To complement its existing analysis of the bioenergy sector, the ETI wanted to find out more about current public opinion of bioenergy in the UK and the potential drivers behind those opinions. To do this the ETI developed a survey which was carried out by YouGov in 2015. An extended version of the survey was repeated in 2016. This Insights report draws conclusions from these surveys.
Bioenergy is currently the largest source of renewable energy in the UK and can play a significant and valuable role in the future UK energy system, helping reduce the cost of meeting the UK’s 2050 GHG emissions reduction targets by more than 1% of gross domestic product (GDP).
The results from both the 2015 and 2016 public perceptions of bioenergy surveys show that there is strong support for bioenergy to be generated in the UK from both biomass and waste. Our findings wouldsuggest that the majority of the public would accept a bioenergy sector that uses a mix of domestic and imported biomass, with a preference for domestic feedstocks to be used where possible. There is no strong preference for bioenergy being deployed at a particular scale or in a particular location, enabling the UK to look to deploy those technologies that most benefit a transition to a low-carbon energy system.
These findings suggest that building a bioenergy sector in the UK whilst retaining public backing, will require the UK to increase support for domestic supply chains as well as enabling sustainably sourced imported biomass to be used to meet demand. In building a larger UK biomass feedstock sector, targeted awareness raising of bioenergy and the wider benefits it can bring is likely to increase support for it in the UK. Finally, the UK should continue to identify optimal sites for deployment of bioenergy, taking into account suitable locations for biomass feedstock production.