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Public perceptions of renewable energy technologies: challenging the notion of widespread support

Demski, Christina ORCID: 2011. Public perceptions of renewable energy technologies: challenging the notion of widespread support. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Developing renewable energy is a key part of UK (and European) energy policy to reduce carbon emissions and ensure energy security (DECC, 2009c). Public perception research has consistently shown widespread support for renewable energy and specific technologies (e.g. wind and solar especially); yet at the local level developments often face a lot of opposition (McGowen & Sauter, 2005). Much research has focused on explaining responses at the local level, however little research has examined the often assumed widespread support. Through a mixed-method approach (using both qualitative and more innovative quantitative methods including a decision-pathway approach; Gregory et al., 1997) this research is able to show that there are many nuances and complexities evident in general attitudes and perceptions, which are normally missed when using traditional survey methods. Support for renewables, and wind farms in particular, is to some extent unstable, undefined and qualified, yet this is not often acknowledged in the literature or in practice. The role for more complex attitudes, uncertainty and low-salience is highlighted. The results are discussed in relation to the literature examining local responses, and implications for policy and practice are drawn out. What it means to measure public opinion is discussed. This thesis concludes that there are many viewpoints between strong support and fundamental opposition that need to be acknowledged and engaged with.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Renewable energy technologies; Public perceptions; Energy policy; Carbon emissions; Energy security; Decision-pathway approach
Funders: Leverhulme Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 13:21

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