Consumers Supportive of Renewable Energy, But Unwilling to Pay More for It

The results of a new poll released by Harris Interactive show that many in the five largest countries in Europe and in the United States like the idea of renewable energy, but are not willing to pay any more than their current rates for renewable energy sources. The poll was conducted among a total of 6,448 adults aged 16 to 64 within France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain and the United States, and adults aged 18 to 64 in Italy, between January 30 and February 8, 2008.

According to the results of the poll, a majority of adults who have some form of responsibility for paying household energy bills in Great Britain (54%) and Germany (50%), pluralities in Italy (44%), France (42%) and the U.S. (40%), as well as just over one-third of adults responsible for paying household energy bills in Spain (35%), all say they would be not be willing to pay more for energy even if it was produced from renewable sources.

When this decision of paying more was translated into actual currency, it was even less likely that people would be willing to pay more for renewable generated electricity. Using European Commission estimates that it would cost each household an extra €150, £110 or $220 (depending on country) per month to cut greenhouse gasses and get more renewable energy, a strong majority of those surveyed in all six countries said they would not be willing to pay this extra amount.

Support for bio-fuels and wind farms was strong across these six countries, but while people support these types of renewable electricity, they would not be willing to actually pay more for it. According to analysis by Harris Interactive, until people are forced to do so, or the price for renewable energy comes down considerably, people will not make the choice to go with renewables.

“How much of an increase would you be willing to pay at the most for energy if it were from renewable sources?”


   Britain   France    Italy    Spain    Germany    U.S. 
Unweighted Base 884   934   807   848   968   787
Nothing more 54   42   44   35   50   40
5% more 18   25   25   25   22   17
10% more 12   16   15   14   14   17
15% more 2   4   7   4   4   7
20% more 2   2   4   3   2   4
30% more 1   *   *   1   1   2
40% more 1   *   *   1   1   1
Not sure 10   10   5   17   5   11
AVERAGE 3.9%   4.7%   5.1%   5.3%   4.4%   6.1%

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding
Base: All EU adults in five countries and US adults who have some form of responsibility for paying household energy bills 

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