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Perception spillover from fracking onto public perceptions of novel energy technologies

Westlake, Steve, John, Conor and Cox, Emily ORCID: 2023. Perception spillover from fracking onto public perceptions of novel energy technologies. Nature Energy 8 , pp. 149-158. 10.1038/s41560-022-01178-4

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Public opposition to new energy technology can harm the chances of successful deployment. Less is known about knock-on effects on the wider energy system, including whether such opposition impacts public perceptions of other technologies. Here we present a mixed-methods study into ‘perception spillover’, examining whether the controversy over fracking for oil and gas affects public attitudes to two novel low-carbon energy technologies: deep ‘enhanced’ geothermal systems and ‘green’ hydrogen. We argue that perception spillover is multi-faceted, and we conceptualize and test spontaneous, prompted and primed forms, examining how and why particular types occur. Using a nationally representative UK survey and two focus groups, we show that perception spillover from fracking could lead to widespread negative perceptions of deep geothermal energy, influencing the conditions that deep geothermal would be expected to meet. Conversely, a minority of participants expressed more positive perceptions of green hydrogen because they deemed it dissimilar to fracking.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 2058-7546
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 November 2022
Date of Acceptance: 16 November 2022
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2023 23:08

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