With the recent hike in energy bills, public conversation is increasingly turning to the topic of home-grown, renewable energy. But how much do we really know about it?
The stats on climate change
I looked at research by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) from March 2021 and found that eight in ten people (80%) were either very concerned (33%) or fairly concerned (47%) about climate change. At the same time, when asked about various issues happening in the next 10-20 years about energy security, steep rises in energy prices came out on top with a whopping 82% (up from 75% in 2020). My guess is that when the 2022 research is published, we’ll see even more concern on this topic.
Widespread reliance on gas has left households vulnerable to rising bills. However, if the norm were to shift to renewables, this could help reduce and stabilise costs. Renewable energy doesn’t come with the price volatility and forecasting barriers that cause the price fluctuations in fossil fuels. It offers free-fuel generation through technologies including, solar, wind, hydro and geothermal. BEIS research also showed that 79% of people support renewable energy (although that does make me wonder who the remaining 21% are!).
Sadly, there are a few barriers to us reaching a renewable utopia - not least the initial installation costs which can often mean lots of solutions are out of reach for many low-income families - there also seems to be a lack of knowledge when it comes to the Gen X demographic (roughly 35–55-year old’s).
A generational matter
At Rumpus, we wanted to test the generations on their renewable knowledge and did so through one simple question. The question was ‘do you know what a heat pump is?’. Here are the results we received from 200 participants:
- Under 35’s: 60% - YES / 40% - NO
- Over 35’s: 50% - YES / 50% - YES
- Over 55’s: 67% YES / 33% - NO
Perhaps surprisingly, it seems baby boomers have come out on top as the most knowledgeable on heat pumps. Although it could be argued that they are the most likely to afford renewable refits on their properties, research shows that six in ten can afford an unexpected expense of up to £10,000. It has also been reported that Gen Z (those born between 1995-2010) has the most concern for our planet. This generation influences others to make sustainability-first buying decisions, according to Forbes, followed closely by millennials. Maybe education needs to come both from the top down and bottom up to reach Gen Z.
So, what can we take from this research? The fact is that we all need to scrub up on our renewables knowledge. It’s clear that technologies such as solar PV and heat pumps are the future. Even if it might take some time to get there. But knowledge IS power (pun intended) and the more we know, the more we can push local and central government to do more to help make these gas alternatives accessible to all, no matter what your income or age!
If you want to get started boosting your knowledge of renewables, our client MCS are the heat pump experts.
Rebecca McArdle, PR and content manager