November 15, 2010 – Calgary, AB: A survey released today shows a noticeable drop in the number of Canadians who believe Canada can meet its future energy needs – from 82 per cent in 2009 to 76 per cent in 2010. At the same time, Canadians increasingly believe it is important for Canada to be a global energy leader – from 82 per cent in 2009 to 89 per cent in 2010.
“There may be many reasons for seeing a drop in confidence at the same time as an increase in global aspiration,” said Steven Bright, Senior Advisor, Canadian Centre for Energy information. “In our view, increased energy literacy can bridge the gaps between confidence and aspiration. A more informed public is able to make better choices related to their own energy use and enter into a more engaged dialogue with policy makers on how best to use our country’s significant energy endowment.”
This is the second annual survey focused on energy literacy in Canada. The survey was commissioned by the non-profit Canadian Centre for Energy Information (Centre for Energy) and conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion. The complete survey report can be found at www.centreforenergy.com. It is part of the Centre for Energy’s commitment to encourage greater fact-focused discussion about energy in Canada.
The survey shows other movements in attitudes and awareness compared with last year.
• As in 2009, respondents were asked to identify the biggest challenge to energy use in Canada from a list of five challenges. The number of respondents picking challenges stemming from the environmental costs of producing and consuming energy rose from 2009 to 2010. By contrast, the number of people picking over-reliance on fossil fuels and the high cost of energy to consumers dropped from 2009 to 2010.
• Canadians are now more likely to correctly identify the oil sands as Canada’s major source of crude oil, from 37 per cent in 2009 to 41 per cent in 2010.
Meanwhile, there is little to no change in other areas included in this survey, particularly perceived level of awareness and influence over policy.
• There is virtually no change in how well Canadians feel they are informed on energy issues – 62 per cent in 2009, compared to 64 per cent in 2010.
• There is no change in perception of influence over energy policies – in both 2009 and 2010, 42 per cent of Canadians believe they have any influence over such policies.
The survey also assessed Canadian’s knowledge of specific areas of Canada’s energy endowment and energy production, with mixed results.
• 64 per cent correctly identified Canada as a net energy exporter
• 12 per cent correctly identified Canada as having the second largest oil reserves in the world
• 16 per cent correctly identified Canada as being the world’s third largest hydroelectricity generating nation
• 66 per cent believe the country’s energy supply in 20 years will be derived more from renewable sources than oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear
• 41 per cent of Canadians know wind is the renewable source producing the most electricity aside from hydro
• 87 per cent know natural gas is used for heating homes but are not as aware of its other uses
• 43 per cent know both water volume and height of fall impact hydroelectricity production
• 27 per cent know wind turbines, when correctly located and positioned, can produce electricity 70 to 80 per cent of the time
In addition, the survey shows that Canadians are thinking about their own energy use and they have some knowledge of that use.
• 58 per cent of respondents improved the energy efficiency in their home in the last year
• 44 per cent know space-heating uses the most energy in a typical Canadian home
• 37 per cent correctly said transportation is the primary source of greenhouse gases in Canada
• Canadians believe the country is a heavier user of energy than the actual consumption numbers; with 5 per cent correctly identifying Canada’s seventh place global ranking in energy consumption and 66 per cent of respondents believing Canada ranks in the top six in the world
“Canadians are thinking about energy issues and taking steps in their own lives to be more energy conscious,” said Bright. “Energy issues affect us all, and building greater understanding will help Canada further strengthen our leadership role in this important sector of our economy.”
About the Canadian Centre for Energy Information
Founded in 2002, the Centre for Energy is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the energy literacy of Canadians. The Centre for Energy has developed a reputation for creating and distributing factual, relevant information on Canada’s energy system, including crude oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, thermal, hydro, biomass, wind, solar, hydrogen and fuel cell and geothermal energy. Its partners include member associations representing all the energy sectors featured on its site, www.centreforenergy.com, plus a range of public and private sector organizations.
The Centre for Energy supports a bias-balanced discussion on energy as it believes that an informed public better understands and supports energy policies, makes better business decisions related to energy, chooses careers in energy, invests in energy and uses energy wisely.
About the survey
From October 13 to October 18, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,006 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error – which measures sampling variability – is ± 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current age, gender and region Census data to ensure a representative sample.