Majority of Australians want more renewables, poll shows

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With a growing clamour of voices warning about the disincentives for renewables embodied in Australia’s National Energy Guarantee (NEG), a new poll shows most Aussies want clean power to play a greater role in the country’s energy mix and say they should be used as the sole guarantee of lower electricity prices.

The poll, conducted by ReachTEL for Greenpeace Australia Pacific, suggests 70% of respondents want an ambitious renewable energy target, and more than 67% agree renewable energy should receive more government support than fossil fuels.

Those figures do not align with the policy settings of the NEG, which envisage only a 2% increase in renewable energy’s share in the national electricity market over the next decade. 

Although the NEG is said to offer a promise of AU$150 (US$111) of savings per year, it is not clear how this is calculated, due to a lack of modeling information in the final design of the NEG, released by the Energy Security Board last week.

According to the poll, Australians have no doubt investment in renewables would pay off. Some 66.7% of respondents agree the best way for the government to ensure low cost reliable electricity supply is to invest in renewables, along with dispatchable storage solutions such as batteries.

Solar remains a safe haven in terms of energy costs, think 78% of the people polled, who believe installing rooftop PV is an effective way of reducing electricity bills.

“It is clear that Australians love renewable energy and want more of it,” says Nikola Casule, Greenpeace Australia’s Pacific Head of Research and Investigations. “They want government to champion the industry, as this polling clearly shows. Unfortunately, [Australian Prime Minister Malcolm] Turnbull’s NEG goes against both market realities and the desire of the Australian people – why attempt to strangle such a popular technology?”

ReachTel conducted the phone poll among 3,999 Australian households on the evening of July 30.