Pike: New Consumer Sentiment Survey on Cleantech

Report Title:  Energy & Environment Consumer Survey

Report Author: Pike Research

Publish Date: 2/27/2012

Link to Report

Report Summary:

The clean energy industry is dynamic and evolving, as the future of energy in the United States continues to be a topic of intense focus, particularly in this election year.  However, according to a new survey from Pike Research, consumer support for clean energy concepts – ranging from renewable energy to alternative fuel vehicles to smart grid technologies – has declined significantly between 2009 and 2011.  In a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults conducted in the fourth quarter of 2011, the cleantech market intelligence firm found that the average percentage of consumers with an “extremely” or “very” favorable view of 13 clean energy concepts declined significantly from 50% in 2009 to 45% in 2010, and dropped further to 43% in 2011.  The survey results, part of Pike Research’s annual Energy & Environment Consumer Survey, are summarized in a free white paper, which is available for download on Pike Research’s website.

Among the 13 clean energy concepts, Biofuels suffered the most precipitous decline in favorability, dropping 17 points from 56% in the 2009 edition of Pike Research’s survey to 39% by 2011.  Favorability ratings of Smart Grid and Clean Coal were tied for the second largest decline, each falling 10 points over the two-year period.

The percentages of survey respondents stating that they had either a “very favorable” or “favorable” view for each of the 13 concepts in 2011 were as follows:

  • Solar Energy:  77%
  • Wind Energy:  71%
  • Hybrid Vehicles:  61%
  • Electric Cars:  55%
  • Natural Gas Cars:  51%
  • Clean Coal:  42%
  • Nuclear Power:  40%
  • Biofuels:  39%
  • Smart Meters:  38%
  • Smart Grid:  37%
  • Carbon Offsets/Credits:  19%
  • LEED Certification:  18%
  • Cap and Trade:  14%

Carbon Offsets/Credits garnered the largest percentage of “strongly unfavorable” or “somewhat unfavorable” views from survey participants, with a 25% unfavorable rating, followed closely by Nuclear Power with a 23% unfavorable rating and Cap and Trade with a 22% unfavorable rating.  LEED Certification, the green building certification program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, suffered from a very low level of familiarity among respondents – 45% stated that they were unfamiliar with the program, the lowest level of familiarity of any of the 13 energy and environment concepts.

Pike Research’s white paper, “Energy & Environment Consumer Survey”, presents all of the survey responses as a basis for comparing consumer views of 13 energy and environmental topics to one another.  In addition to favorable and unfavorable opinions, the number of respondents unfamiliar with a concept is also considered to compare the level of consumer awareness within each topic.  The study includes charts summarizing the survey results, along with commentary on notable trends and patterns for each area.  A full copy of the white paper is available for free download on the firm’s website.

The results in this white paper are based on a web-based survey of 1,048 consumers conducted by Pike Research in the fourth quarter of 2011 using a structured online questionnaire.  The survey invitation was sent to a nationally representative and demographically balanced sample of consumers who were members of a large online panel.  Respondents were offered a chance to win prizes in exchange for their participation.  The margin of error for these survey results is +/- 3% with a 95% confidence interval.

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