Article

Changing Tides: Acceptability, support, and perceptions of tidal energy in the United States

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Tidal energy is a renewable energy source that could be used to help mitigate climate change. Tidal energy technology is in the early stages of development and views towards this technology and energy source are not well understood. Through a representative mail survey of Washington State residents, we assessed attitudes and behaviors related to tidal energy, perceived benefits and risks, and climate change beliefs. Higher levels of perceived benefits and climate change beliefs were associated with increased acceptability of and support for tidal energy whereas greater perceived risks were associated with decreased acceptability and support (acceptability being an attitudinal construct, support a behavioral construct). Coastal residents reported higher levels of acceptability and support than non-coastal residents. Pulling from innovation theory, we show that levels of support depended upon the development lifecycle stage of the technology. Support declined once the project moved into the water from the lab, however, grid-connected pilot projects were more likely to be supported than those without grid-connection. Policies developed to encourage the development of tidal energy may be more accepted and supported if they include incentives for pilot phases with grid-connection.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... The affect heuristic provides an explanation for the strong intercorrelation between risks and benefits: people base their risk assessment on an initial overall evaluation ("affect") and adjust their specific beliefs about the risks and benefits to fit into their preconceived view (Finucane, Alhakami, Slovic, & Johnson, 2000). Even though risk and benefit perceptions are strongly correlated, most research includes both risk and benefit perceptions in relation to the acceptability of risky attitude objects (Bearth & Siegrist, 2016;Bearth, Cousin, & Siegrist, 2014;Bearth, Miesler, & Siegrist, 2017;Dreyer, Polis, & Jenkins, 2017;Ho & Watanabe, 2018;Hubert, Blut, Brock, Backhaus, & Eberhardt, 2017;Poortvliet, Sanders, Weijma, & De Vries, 2018;Siegrist, Stampfli, Kastenholz, & Keller, 2008), including energy technologies Lienert, Sütterlin, & Siegrist, 2015;Visschers, Keller, & Siegrist, 2011;Whitfield, Rosa, Dan, & Dietz, 2009). ...
... Previous research shows that both risk and benefit perceptions are relevant in explaining the acceptability of risky energy technologies (Dreyer et al., 2017;Howell et al., 2017;Visschers et al., 2011). This assumption has especially been validated in the field of NP (De Groot et al., 2013;Greenberg & Truelove, 2011;Keller, Visschers, & Siegrist, 2012;see Ho et al., 2018 for an overview). ...
Article
Full-text available
Risky energy technologies are often controversial and debates around them are polarized; in such debates public acceptability is key. Research on public acceptability has emphasized the importance of intrapersonal factors but has largely neglected the influence of interpersonal factors. In an online survey (N = 948) with a representative sample of the United Kingdom, we therefore integrate interpersonal factors (i.e., social influence as measured by social networks) with two risky energy technologies that differ in familiarity (nuclear power vs. shale gas) to examine how these factors explain risk and benefit perceptions and public acceptability. Findings show that benefit perceptions are key in explaining acceptability judgments. However, risk perceptions are more important when people are less familiar with the energy technology. Social network factors affect perceived risks and benefits associated with risky energy technology, hereby indirectly helping to form one's acceptability judgment toward the technology. This effect seems to be present regardless of the perceived familiarity with the energy technology. By integrating interpersonal with intrapersonal factors in an explanatory model, we show how the current “risk–benefit acceptability” model used in risk research can be further developed to advance the current understanding of acceptability formation.
