Swing voters show strong support for renewables

16th May 2024


There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

That is according to new research by RenewableUK, based on a huge survey of more than 10,000 adults, which found that 75% believe renewables will play a significant role in regional economic growth.

This percentage rises to 83% among voters who intend to switch from Conservative to Labour at the next election, while increasing jobs, tackling climate change and energy security were also cited as benefits by 89%, 86% and 92%, respectively.

These figures are all higher among swing voters than for those who intend to stay loyal to a party, with green jobs seen as more important for driving economic growth than roles in any other key sector of the economy.

The findings show that 68% of respondents want the next government to be proactive in maximising investment in renewables and in pursuing a green industrial strategy, with floating voters even more supportive of this.

“It’s clear that the next general election is going to be dominated by questions about the cost-of-living crisis, and how the next government can boost the UK economy after a difficult few years,” said RenewableUK’s chief executive Dan McGrail.

“Fortunately, the transition to clean energy can provide cheap electricity for billpayers, drive investment in new manufacturing, boost the competitiveness of UK businesses and support tens of thousands of jobs across the country.

“The latest polling shows that voters are well aware of this and that they support it.”

The survey findings are included in RenewableUK’s 2024 Manifesto, published yesterday, which sets out five key recommendations for the next government. These include:

  • A clear plan to deliver the UK’s pipeline of renewable energy projects, including setting ambitious deployment targets beyond 2030 and better cross-government coordination.
  • The contracts for difference scheme should be modernised to enable consistent volumes of renewables to be deployed year on year.
  • A more efficient planning framework to enable the UK to build projects and net-zero infrastructure more swiftly, including an over-arching ‘Strategic Spatial Energy Plan’.
  • Scale up supply chains and skills capabilities based on RenewableUK’s ‘Industrial Growth Plan’ for offshore wind.
  • Policies which unlock greater levels of private investment into flexible technologies such as long duration energy storage and the co-location of battery storage alongside wind and solar farms.

“Rapidly increasing the UK’s clean energy supply won’t be easy, but our manifesto provides a clear path to do this,” McGrail continued. “We’ll have to build renewable energy projects much faster, both onshore and offshore, as well as new infrastructure to support them.

“We’ll need a forward-thinking and ambitious government to get us there. That government will need to ensure we remain competitive in the global race for skills and supply chains and reform our planning system to enable communities to benefit more from the transition.

“If we work closely together to get this right, the next five years will see a massive transformation of the UK’s energy system”.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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