Children with candles

Blackouts and rising energy costs fear for UK billpayers

A survey carried out by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers has found that 64 per cent of respondents are concerned about blackouts while more than 90 per cent said they worry about soaring electricity and gas costs.

The poll of 2,000 UK citizens has also found that, in general, people are in favour of renewable energy with more than half of the respondents saying that the UK government should support the construction of renewable energy sources such as solar, wave and tidal power plants.

Some 33 per cent of the survey participants would themselves consider investing in small-scale community renewable projects like wind farms, solar farms or small-scale biomass plants.

Energy bonds to fund large energy infrastructure projects such as nuclear power stations or large offshore wind farms were seen as a slightly less attractive option with only 25 per cent of respondents expressing an interest.

Commenting on the results, Tim Fox, head of energy and environment at the IMechE, said the data shows that there is a severe lack of public confidence in the government’s energy policy.

“The government must stop playing politics with our energy system and the environment and make clear exactly how it is going to ensure that the country’s future needs are affordably met. It is only with this clarity that energy companies will have the confidence to invest in the infrastructure needed to keep the nation warm, lit, moving and working,” he said.

Fox believes the results confirm that there are concerns government is not investing enough in energy infrastructure and is sending out mixed messages regarding the low-carbon energy policy.

“Confidence in government energy policy has been damaged by its mixed messages on low-carbon energy policy and uncertainty over its support for a new nuclear build programme,” Fox said.

When asked about which types of energy they would prefer to see among dominant energy sources in the future, over 50 per cent of the survey participants said they are in favour of renewable resources. Around 43 per cent of people approved of the government supporting onshore wind farms while only 8 per cent spoke in favour of gas-fired power plants.

The recent poll follows another survey published in May which found that 43 per cent of the public would like to see the government backing the construction of new nuclear power plants in the UK.  

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