Nearly five years after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, a large majority of Germans back the energy transition, according to a new representative FORSA survey for the Renewable Energy Cluster Hamburg. Three-thirds of those surveyed said exiting nuclear energy and promoting renewable energies is right. North Germans are the biggest supporters of the energy transition. Some 80 per cent of those interviewed in the states of Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein said the decision is still right.
Advantages in immediate environment
The percentage in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria of those who still back the energy transition was nearly 10 per cent lower. Commenting on the north-south divide, Jan Rispens, Managing Director of the Renewable Energy Cluster Hamburg, said: “After building many infrastructural projects like wind farms and offshore wind farms, transformer stations and bioenergy projects, people in the north have learnt to cope with most effects of the energy transition. They have come to know the advantages of nationwide energy transition in their immediate environment, for instance, the economic effects on the region or in their circle of friends.”
Wind turbines in the countryside
The support for wind turbines is not quite as strong in the south. People are alarmed by debates about costs and infrastructure investments required for power lines as 25 years experience with wind farms is lacking. Rispens said: “I am convinced that with the continuing success of the energy transition, the number of supporters will increase here.” Some 60 per cent of north German interviewees said they would prefer to be supplied with energy generated by wind turbines near their hometowns. However, the source of electricity is not as important to people in south Germany. Rispens said: “Meanwhile, for north Germans wind turbines have become part of the countryside in nearly every district.” Naturally, people wish to be supplied with clean energy from these sources.
Need for more explanation
North and south Germans almost agree when it comes to the acceptance of wind turbines in their regions. Two-thirds (68 per cent) of all interviewees agree fully to the construction of wind farms near their hometowns. However, most people are sceptical about building power lines near their hometowns with just 52 per cent agreement across Germany. An identical tendency in relation to this issue is noticeable between north and south Germans. Rispens: “The results are clear. We cannot decide over people’s heads, and must talk to them, explain more and develop technical solutions.”