DECC has published the results of its public attitudes tracking survey in order to understand and monitor public attitudes to the department’s main business priorities.

Findings have revealed strong support for renewable projects including solar power (83%), offshore wind projects (76%), wave and tidal arrays (75%), and onshore wind farms (66%).

However the data revealed that there was low awareness of some clean technologies – indeed the survey showed that 53% of respondents had never heard of a smart meter.

In response to these figures, Mark England, CEO at smart meter company Sentec, commented, “The UK has genuinely learnt from the large consumer backlash experienced in the US market that early customer engagement is key to the success of rolling out smart meters.

“However, the results of DECC’s public attitudes survey suggests more work is needed if the consumer is to be placed at the heart of the smart meter roll-out. The advantage of the UK’s unique supplier led roll-out is that it’s in their interest to educate customers about the energy and money saving benefits of smart meters to encourage participation and retain their customers. If the roll-out is to be a success it is imperative that it remains consumer focused and that any confusion is avoided.”

These was a view that mirrored that of Brian Smithers at Rexel, who said, “Our own experience confirms the DECC survey findings that there is a significant ‘understanding gap’ when it comes to renewable technologies. Legislation to encourage the adoption of these technologies, such as the RHI for renewable heat, can only take us so far. It’s crucial that the industry comes together to share knowledge and educate not only the consumer but also the developers, specifiers and installers who will play a key role in helping the UK to meet its carbon emission reduction targets.

“Rexel recently launched the Sigma Home at the BRE Innovation Park, which integrates a range of renewable energy and energy savings solutions from LED lighting to an air source heat pump, to raise awareness of current technologies and demonstrate to visitors first hand the huge energy savings that can be made. In low energy buildings, heating alone, which is the largest energy consumer in the average European building accounting for some 50% of total consumption, could represent as little as 10-15% with the right technologies in place.