Consumer Barometer of Renewable Energy 2022

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Institutional Communication Service

2 May 2023

The Consumer Barometer of Renewable Energy 2021, an analysis of the opinions and preferences of residents in the Canton of Ticino on the topics of climate change, energy supply and consumption, and the energy crisis, has been published. The study was carried out between December 2022 and February 2023 by the Institute for Economic Research of the Università della Svizzera italiana (IRE) in collaboration with the Chair of Renewable Energy Management at the University of St. Gallen and thanks to the valuable cooperation of AEC Airolo, AEM, AGE, AIL, AIM, AMB, SES.

The 2022 edition focused mainly on two points: that of preferences towards electrification technologies and that of reactions to the energy crisis. The analysis was conducted via a questionnaire prepared for a multi-year project by the Chair for Renewable Energy Management at the University of St. Gallen, focusing on the German and French-speaking regions (http://kuba.iwoe.unisg.ch). Two chapters on the use of private cars and attitudes towards the risks associated with electricity supply were added to the Ticino edition. A total of 5,151 people answered the entire questionnaire. Below are some of the results of the study.

 

How is the energy transition perceived, and who should act to counter climate change?

Concerning the energy transition in Ticino, 60 per cent of the respondents are convinced that it is proceeding too slowly in Switzerland. This figure is up from 2021 when the percentage was 56%. As per 2021, the analysis shows a strong demand for energy companies to intervene to finance green production in Switzerland.

 

How widespread are new technologies?

The questionnaire also investigated the spread of four technologies for the electrification of consumption: photovoltaic panels, heat pumps, electric cars and batteries. These technologies are essential because they make it possible to replace the consumption of fossil fuels, which lead to high climate-changing emissions, with renewable electricity. The popularity of new technologies for electrifying consumption among homeowners is stable. In contrast, the popularity of electric cars among homeowners and renters is growing to 12% from 8% in 2021.

Among the motivations for people to equip themselves with the technologies listed, the fight against climate change stands out, except for batteries, for which the desire for self-sufficiency is more predominant. Cost reduction is relevant, especially for photovoltaic panels and heat pumps.

 

Focus on mobility in Ticino

Most surveyed people travel on foot, by car or, to a lesser extent, by public transport. Soft mobility and electric or hybrid cars are still not widespread. Less than 10% have no car in their household; about 40% have one, and 40% have two. The remaining share has more than two cars.

 

Electric cars and charging stations

Around two-thirds of electric car owners have a charging station at their homes. Charging stations are purchased, in order, from electrical equipment or solar panel installers, car dealers, other channels, or the electricity supplier. One-third of electric car owners, however, do not own a charging station.

 

New technologies and the energy crisis

The energy crisis worries respondents above all from an economic point of view: the fear of sharp increases in electricity bills and a possible economic slowdown is particularly noticeable. But on the other hand, the energy crisis has increased respondents' propensity to buy some of the devices for electrifying consumption: first and foremost, photovoltaic panels, followed by batteries and heat pumps. For the electric car, on the other hand, only 17% of respondents said they considered it more likely to purchase, compared to 18% who felt it less likely.

 

How to get out of the crisis?

Respondents mainly support investment in renewable energy sources in the Confederation. They would like to see faster hydroelectric and wind power plant planning, incentives for energy efficiency, more cooperation with the European Union and subsidies to keep energy costs down. On the other hand, the construction of gas power plants and bans on diesel or petrol cars from 2035 and oil or gas heating are less appreciated.

 

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