SURVEY – According to our Odoxa poll, seven out of ten French people say they are in favor of the text put forward by the government and share its objectives.
Renewable or nuclear? More than fifty years after the advent of the atom, the French still find it difficult to choose. This is shown by an Odoxa Backbone Consulting survey, as parliamentarians prepare to vote on January 10 on the bill aimed at accelerating the development of renewable energies. According to this study, 7 out of 10 French people say they are in favor of the text carried by the government and share its objectives. Whether it is a tenfold increase in solar energy production, the deployment of fifty offshore wind farms or the doubling of onshore wind turbine production; all by 2050.
In detail, it is mainly supporters of the left (85%) who are in support. This is one more argument for the executive, which has been working for several weeks to place environmentalists and socialists before their responsibilities to obtain support from them. Supporters of the right (56%) and of the nationalist right (53%) are on the other hand more cautious, like their representatives in the Hemicycle.
Read alsoNuclear power, anatomy of a French political failure
But this approval seems limited. Because although favorable to an acceleration, the French remain divided as to the source of energy to be privileged. For 52% of them, renewables – wind or solar – should take precedence. For 47%, the solution for the future lies more in nuclear power.
This division can be explained by both partisan and sociological factors. Unsurprisingly, it is for supporters on the left (67%) and environmentalists (80%) that the renewable option seems preferable. While the followers of the line (63%) remain faithful to the atom. In the middle, we find as often very divided macronists (52% for renewables, 48% for nuclear).
Generational and geographical divisions
From a generational point of view, wind and solar power are also favored by the youngest (64% among those under 35), and not by those over 65 (60% in favor of nuclear). According to place of residence, Odoxa also reveals that slight variations are observed, with greater support for nuclear power in rural areas (52% for, 47% against) than in large cities.
In general, the image of nuclear power – badly damaged after the Fukushima accident in 2011 – has improved significantly. Over the past three years, the atom has jumped 26 points, allowing it to be considered a “clean” energy by 51% of French people. Conversely, wind power has fallen in the esteem of citizens, with a fall of 16 points (63% of positive views).
“While renewable energy is reassuring because it is believed that it entails less risk of serious accidents, that it is less polluting, and has fewer negative consequences for wildlife and biodiversity, nuclear power is perceived as more efficient in terms of energy and as an energy for which France has a lead over its neighbors», explains Céline Bracq, general manager of Odoxa. The aesthetic argument is also presented, since nuclear power is considered less harmful for the beauty of French landscapes.
Read alsoRenewable energies: an “uncertain” vote in the National Assembly
For these nuisances, both visual and sound, a majority of respondents said they were opposed to a wind turbine being installed next to their home (51%). The figure increases when it concerns rural people (56%), whose places of residence are the most privileged for the installation of this energy. Again, it is left-wing sympathizers (67%) who say they are ready to accept the inconvenience, as well as those under 25 (63%). The inhabitants of the Paris conurbation are also 57% to say they are ready to have a wind turbine near their residence, although they are much less concerned by this possibility. This is also one of the arguments put forward by the opponents of this text in the Hemicycle, particularly on the right, who have not failed to underline the lack of territorial equity in the distribution of renewable energies.