8th Swiss Consumer Barometer of Renewable Energy The annual consumer barometer for renewable energy has been published for the eighth time. The representative survey shows that Swiss consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with climate change and transport emissions. 68 percent are in favor of banning the most polluting diesel vehicles in cities. 57 percent of respondents say that flying is too cheap. At the same time, interest in new energy technologies and related financing solutions is growing. In April 2018, 1019 people aged 15 to 74 years in the German and French-speaking regions of Switzerland were interviewed for this study. Around one third of Switzerland's CO2 emissions come from transport. In addition to curbing traffic growth, switching to electric mobility can reduce emissions. For 42% of potential car buyers, an electric car is the first or second choice. Around a third of those interested in buying an electric car, currently own a diesel vehicle. This points to considerable potential for a transition from diesel to electric cars. Swiss consumers are world champions in air travel. Air traffic remains the problem child of Swiss climate policy. In fact, aviation fuels account for up to 18% of Switzerland's total carbon footprint, with more than 80% of flights from Switzerland having a European destination. While air traffic is also increasing in other parts of the world, Swiss consumers are second only to Norway in terms of air miles per capita. An environmental tax on air travel could counteract this trend: around a third of respondents stated that they would change their travel plans if a surcharge of CHF 50 were introduced on European flights. Interest in investing in renewable energies For the first time this year, more homeowners are interested in investing in solar systems with battery storage (64%) than in solar systems without storage (36%). In terms of financial innovation, 29% of homeowners say they would be very interested in a service bundle in which their bank, in addition to a mortgage, would give them access to a network of partners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Another 49% would be rather interested in such a service. 64% of those surveyed, three percentage points more than last year, expressed an interest in participating in community solar projects that enable them to invest in solar panels even without owning their own roof or house. In addition, 46% of young people under 30 would be interested in investing part of their private pension plan (Pillar 3a), in renewable energy projects. Consumers prefer renewables "made in Switzerland" Several results reflect preferences in line with the objectives of the Swiss Energy Strategy 2050, which was adopted by 58% of voters in 2017. Within the framework of the energy strategy, which calls for an expansion of domestic renewable power generation, consumers want renewable energies produced in the country. Their preferred electricity mix is 88% "made in Switzerland". In line with the current political debate, 70% of respondents are in favour of liberalizing the electricity market, which would allow consumers to choose their energy providers freely. Social acceptance of wind energy One of the areas in which progress towards the goals of the Energy Strategy 2050 has been slow, is the implementation of wind energy projects. The results of the study shed light on some questions of social acceptance. While people often talk about environmental issues linked to wind turbines, opinions seem to differ more with regards to aesthetic preferences: While 75% of those surveyed consider wind turbines to be environmentally friendly, only 28% find them beautiful. Moreover, the study finds that familiarity may increase acceptance. Of those who had already been close to a wind turbine, 78% would (rather) agree to have one built close to their community, while this proportion fell to 65% for those who have not. Gaps in energy knowledge Despite last year’s broad discussion about the Energy Strategy 2050, there are still significant gaps in consumer energy-related knowledge. Only 7% of respondents know that 75% of Switzerland's energy demand (heat, electricity and fuels) are covered by imports, while the majority significantly underestimate Switzerland's dependence on imports. The level of knowledge on this topic has increased by three percentage points compared to the previous year. Furthermore, 87% of respondents stated a lack of charging stations as the main reason for not buying an electric car - but almost half of them highly underestimated the number of charging stations currently available in Switzerland. The detailed study results can be found on the Internet in German, English and French at: www.iwoe.unisg.ch/kundenbarometer Contact for questions regarding content: Prof. Dr. Rolf Wüstenhagen, Chair for Renewable Energy Management, Institute for Economics and Ecology (IWÖ-HSG), University of St.Gallen, Tigerbergstrasse 2, CH-9000 St.Gallen Mobile: +41 76 306 43 13, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.iwoe.unisg.ch/de/lehrstuhlmanagementee Contacts for questions to the survey corporate partners: Pius Schärli, Raiffeisen Switzerland, Market Communication, email@example.com Raphael Zürcher, Swiss Federal Office of Energy, SwissEnergy, Raphael.Zuercher@bfe.admin.ch First issued in 2011, the annual Consumer Barometer of Renewable Energy is one of the most comprehensive reviews of the Swiss population’s preferences on energy topics. The Good Energies Chair for Management of Renewable Energies at the University of St.Gallen has the scientific lead in conducting the study. Raiffeisen Switzerland provides the financial funding for data collection and support the development of the survey. The study is also supported by the SwissEnergyprogramme, launched by the Federal Council in 2001. The sample is representative of the population in terms of gender, region, level of education and party preferences.