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Most Chinese consumers would pay more for green energy, study finds

In brief: More than 90 per cent of Chinese consumers would pay more for green energy, a new poll has found, a much higher figure than found in the US or UK.

The IPSOS poll, commissioned by the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, found that levels of support for green energy – and paying for it – were “unprecedented”.

“Similar surveys carried out in the US and the UK in the last two years found that 50 per cent and 48 per cent of US and UK respondents were willing to pay a higher price for renewable energy respectively,” CREIA director of policy research Peng Peng said.

“Compared with those overseas, Chinese consumers show stronger willingness to purchase green power, and are ready to pay considerably higher fees for it.”

The poll found that of the 97.6 per cent of consumers that were willing to buy green power, 90.6 per cent would accept up to a 10 per cent increase on their monthly bills.

Mr Peng said that despite this, there were currently no options for Chinese consumers to choose green power.

The difference between Chinese and Western consumers in willingness to pay could come down to the seriousness of environmental issues like air and water pollution in China. The vast majority of those surveyed (95.9 per cent) were worried about domestic pollution issues, with 43.4 per cent saying they were greatly concerned. Close to 97 per cent of respondents agreed that green energy would help to cut air pollution, which recent research found was responsible for 366,000 premature deaths.

Despite having the world’s largest installed capacity of wind and solar, coal still makes up around three-quarters of China’s energy mix.

Director of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation Li Junfeng said consumers should be able to support renewable energy through the purchase of green power.

“Given the willingness of the public to buy green power, power companies should indicate the source of a consumer’s power supply on their bills. Meanwhile, China should allow households and companies to buy green power, establish a green power certification mechanism, or allow users to buy green power directly from power companies to meet the demand of consumers for power and for better environmental quality.”

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