GCC Consumers Reject Lower Energy Use
Nine out of every ten consumers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region want their country to reduce its reliance on fossil fuelled power generation, but over two thirds say that using less energy is not the solution, according to research by Accenture. The survey, which covered Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Oman and Kuwait, also shows that nine out of ten consumers want more government intervention in the energy market to combat energy challenges.
The Accenture New Energy World Survey reveals that:
• 90 percent of GCC consumers say it is important or very important for their country to reduce reliance on fossil fuelled power generation.
• When asked why, the primary reason identified by consumers is to reduce carbon emissions (selected by 45 percent of respondents).
However, only a third of respondents say cutting energy should be the priority solution to reducing reliance on fossil fuel power:
• 33 percent say using less energy is the priority. 67 percent say that the answer lies in developing low carbon sources of energy.
“We cannot address climate change unless we both create new sources of clean energy and reduce consumer demand,” said Omar Boulos, Managing Director, Accenture, Middle East. “But our survey shows that consumers do not think lower energy use is a priority. It will take many years before renewable alternatives come fully on stream. Until they do, governments and energy companies will have to find creative ways to transform consumer habits and improve energy efficiency.”
Consumers demand more government intervention in the energy market
GCC consumers trust their energy companies to address energy challenges more than in most countries, but they demand strong government involvement in the market.
• 60 percent of respondents say they trust energy companies to address energy challenges, but only if they have direction from government, the highest level of all 22 countries surveyed.
• 22 percent do not trust energy companies at all, among the lowest levels of distrust in the world and well below the global average of 32 percent. The remaining 18 percent trust energy companies unreservedly.
When asked if more government intervention is required in the energy market, two thirds of consumers (68 percent) say ‘yes certainly’, far higher than the 45 percent global average. In all, 90 percent think there should probably or certainly be more government intervention.
• 64 percent want governments to control energy prices, the leading form of intervention required.
• 48 percent want governments to make investment decisions on low carbon energy, and 42 percent demand government support and incentives for the development of cleaner energy technologies.
More nuclear and renewables demanded
Two thirds of respondents think that nuclear power must be part of the move to low carbon energy sources in the region. 13 percent say that importance of nuclear power for electricity generation should be increased. A further 54 percent say that both nuclear and renewables should be increased, bringing the proportion of consumers who support the increased use of nuclear to 67 percent, higher than the global average of 50 percent.
The survey shows that GCC consumers think that renewable energy should account for 28 percent of the generation mix in the future in order to address energy challenges. “It is clear that there is popular sentiment in the region for a move towards a low carbon economy,” said Omar Boulos. “In our region, in particular, it will take some time to reach that goal, but the strong trust in the collaboration between energy companies and governments is an indication that foundations are there to support this transition.”