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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 9th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

“EU favours renewable energy for the future”, writes Helena Spongeborg from Brussels for the EUobserver of January 8, 2007.

EU citizens largely favour renewable energies while only 20 percent are for nuclear energy, according to a new European Commission survey.

The Eurobarometer study – published on Monday (8 January) just two days ahead of the publication of the commission’s major EU energy plan – shows that 80 percent of EU citizens back solar energy while 71 percent are in favour of wind energy.


The Danes are most in favour with 95 percent and 93 percent saying solar- and wind energy, respectively, is a good thing. More than 20 percent of the electricity used in Denmark is generated by wind turbines – the highest percentage of any country in Europe.

The low figures are 70 percent of Latvians and 63 percent of Italians are in favour of solar and wind energy, respectively.

Other sources of popular renewable energies include hydroelectric and ocean energy favoured by 65 percent and 60 percent, respectively, of EU citizens.

The commission’s “Ambitious Energy Review Package” – to be published on Wednesday (10 January) – is expected to outline ways to lessen the bloc’s dependence on foreign imports of oil and gas which is associated with volatile prices and unreliable sources.

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When it comes to nuclear – The EU citizens remain are very polarised on the issue of nuclear energy with the majority being against it.

Twenty percent of EU citizens are in favour of nuclear energy in their country while 37 percent oppose it and 36 percent are divided on the issue.

The Austrians (80%), Greeks (73%) and Cypriots (70%) are the most against it as a source of energy -. None of the countries uses nuclear power plants.

A higher percentage of Swedes (41%), Slovaks and Lithuanians (both 37%) favour nuclear energy as a source of energy in their country.

Around 70 percent of energy in Lithuania, 56 percent in Slovakia and 47 percent in Sweden is produced by nuclear power.

Nuclear energy is a tough sell among Europeans, especially after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in Ukraine and Belarus.

EU citizens expect the energy mix to be more diversified in the future than it is today where oil and gas are the two main sources, with solar energy anticipated to be a key energy source in the future.

All the 25 nationalities asked – except for Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden – place it among the three energy sources most likely to be used in 30 years time.

And despite strong opposition to nuclear energy, EU citizens expect its share to stay the same in the future.

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On the Citizens’ role: One of the commission’s main solutions for cutting down energy consumption in Europe is to save on energy by making the EU more energy efficient.

But despite the fact that 54 percent of EU citizens find it very important to save on energy and become more energy efficient, only 21 percent admit they have actually taken action to do so, such as cut down on lighting and heating or replacing their cars with public transport.

“Citizens are not completely aware – they are well aware that energy is a challenge but they are not yet fully concerned,” a commission official told journalists in Brussels. He added EU citizens do not fully grasp their own role in overall energy consumption.

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