Young people back green energy solutions

People aged under 30 are firm advocates of renewable energy according to a new survey. The Department of Energy and Climate Change surveyed 300 people aged 29 and under, and […]

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By Kelvin Ross

People aged under 30 are firm advocates of renewable energy according to a new survey.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change surveyed 300 people aged 29 and under, and 94% said offshore wind was the ‘fairest’ energy technology, 81% backed onshore wind and 94% supported solar technology.

Only 2.2% showed any support for coal energy.

These figures are part of a report being presented by DECC’s Youth Advisory Panel to Energy Minister Charles Hendry. The report calls for greater youth consultation on energy and climate change policy.

Based on DECC’s 2050 Pathways project, the report looks at the UK’s energy policies from the perspective of those people who will have to live with those decisions for their entire adult lives.

The report was drafted by people aged between 16 and 25 who visited power stations, nuclear plants and projects promoting renewable energy sources to investigate the issues at first hand. They met with experts, industry, pressure groups and innovators to look at how the UK might keep the lights on in 2050 while reducing carbon emissions.

The report says while it is important that there is enough energy to go around, it would be irresponsible for the UK to only focus on providing energy to keep living the same way as we are today. In conclusion, the report calls for:

  • A fair deal for young people in the decision-making process;
  • Actively work hard to ensure that Government does not lock young and future generations into ecological debt;
  • Continue engaging in dialogue with the youth constituency and stakeholdership to ensure that the youth perspective is heard, and responded to, by Government.
  • Mr Hendry said: “While work continues on a global deal in Cancun, young people are not waiting for the politicians to start planning and building the low carbon economy for themselves.

    “This report by DECC’s Youth Panel is a remarkable piece of work which gives a fresh perspective on our energy policies and I would like to thank the Panel for the energy, enthusiasm and rigour with which they have approached this work. I now invite other young people to get involved and continue the strong partnership between DECC and the next generation.”

    Youth Panel member Tom Youngman, 17, Bath, said: “While we may not be able to offer a new technological insight, the decision to pursue any particular technology will define our future, and as young people we have the opportunity to view these long-term decisions with a much increased sense of urgency and tangibility. We do not want to inherit a diminished planet, as it often seems we are being asked to, and this is a huge step towards ensuring a sustainable and equitable future for our and subsequent generations.”

    Fellow panel member Mairi McInnes, who is part of Young Friends of Earth Scotland, said: “The report is the start of a sustainable long term journey that will hopefully inspire all generations to be curious about the complexities and politics of the energy mix. DECC has given us a platform and a voice and in return we are committed to encouraging a movement among all generations in understanding our role within that energy mix.”