support for Energiewende: “Increased use and expansion of renewable energy is…”

  2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Extremely / very important 70% 66% 70% 66% 66%
24% 27% 22% 27% 27%
Less important / not important at all    
6% 6% 7% 6% 6%


 For this yearly representative survey, TNS Emnid polls around 1,000 people aged 14 and over. The Renewable Energies Agency adds up the categories “extremely important”, “very important” and “important” to arrive at its headline finding that “93 percent of the German population support further expanding renewable energy.” It also found broad support for renewable energy installations in interviewees’ direct neighbourhoods, which increased further if respondents already had experience with such installations in their neighbourhood. 54 percent of respondents considered the energy surcharge adequate, 6 percent believed it was too low, and 36 percent thought it was too high.

Find the poll in English here.


“Trendmonitor” from Stiebel Eltron

Last published: August 2016

Pollster: bevölkerungsrepräsentativ

Key phrasing for measuring citizens’ support for Energiewende: “I am generally in favour of the principles behind the Energiewende, but the costs for private consumers are too high”

  2014 2015
Agree 85% 88%
Disagree 15% 12%

This poll is based on an online survey with 1,000 participants for the 2014 and 2016 polls and 2000 for the 2015 edition. For the 2016 survey, the phrasing of the questions changed. Key phrasing for citizens' support for the Energiewende now was: "I am content with how the Energiewende in Germany has progressed."

Fully agree 7.59%
Agree somewhat 25.58%
Disagree somewhat 38.13%
Fully disagree 19.65%
Cannot rate 9.05%

In the last survey, 68.87 percent agreed with the statement "I have the impression that the Energiewende's progress is too slow." 71.98 percent of participants said that they wanted to become more independent from large energy businesses by generating power themselves.

See excerpts of the poll in German here



Published: March 2015

Key phrasing for measuring citizens’ support for Energiewende: “Which of the following statements best reflects your opinion about the Energiewende in Germany, i.e. the switch from nuclear and coal to renewable energy sources?”

I believe the Energiewende is the right strategy at this point. I also believe it is already on the right track 32%
I believe the Energiewende is the right strategy at this point. But I also believe it still requires major corrections 49%
I believe the Energiewende is the right strategy in principle, but I think it is too radical/comes too early 11%
I don’t think much of the Energiewende and believe Germany would be principally better supplied with nuclear power and/or coal-generated power 8%

More than 1,000 people aged 18 and above were polled. Business consultancy PwC added up the first three categories to arrive at its conclusion that “92 percent of Germans think (the Energiewende) was a right decision.” It also found that 95 percent of Germans do not believe an increasing supply with renewables would lead to more widespread blackouts. The most important reason given in support of the Energiewende was (only a single choice possible): The phase-out of nuclear because it is dangerous (43 percent), the switch to renewables because fossil fuels will run out (27 percent), a reduction of CO2 emissions (18 percent).



"Energy World East 2016" by regional utility enviaM

Published: April 2016
Pollster: Kompetenzzentrum Öffentliche Wirtschaft, Infrastruktur und Daseinsvorsorge e.V.

Key phrasing for measuring citizens' support for Energiewende: "Do you approve of the Energiewende and the measures connected to it?"

  Private households Municipalities Businesses
Yes 69% 70% 64%

For this poll, 1,650 households, 155 municipalities and 45 businesses in eastern Germany were asked about their views on the Energiewende. The authors say that it is the only representative survey about the Energiewende focused on East Germany. Additional questions show that 65 percent of households are dissatisfied with the implementation of the energy transition and more than 70 percent say that the cost is distributed unfairly.

Find the poll in German here.


“Health Check Energiewende” from management consultancy Oliver Wyman/Technische Universität München

Published: January 2015

Key phrasing for measuring citizens’ support for Energiewende: “How do you evaluate Germany’s leading role on the issue of the Energiewende?”

Very good 14%
Good 64%
Bad 19%
Very bad 3%

In this representative survey, 1,000 households and 120 companies were polled. The consultancy added up the first two categories to arrive at the conclusion that “more than 75 percent support the Energiewende.” But half of all households did not believe the project could be brought to a successful conclusion.

See the poll in German here.


Online survey: "Challenges of the Energiewende" by ServiceRating, a consultancy focusing on service quality

Published: January 2017
Pollster: YouGov

Key phrasing for measuring citizens’ support for Energiewende: “In the past, energy was mainly produced in central power plants. With the Energiewende, energy is produced more and more where it is consumed (e.g. private solar panels or small combined heat and power systems). How do you rate this trend of decentralised energy supply?”

bad 3%
mediocre 12%
good 38%
very good


don't know / no answer



2066 randomly chosen people of YouGov's Panel Germany filled out the online survey between 25-28 November 2016. Results are weighted and representative of Germany's adult population. A majority of participants generally supports Germany’s increasingly decentralised energy system, one aspect of the Energiewende. To personally take part in the country's energy transition, 73 percent of respondents said they can imagine using significantly less energy and 56 percent can imagine using only energy from renewable sources. 

Find a press release on the survey results in German here.

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