Solar Power Still The Favourite Energy Choice Of Australians

Solar power remains the most popular energy source among Australians according to The Australia Institute’s latest Climate Of The Nation report.

Released by TAI yesterday, this year’s report is based on survey responses of 1,960 Australians aged 18 years and older from across the country. The report has primarily been keeping tabs on Australians’ attitudes regarding climate change and related issues for over a decade.

The report states solar power was the most favoured energy source across all gender, age, state and voting groups this year – even among Australians who don’t believe in or have any concerns about climate change. Solar energy’s popularity was strongest in regional and rural areas, where it was 18 percentage points in front of any other energy source

The following table indicates energy sources that ranked in the top 3 preferences of respondents this year, compared to 2018.

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

Just a note on “power storage” – last year it was classified as “batteries”. It’s perhaps a bit of an odd option to have as an energy source as it isn’t really one, but can be associated with one or all of the others. For example, you could have a battery charged by solar panels – or a brown coal fired power station.

Coal Power Still In The Poo

Coal was again feeling little love this year, with just 18% ranking it in their top 3 – the same result as last year. Only 7% ranked coal as their number one energy source preference, while 64% ranked it in their bottom three.

On the issue of mining the problematic little black (or brown) rock, 64% want the Federal Government to stop new coal mines and 31% wish for existing mines to be shut down as quickly as possible as well. Just 4% supported subsidising new coal mines.

More than two-thirds of respondents (68%) agreed the Government should be making plans for an orderly phase-out of coal in order for workers and communities to make preparations.

Climate Change Concerns Continue – And Increase

81% of respondents expressed concerns climate change will result in more droughts and flooding, up from 78% in 2018. 54% didn’t subscribe to the concept Australia shouldn’t act on climate change until other major emitters do so. 77% agreed climate change is occurring.

64% said Australia should have a national target for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Ahead of the UN Global Climate Summit in New York in September, the public want to see the Australian Government take a leadership role when it comes to global action on climate change,” said TAI Climate & Energy Director Richie Merzian,

There’s all sorts of other interesting facts and figures in the full Climate Of The Nation 2019 report, which can be downloaded here (PDF).

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.

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