BOULDER, Colo. — Consumer support for clean energy concepts, ranging from renewable energy to smart grid technologies, declined significantly between 2009 and 2011, according to a new survey from Pike Research. In a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults conducted in the fourth quarter of 2011, the firm found that the average percentage of consumers with an “extremely” or “very” favorable view of 13 clean energy concepts declined significantly from 50 percent in 2009 to 45 percent in 2010, and dropped further to 43 percent in 2011.

Among the 13 clean energy concepts, biofuels suffered the steepest decline in favorability, dropping 17 points from 56 percent in the 2009 edition of Pike Research’s survey to 39 percent 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 percent

• Wind energy: 71 percent

• Hybrid vehicles: 61 percent

• Electric cars: 55 percent

• Natural gas cars: 51 percent

• Clean coal: 42 percent

• Nuclear power: 40 percent

• Biofuels: 39 percent

• Smart meters: 38 percent

• Smart grid: 37 percent

• Carbon offsets/credits: 19 percent

• LEED certification: 18 percent

• Cap and trade: 14 percent

Carbon offsets/credits garnered the largest percentage of “strongly unfavorable” or “somewhat unfavorable” views from survey participants, with a 25 percent unfavorable rating, followed closely by nuclear power with a 23 percent unfavorable rating, and cap and trade with a 22 percent 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 percent stated that they were unfamiliar with the program, the lowest level of familiarity of any of the 13 concepts.

Publication date: 03/05/2012