... These non-greenhouse arguments appeal to many of the same people concerned about climate change, but they can also reach beyond, to some who reject the reality of ACC. At the same time, the potential impacts of larger scale renewable-energy developments such as wind farms can inspire local opposition from people who otherwise might support action on climate change (Bidwell 2013;Dreyer et al. 2017;Hall et al. 2013;Olson-Hazboun et al. 2016;Petrova 2016;Wolsink 2007). Thus, renewable energy has potentially broader appeal, but sometimes also broader-based opposition, compared with public concern about climate change. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The topics of climate change and renewable energy often are linked in policy discussions and scientific analysis, but public opinion on these topics exhibits both overlap and divergence. Although renewable energy has potentially broader acceptance than anthropogenic climate change, it can also sometimes face differently-based opposition. Analyses of U.S. and regional surveys, including time series of repeated surveys in New Hampshire (2010-2018) and northeast Oregon (2011-2018), explore the social bases of public views on both issues. Political divisions are prominent, although somewhat greater regarding climate change. Such divisions widen with education, an interaction effect documented in other studies as well. We also see robust age and temporal effects. Younger adults more often prioritize renewable energy development, and agree with scientists on the reality of anthropogenic climate change (ACC). Across all age groups and both regional series, support for renewable energy and recognition of ACC have been gradually rising. These trends, together with age-cohort replacement and possible changes in age-group voting participation, suggest that public pressure for action on these issues could grow.
... • Planning Participation. This approach takes into consideration the suggested recommendations made by the local public in the early stages of the tidal project, thus facilitating its public acceptance [116]. The possible advantages of this strategy include: increased awareness of public concerns, a greater understanding between opposed parties and/or a higher level of confidence and acceptance by the local public. ...
Article
The exploitation of ocean energy is currently recognized as an abundant, geographically diverse and renewable energy source that could benefit European citizens by increasing energy independence, enhancing economic growth, creating jobs, allowing decarbonization or serving as a complement to other renewable sources within the global energy mix. Of the various types of ocean energy (wave, tidal, offshore wind, salinity gradient and thermal gradient), this paper is focused on technologies with which to harness the energy from ocean currents. This energy will have considerable possibilities in the future thanks to its high predictability and its enormous potential for the production of electricity. Most of the review papers concerning tidal energy systems are focused on engineering topics. However, there continues to be limited information as regards other aspects, such as those of an economical, social, political, legislative and environmental nature which, together with their interrelationships, need to be dealt with as a whole in order to detect the key drivers that could affect the success or failure of making tidal energy technologies marketable. The objective of this review paper is to address this gap by providing a detailed strategic analysis based on the most up-to-date literature, reports and guidelines. The paper discusses the different disciplines of which the PESTEL analysis (political, economical, social, technological, environmental and legal) is composed and provides different strategies/recommendations through which to mitigate many of the risks identified in order to facilitate the successful development of these technologies and bring them onto the market. Finally, some recent advances in tidal technologies developed by our research group (GIT-ERM) are also highlighted in the technological part of this paper.
Chapter
Full-text available
Resumen El uso de energías alternativas que minimicen la dependencia de los combustibles fósiles puede reducir la liberación de gases de efecto invernadero, así como promover la creación de empleos y el desarrollo a nivel local sobre una base sostenible. El aprovechamiento de la energía marina se perfila como una alternativa que permitirá estos beneficios. Sin embargo, su conversión plantea importantes retos a diferentes disciplinas, entre ellos la evaluación del posible impacto ambiental que supone la ocupación de área marina para dicho fin. De esta manera, se deben identificar los posibles impactos negativos de manera oportuna y diseñar las medidas necesarias para evitar o minimizar dichos impactos. En este capítulo se abordan los principales impactos ambientales asociados con los dispositivos que permiten aprovechar la energía disponible en el mar, así como los retos que deben afrontarse para
Preprint
Globally, public acceptance of waste-to-energy (WtE) incinerators is a crucial factor in implementing national waste-to-energy policies. This study adds to the literature on anti-incinerator sentiment by drawing upon an extended psychological-emotional model that integrates place-, trust-, and fairness-based pathways. A total of 338 residents in the Asuwei area in North Beijing completed a survey on a proposal to construct a WtE incinerator in the vicinity. Hierarchical regression analyses indicate that place attachment positively enhances anti-incinerator sentiment through direct effects, as well as through moderation and mediation effects between risk perception and opposing willingness. Further, institutional trust negatively moderates the impact of perceived risk on anti-incinerator sentiment, in addition to directly reducing perceived risk. Trust also influences anti-incinerator sentiment via risk perception, attesting to the effectiveness of a casual model of trust. Likewise, fairness perception acts as another determinant of opposing sentiment, similar to trust. We further reveal that procedural fairness plays a more significant role in predicting anti-incinerator sentiment than does distributional fairness. These findings demonstrate the importance of using a range of instrumental and more affective strategies to promote social acceptance of renewable energy infrastructure.
