Survey says half of Australian voters disappointed with Coalition’s (lack of) support for renewables

A new survey has revealed more than half of Australian voters believe the Coalition has failed to give enough support to Australia’s renewable energy industry, and particularly rooftop solar.

The survey, conducted by Essential Research, found 60 per cent of respondents thought coal had received enough federal government support, while more than 50 per cent believed renewable energy technologies like wind farms (56%), big solar (55%) and rooftop solar (57%) had not.

It also indicated that this lack of federal support for renewables could be a vote-changer, with 55 per cent of respondents saying they would be more likely to vote for a party with a policy of increasing renewables support, such as Labor or the Greens.

The results of the survey also indicated that this voter support was more than ideological, with 56 per cent of respondents agreeing that the renewable energy sector would deliver more jobs for Australians in the future than coal industry would.

Interestingly, the renewables sector respondents felt most passionately about was rooftop solar for low-income households, which 63 per cent of those surveyed said had not been given enough support by the federal Coalition.

Funding programs that enable low-income households to access cheaper, cleaner energy like rooftop solar – as well as those who can’t physically install rooftop solar, such as inner-city apartment dwellers – has been a key plank of the US Obama government’s latest policy announcement on renewables.

The plans, announced by the Obama Administration in the first week of July, aim to effectively triple the amount of rooftop solar installed on low-income housing in America, as well as to boost the development of community or “shared” solar projects.

Not so in Australia, however, where the Abbott government’s latest directive to the CEFC, the federal government’s green bank, was to cease funding any and all small-scale PV projects.

Dan Scaysbrook, the national campaign director for lobby group Solar Citizens – who commissioned the survey, said the poll results once again illustrated that the majority of Australians wanted more solar not less.

“Nearly 1.4 million Australians have already shifted to take control of their electricity bills and go solar. The Australian people want to see leadership from all of our political parties around this energy transition,” he said.

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson