10.01.2012
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Survey of public opinion

Germans willing to pay for green power

Germany currently has the highest power prices within the EU – by far, in fact. But a recent survey conducted by the German Association of Municipal Utilities finds that an overwhelming majority of Germans are willing to pay the price as long as they get green power in return.

 - European power prices with and without taxes. Source: European Commission from December 2011
European power prices with and without taxes. Source: European Commission from December 2011

According to The European Commission's Energy Roadmap 2050 published just four weeks ago (see PDF of key figures), the gross price of electricity is by far the highest in Germany at 24.4 cents per kilowatt-hour, with no other country even topping 20 cents (click on the graphic to the left to enlarge). But a representative survey of the German public has now found that Germans are willing to pay that price – provided that they get renewable power in return.

Conducted by market research institute Forsa on behalf of municipal utilities in Germany, the survey found that 61 percent of Germans are willing to pay more for their power if the extra cost helps ramp up the share of renewables. Public acceptance even extends to acceptance of wind turbines "in my backyard"; 54 percent of those surveyed said they would find it "good" or "very good" if a wind turbine were set up nearby.

Another finding reveals what the municipals were trying to accomplish with the survey: 43 percent of those surveyed said they have "great trust" in municipal utilities – compared to only 13 percent in Germany's Big Four (RWE, Vattenfall, Eon, and EnBW). And when it comes to supporting renewables, the municipals are collectively keeping up with the Big Four. Even though the latter make up roughly 3/4 of German power supply, they only account for around seven percent of renewable power generation, as Renewables International reported. The share of renewable power set up by municipals is not much smaller. (Craig Morris)

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