Article
Tidal energy is a renewable energy source that could be used to help mitigate climate change. Tidal energy technology is in the early stages of development and views towards this technology and energy source are not well understood. Through a representative mail survey of Washington State residents, we assessed attitudes and behaviors related to tidal energy, perceived benefits and risks, and climate change beliefs. Higher levels of perceived benefits and climate change beliefs were associated with increased acceptability of and support for tidal energy whereas greater perceived risks were associated with decreased acceptability and support (acceptability being an attitudinal construct, support a behavioral construct). Coastal residents reported higher levels of acceptability and support than non-coastal residents. Pulling from innovation theory, we show that levels of support depended upon the development lifecycle stage of the technology. Support declined once the project moved into the water from the lab, however, grid-connected pilot projects were more likely to be supported than those without grid-connection. Policies developed to encourage the development of tidal energy may be more accepted and supported if they include incentives for pilot phases with grid-connection.
Article
Full-text available
It is increasingly common for renewable energy projects to make financial, or in kind, payments to local communities. These arrangements are variously described as ‘benefits payments’ or ‘compensation schemes’. Similar approaches are now being recommended for other forms of development with potential to engender opposition from local communities (e.g. nuclear power and fracking). While such payments are common, the level of payment, the institutional frameworks involved, and the nature of discourse, varies greatly. Existing literature has sought to record, rather than explain, the diversity of arrangements. To a large extent this diversity is rooted in the power dynamic between developer and community. Three UK case studies are used to highlight the diversity of arrangements, meanings, and power balances, within benefits arrangements. Finally, a typology is developed to illustrate the spectrum of potential arrangements. This typology gives insight into why various arrangements emerge in response to their specific contexts.
Article
Full-text available
As climate policies change through the legislative process, public attitudes towards them may change as well. Therefore, it is important to assess how people accept and support controversial climate policies as the policies change over time. Policy acceptance is a positive evaluation of, or attitude towards, an existing policy(1-3); policy support adds an active behavioural component(1,3). Acceptance does not necessarily lead to support. We conducted a national survey of Australian residents to investigate acceptance of, and support for, the Australian carbon pricing policy before and after the 2013 federal election, and how perceptions of the policy, economic ideology, and voting behaviour affect acceptance and support. We found acceptance and support were stable across the election period, which was surprising given that climate policy was highly contentious during the election. Policy acceptance was higher than policy support at both times and acceptance was a necessary but insufficient condition of support. We conclude that acceptance is an important process through which perceptions of the policy and economic ideology influence support. Therefore, future climate policy research needs to distinguish between acceptance and support to better understand this process, and to better measure these concepts.
Article
Full-text available
Human behaviour is integral not only to causing global climate change but also to responding and adapting to it. Here, we argue that psychological research should inform efforts to address climate change, to avoid misunderstandings about human behaviour and motivations that can lead to ineffective or misguided policies. We review three key research areas: describing human perceptions of climate change; understanding and changing individual and household behaviour that drives climate change; and examining the human impacts of climate change and adaptation responses. Although much has been learned in these areas, we suggest important directions for further research.
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Ocean energy has the potential to play a significant role in the future energy system, whilst contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions and stimulating economic growth in coastal and remote areas. Ocean energy has attracted increasing interest, particularly in the EU, which is currently at the forefront of ocean energy development. Tidal and Wave energy represents the two most advance types of ocean energy technologies. In the EU, the aim is to reach 100 GW of combined wave and tidal capacity installed by 2050. In order to achieve these targets the sector needs to overcome a series of challenges and barriers with regards to technology readiness, financing and market establishment, administrative and environmental issues and the availability of grid connections especially in remote areas. Currently these barriers are hindering the sector's progress; its ability to attract inwards investments and to engage with the supply chain to unlock cost-reduction mechanisms. A number of policy initiatives and mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that ocean energy technologies could become cost-competitive in the short term, in order to exploit the benefits that these technologies could provide to the EU.
Article
Full-text available
Most offshore energy studies have focused on measuring or explaining people's perceptions of, and reactions to, specific installations. However, there are two different types of acceptance: one surrounds the siting of projects while the other surrounds a more general acceptance of offshore energy. Understanding what drives this second type of acceptance is important as governments have implemented new financial incentives and policies to support renewable energy development; however, citizens and government officials may be increasingly opposed to some of these support mechanisms. Our paper fills a void in the literature by using regression approaches to better understand how people's evaluations of the benefits and costs of offshore wind impact their level of general acceptance for offshore wind, while controlling for other factors (e.g., demographics). This analysis should help policy makers, and individuals attempting to educate the general public about renewable energy, to better understand the important factors influencing people's support or opposition to offshore wind energy initiatives.
Article
Full-text available
In July 2012, the Australian government instituted the Clean Energy Legislative Package. This policy, commonly known as the carbon policy or carbon tax, holds industries responsible for emissions they release through a carbon price. Because this will have an indirect effect on consumer costs, the policy also includes a compensation package for households indirectly impacted. This study, building upon past work in distributive justice, examines the determinants of the policy’s acceptance and support. We proposed perceived fairness and effectiveness of the policy, and endorsement of free-market ideology, would directly predict policy acceptance. We tested this through an on-line survey of Australian citizens and found that policy acceptance was predicted by perceived fairness and effectiveness. More Australians found the policy acceptable (43 %) than unacceptable (36 %), and many found it neither acceptable nor unacceptable (21 %). In contrast, when asked about support, more Australians tended not to support the policy (53 %) than support it (47 %). Support was predicted by main effects for perceived fairness, effectiveness, free-market ideology, and the interaction between free-market ideology and effectiveness. We conclude by considering some of the implications of our results for the implementation of policies addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation, for theories of social justice and attitudinal ambivalence, and for the continuing integration of research between economics and psychology. Furthermore, we argue for the distinction between policy support and acceptance and discourage the interchangeable use of these terms.
Article
Full-text available
To date, academic research relating to Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) has largely focused on resource assessment, technical viability and environmental impact. Experiences from onshore renewable energy tell us that social acceptability is equally critical to project success. However, the specific nature of the marine environment, patterns of resource distribution and governance means experiences from onshore may not be directly applicable to MRE and the marine environment. This paper sets out an agenda for social studies research linked to MRE, identifying key topics for future research: (i) economic impacts; (ii) wealth distribution and community benefits; (iii) communication and knowledge flow; (iv) consultation processes; (v) dealing with uncertainty; (vi) public attitudes; and (vii) planning processes. This agenda is based on the findings of the first workshop of ISSMER, an international research network of social scientists with interests in marine renewable energy. Importantly, this research agenda has been informed by the experiences of developers, regulators and community groups in Orkney. The Orkney archipelago, off the north coast of Scotland, is home to the most intense cluster of MRE research, development and deployment activity in the world today.
Article
Full-text available
The provision of community benefits has become a more common component of renewable energy project proposals in the UK. This raises questions as to the purposes these benefits are fulfilling and the ways in which they are perceived by the many different stakeholders involved in the processes of project development and approval. Are they seen as an effective strategic element in negotiations around planning consent; as a right for communities whose resource is being exploited, or who are experiencing the dis-benefits of technology implementation; or as a way of bribing or buying off protestors or key decision-makers? In this paper, we draw on evidence from a series of interviews with key stakeholders involved in renewable energy policy and development and from a set of mixed method, diverse case studies of renewable energy projects around the UK to examine the viewpoints of different stakeholders (including developers, local publics, politicians, activists and consultants). We discovered variation in the extent and type of benefits on offer, reflecting the maturity of different technologies, based on a number of rationales. We also found in the public's views a high degree of ambivalence towards both the benefits on offer (when they were known or acknowledged) and the reasons for providing them. The normative case for providing community benefits appears to be accepted by all involved, but the exact mechanisms for doing so remain problematic.
