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. [Updates AEE survey with 2017 results]

"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.”

 2015
Fully agree33%
Agree somewhat27%
Partly agree/disagree23%
Disagree somewhat13%
Fully disagree5% *

*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
Pollster:
Forschungsgruppe Wahlen

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

 2016201520142013
Very important
57%50%49%47%
Important36%40%40%43%
less important5%7%10%8%
not at all important1%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
Pollster:
forsa

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?"

 TotalNorthSouth
Yes74%80%72%
No21%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…”

 2012201320142015
Very good / good66%68%60%57%
Moderaten.a.21%26%29%
Bad / very badn.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: August 2017
Pollster: Kantar Emnid for Renewable Energies Agency (AEE)

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

 2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
Extremely / very important70%66%70%66%66%65%
Important 
24%27%22%27%27%30%
Less important / not important at all    
6%6%7%6%6%4%

 

 

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 “95 percent of Germans 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. The most important advantages of renewable energies are that they contribute to a secure future (75 percent) and save the climate (72 percent), said the respondents.

Find the poll in German 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”

 20142015
Agree85%88%
Disagree15%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."

 2016
Fully agree7.59%
Agree somewhat25.58%
Disagree somewhat38.13%
Fully disagree19.65%
Cannot rate9.05%

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

 

PwC-Study

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 track32%
I believe the Energiewende is the right strategy at this point. But I also believe it still requires major corrections49%
I believe the Energiewende is the right strategy in principle, but I think it is too radical/comes too early11%
I don’t think much of the Energiewende and believe Germany would be principally better supplied with nuclear power and/or coal-generated power8%

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 householdsMunicipalitiesBusinesses
Yes69%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 good14%
Good64%
Bad19%
Very bad3%

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?”

 2017
bad3%
mediocre12%
good38%
very good
21%

excellent

don't know / no answer

15%

12%

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.

 

“Energiewende” by Zukunft Erdgas e.V.

Published: May 2017

Pollster: GfK

Key phrasing for measuring citizens’ support for Energiewende: “The Energiewende is an important project that I personally deem to be right.”

 2017
Fully agree28%
Agree27%
Agree somewhat 27%
Disagree somewhat11%
Disagree5%
Fully Disagree3%

This poll is based on a survey with 977 participants, age 14 and up, surveyed in March 2017. 39 percent of respondents said they fully agreed with the statement that the costs of the energy transition were too high (24 percent agreed, 22 percent agreed somewhat), and most said that the project should be "better organised" by the government (40 percent fully agreed, 34 percent agreed and 18 percent agreed somewhat).

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Dossiers

This Factsheet is part of the following Dossiers: