Canada and the world are facing critical choices in the future direction of energy use, energy investments, climate change, and energy consumption. One of the key objectives of this project is to examine citizens’ knowledge and understanding of, attitudes toward, underlying values toward and preferences for different forms of energy that fuel our society.

Link to the project report here.

In relation to renewable energy alternatives, the respective percentage of participants who were supportive or strongly supportive are as follows:

  • Solar, 83.4%
  • Wind, 75.0%
  • Hydroelectric, 74.2%
  • Bioenergy, 62.1%
  • Geothermal, 59.5%

In relation to nuclear and non-renewable alternatives, the respective percentage of participants who were supportive or strongly supportive are as follows.

  • Natural gas from sources other than shale gas, 47.4%
  • Oil from sources other than oil sands/tar sands, 34.1%
  • Nuclear, 27.3%
  • Oil sands/tar sands, 28.2%
  • Shale gas, 18.6%
  • Coal, 13.2%

In the case of opposition to energy sources, influential factors, along with percentage of participants who ranked them as important or extremely important were as follows:

  • Environment, 90%
  • Risk to human and health safety, 89.2%
  • Impact on the landscape, 74.4%
  • Costs and or benefits to the province/territory, 53.7%
  • Costs to the economy and/or consumers, 39.2%

With respect to why participants supported an energy source, responses were more distributed, with benefits ranking higher, but very close to environment and risk to human and health safety. Percentages for extremely important or important in this case were:

  • Benefits to the province/territory, economy and/or consumers, 80.3%
  • Environment, 78.3%
  • Risk to human and health safety, 75.2%
  • Costs to the province/territory, economy and/or consumers, 64.6%
  • Impact on the landscape, 58.2%

A note about survey methods: To obtain information on attitudes, values, awareness and preferences for energy alternatives, we implemented a national survey. The survey comprised 45 questions and was completed by 3,000 Canadian adults over four weeks in fall 2014. Respondents were randomly solicited from a general population panel of 450,000 Canadians. Quota requirements based on Statistics Canada estimates for age, gender and region were taken into consideration with regards to survey invitations to ensure national representativeness.