Australians want more renewables faster: survey

Almost nine in 10 Australians want a faster or moderate transition to clean energy, the national science agency says.

The CSIRO on Wednesday released a survey on attitudes nationwide towards the renewable energy transition.

Touted by the agency as the most comprehensive survey of its type, more than 6700 people were questioned in all states and territories, across capital cities and regional areas, between August and September 2023.

People cited energy affordability, self-reliance and emissions reductions to be the top three priorities in this area.

More than 80 per cent of Australians said they would tolerate living within 10km of renewable energy infrastructure.

Most people opposed paying more for electricity or gas, or risking electricity blackouts for a faster transition.

Almost half of the participants (47 per cent) they backed a moderate paced transition to renewables, while 40 per cent said they wanted a faster and more extensive change.

A little more than one in 10 said they preferred a slower transition.

Solar farms have the highest levels of acceptance among renewable energy infrastructure, with 88 per cent of people saying they would live near them, but support has declined from 95 per cent in 2020.

Transmission lines have the lowest form of acceptance, with almost one in four people saying they do not want to live near them.

Dr Andrea Walton, a senior social scientist on the project, said most people supported the energy transition, with points of difference being on the rate and extent of the change.

“What this survey indicates is that when people believe that a piece of infrastructure has an important role in the energy transition, they’re much more likely to accept it,” she said.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen said the federal government’s energy plan was backed by Australian experts who understood the nation’s needs.

“(Opposition Leader) Peter Dutton’s risky nuclear thought bubble is too slow and too expensive to deliver the reliable affordable energy Australia needs, where and when we need it,” he said.

The coalition is proposing incorporating nuclear into Australia’s energy mix.


Tess Ikonomou
(Australian Associated Press)


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