04 Apr 2024, 13:27
Edgar Meza

European survey finds strong support for energy transition, plus pessimism and frustration with political leadership

Clean Energy Wire

Some 70 percent of respondents from several European countries see the energy transition as everyone's responsibility and believe all citizens should be actively involved, according to a new survey by the EU project EnergyProspects. More than 60 percent of the 10,000 people surveyed have reduced energy consumption in recent years due to the energy crisis, leading them to lower room temperatures, a more conscious use household appliances, and to adopt environmentally-friendly mobility options like walking, cycling and public transport. While the main motivation is reduction of energy costs, the survey found that environmental concerns also play an important role for many.

At the same time, however, many express pessimism about the future, with more than 50 percent assuming they will pay more for energy in 2030, and 43 percent saying that the energy transition is progressing too slowly. In addition, respondents were very dissatisfied with the work of responsible institutions at the European, national and local levels, with more than two-thirds believing the views and ideas of citizens are not taken seriously by political leaders. It’s something “politicians should think about,” says Ariane Debourdeau, a researcher at the Berlin Technical University’s Center for Technology and Society (ZTG), one of the partners from the EnergyProspects consortium. 

There were also some significant differences between Germany and other European countries: While 45.1 percent of German respondents purchased green electricity – far more than in other countries – only 16 percent of Germans had converted their homes to be more energy-efficient. Germany’s longer tradition of electricity production from renewables explains its higher level of acceptance among German respondents, said ZTG scientific director Martina Schäfer. She attributed the low level of energy-efficiency renovations to the fact that more people in Germany rent homes, rather than own them.

The survey was conducted between October and November 2023 in nine participating countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Spain, and the Netherlands. Additional respondents came from Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

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