Friday, 14 October 2011

Solar power tops poll of positive perceptions

10 Oct 2011, Page: 3

Solar energy has a very positive rating in the public's mind, while the nuclear industry and coal-fired power stations are at the bottom when people are asked about their perceptions of energy industries. Coal seam gas, which has become very controversial recently especially in NSW and Queensland, also rates badly. A UMR survey last month found more than 8 in 10 people had a positive view of solar power; only 10% were negative.

Three-quarters were positive on renewable energy. The gas industry also scored positively (61%), but those rating the coal industry favourably outstripped those seeing it negatively relatively narrowly (45-38%). People were equally divided about the oil industry (42% each).

Only 36% viewed the coal seam gas industry in a good light, compared with 41% who were negative. Coal-fired power stations, which have copped bad publicity in the carbon debate, were seen negatively by almost half (48%) accompanied by 34% who had a benign view. The nuclear industry scored 51% negative and 33% positive in the online survey of a nationally representative sample of 1000.

The survey found that 46% of Coalition voters had a favourable view of the coal seam gas industry, while 48% of Labor voters and 55% of Greens supporters were negative about it. Nearly two-thirds said they didn't know much about the coal seam gas industry. But nearly one in three were worried about it, and almost three in 10 were unsure. The survey was commissioned by David Utting Communications. Mr Utting is a consultant to the mining and renewable energy industries and chief executive officer of the Yilgarn Iron Producers Association.