Solar Power Remains Australians’ Most Preferred Energy Source

Solar energy popularity in Australia

The latest Climate of the Nation report reveals the enduring and increasing popularity of solar energy and a vast majority of Australians wanting coal-fired power stations phased out.

Climate of the Nation is a survey commissioned by The Australia Institute (TAI) that has been running for over a decade, gauging attitudes in the community on climate change and related issues. This year’s report has found that although the COVID-19 pandemic has occupied our minds, climate change has not been forgotten.

“Our research shows that far from dampening the call for climate action, the COVID-19 crisis has strengthen Australians’ resolve for all levels of government to take action on climate change,” said TAI Climate & Energy Director Richie Merzian.

Climate Of The Nation Findings

Among the many findings from the survey, conducted between 14 July and 22 July 2020 with 1,998 participants aged 18 years and older from across Australia:

  • 80% of Australians think we are already experiencing climate change impacts.
  • 83% of Australians support a phase-out of coal-fired power stations.
  • 52% would prefer a gradual coal power phase-out, while 31% would prefer it phased out as soon as possible.
  • 65% think the Australian Government should stop new coal mines.
  • 71% believe Australia should be a world leader in finding climate change solutions.
  • 68% supported a national target for net zero emissions by 2050.
  • 77% agreed tackling climate change creates opportunities in clean energy for new jobs and investment.
  • 65% support the introduction of a levy on Australia’s fossil fuel exports to help fund local government climate change preparation actions and to help pay for damage from climate change related disasters.

Energy Source Popularity

Solar power remained Australia’s most preferred energy source, with 54% of Australians ranking solar as their number one choice and 79% ranking it among their top three. This was up from 76% in 2019.

Wind power also saw more love, with 62% listing it in their top three, up from 58% in 2019.

Coal continues to be shunned, ranking last in Australians’ top 3 preferred energy sources. 65% of respondents listed coal in their bottom 3 energy sources and just 14% in their top 3.

The popularity of gas dropped again, with just 19% of Australians ranking gas in their top 3 energy sources. The survey also found just 12% of  respondents would prefer Australia’s economic recovery to be primarily powered by gas, compared to 59% who would prefer it to see it powered by investment in renewable energy.

Preferred energy sources rankings:

2020 2019 2018
Solar 79% 76% 76%
Wind 62% 58% 39%
Hydro 39% 39% 38%
Power Storage 29% 29% 35%
Tidal/Wave 22% 21% 19%
Nuclear 21% 22% 17%
Gas 19% 20% 22%
Geothermal 16% 17% 17%
Coal 14% 18% 18%

“There is one clear message, most Australians want more renewables and less fossil fuels,” said Mr. Merzian. “That means phase out coal fired power stations, bypass a gas-fired transition and plug into renewables to power their future.”

The Climate of the Nation 2020 Benchmark Report will be officially launched by NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean. The full report can be viewed here.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. MOTHER NATURE – You are all going to have to stop burning all this coal, it’s getting me hotter and hotter and I’m starting to get a cough.

    HUMANS – But we can’t just now, This will take decades to change all of this, businesses will need to change, the way we work will need to change, how we travel and live day to day will all have to change dramatically to achieve this, This could take decades.

    MOTHER NATURE – Oww no it won’t. Ill give you all a little practice run, lets call it COVID!

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