A green energy future

Jul 17, 2013
A green energy future

A team of University researchers have found that a large majority of the British public support moves to an efficient, clean, fair, and safe energy system but distrust remains a concern.

Transforming the UK energy system – public values, attitudes and acceptability brings together the findings from two in-depth phases of research carried out over a period of 30 months; a series of six in-depth deliberative workshops with members of the public held across England, Scotland and Wales, and a nationally representative survey of 2,441 members of the public.

Funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) the research was carried out by a team from the University's School of Psychology, Welsh School of Architecture and School of Engineering.

Professor Nick Pidgeon, School of Psychology, who leads the research said: "Our participants saw the bigger picture of energy system transformation, and they were overwhelmingly committed to moving away from towards renewable forms of and to lowering energy demand."

The research highlights key factors that are influential in public assessments of proposed changes.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

From examining these factors the research shows that publically favourable changes would: be energy efficient rather than wasteful; protect the environment and nature; be reliable, accessible and safe; allow consumers a certain amount of autonomy and power; be socially just and fair; improve on what has gone before; score well in terms of quality and performance; and, fit with a long-term, sustainable trajectory, rather than being just a short-term fix.

"Our research has shown clearly that people are more likely to accept changes that show signs of commitment to their underlying values, such as energy system components that are clean, efficient, fair and safe.

"The public is also keen for policy makers to clarify how current changes to the fit with longer-term plans, and to develop an intelligible and coherent strategy for this," Professor Pidgeon added.

Some of the other detailed findings in the report include:

  • 74% of participants were very or fairly concerned about climate change, while 82% were worried about the UK becoming too dependent upon energy from other countries;
  • 79% want to see a reduction in the use of fossil fuels over the next few decades; 81% express a desire to reduce their energy use; and support for solar (85%) and wind energy (75%) remains very strong;
  • The public is undecided on the role of nuclear power in the future energy mix. However, over half (54%) still said they would oppose the building of a new nuclear power station in their area;
  • Awareness of new low carbon technologies for the home, such as electric heating using 'heat pumps', was low. The percentage of people willing to use electric heating rose from 42% to 61% if it was posed as matching the performance of current systems and to 85% if it was also presented as cheaper. A majority (53%) were willing to use electric vehicles, rising to 75% if they performed as well as conventional models.

Explore further: Morocco raises 1.7 bn euros for solar plants

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New material holds big energy hope

Jul 01, 2013

(Phys.org) —A new material that can store large amounts of energy with very little energy loss has been developed by researchers at the Australian National University.

Getting the most out of home electricity

Jul 05, 2013

Large household appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, account for a huge amount of daily electricity consumption. An EU-funded project has developed a system to help you and your neighbours ...

Recommended for you

The state of shale

22 hours ago

University of Pittsburgh researchers have shared their findings from three studies related to shale gas in a recent special issue of the journal Energy Technology, edited by Götz Veser, the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor of Che ...

Website shines light on renewable energy resources

Dec 18, 2014

A team from the University of Arizona and eight southwestern electric utility companies have built a pioneering web portal that provides insight into renewable energy sources and how they contribute to the ...

Better software cuts computer energy use

Dec 18, 2014

An EU research project is developing tools to help software engineers create energy-efficient code, which could reduce electricity consumption at data centres by up to 50% and improve battery life in smart ...

Cook farm waste into energy

Dec 17, 2014

It takes some cooking, but turning farm waste into biofuels is now possible and makes economic sense, according to preliminary research from the University of Guelph.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Neinsense99
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 17, 2013
Before the usual suspects arrive...

Climate change deniers using dirty tricks from 'tobacco wars'
http://phys.org/n...ars.html

Science under fire from 'merchants of doubt': US historian
http://phys.org/n...ian.html

Leaks show group's climate efforts
http://phys.org/n...rts.html

Learn more about logical fallacies and real critical thinking here:
http://rationalwi...-science
or here http://rationalwi...y_theory
Neinsense99
2.3 / 5 (6) Jul 18, 2013
Before the usual suspects arrive...

Climate change deniers using dirty tricks from 'tobacco wars'
http://phys.org/n...ars.html

The down-vote crew is on my tail, it seems.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.