Article
Full-text available
Public attitudes anywhere in Europe show moderate to strong support for the implementation of renewable energy. Nevertheless, planning wind power developments appears to be a complicated matter in most countries. The problems that have to be dealt with during decision making processes on the siting of wind turbines are usually referred to as mere ‘communication problems’. However, public attitudes towards wind power are fundamentally different from attitudes towards wind farms. This ‘gap’ causes misunderstandings about the nature of public support for renewables. In particular where planners easily assume support for renewables can be generated by information campaigns emphasising the environmental benefits, whereas opposition to renewable energy schemes can be explained by a selfish ‘not in my backyard’ attitude. Both explanations used by planners, authorities and, unfortunately, by many scholars, are falsified. Furthermore, policies that still take this ‘common knowledge’ for granted can have negative consequences for the implementation rates of renewables. Visual evaluation of the impact of wind power on landscape values is by far the dominant factor in explaining why some are opposed to wind power and others are supporting it. Moreover, feelings about equity and fairness appear the determinants of ‘backyard’ motives, instead of selfishness.
Article
Full-text available
The Pacific Ocean is becoming valuable real estate. Fights over this space resemble those of the gold rush. Decision makers require data to integrate new uses (wave energy) with existing uses (commercial/recreational). It is vital to have the best data available and implement the best management practices concerning the environmental dimension. Yet, permitting processes rarely fail on technical or natural science grounds; rather, they fail because of lack of attention to the human dimension. Legislators and resource managers need to understand socioeconomic and sociopolitical perceptions. This knowledge is crucial for allowing citizens to determine their interests and civic opportunities. An informed and engaged public is essential to progress on environmental protection and sustainable development. It is important to assess the scope and depth of policy-relevant knowledge among stakeholders and the public, to learn where they acquire their information, and to flesh out the link between policy-relevant knowledge and understanding/acceptance of wave energy generation. By specifying the connection between knowledge holding and support for wave energy, purposeful public education and information dissemination efforts could be targeted effectively, and policy processes could be designed to maximize policy input and meet citizen and community concerns. This study looked at wave energy in terms of political/regulatory processes and environmental, social, and economic sustainability and acceptability.
Article
The release of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) due to human activity is increasing global av-erage surface air temperatures, disrupting weather patterns, and acidifying the ocean (1). Left unchecked, the continued growth of GHG emissions could cause global average tem-peratures to increase by another 4°C or more by 2100 and by 1.5 to 2 times as much in many midcontinent and far northern locations (1). Although our understanding of the impacts of climate change is increasingly and disturbingly clear, there is still debate about the proper course for U.S. policy—a debate that is very much on display during the current presidential transition. But putting near-term poli-tics aside, the mounting economic and scientific evidence leave me confident that trends toward a clean-energy econ-omy that have emerged during my presidency will continue and that the economic opportunity for our country to har-ness that trend will only grow. This Policy Forum will focus on the four reasons I believe the trend toward clean energy is irreversible.
Article
This paper offers a holistic approach to the evaluation of an ocean renewable energy (ORE) technology type or specific project in order to provide a comprehensive assessment of both narrow economic and broader socioeconomic performance. This assessment incorporates methods from three pillars areas: Economic - financial returns and efficient use of resources, Social -employment, social and community cohesion and identity, and Environmental - including the physical environment and pollution. These three pillars are then considered in the broader context of governance. In order to structure this evaluation, a novel parameter space model was created, defined by the three pillars and by the scale of the system under assessment. The scale of the system ranged from individual components of an ORE project; to projects comprising of a number of devices; through to a geographic regions in which multiple farms may be deployed. The parameter space consists of an inner circle representing the boundary of interest for a private investor, or a firm, developing an ORE project. The outer circle is characterised by assessment tools typically employed at the broader stakeholder level including economic, social, and environmental methods that can be employed at local, regional or national scale and which are typically employed to inform policy and decision making regarding ORE. Governance sets the stage within which management occurs. Wider impacts to the firm undertaking the project will take into account “externalities” of the project across the three fields. In this model, key methods identified are mapped onto this parameter space and the connectivity explored. The paper demonstrates that the three pillars are inter-connected and each must be considered in any meaningful assessment of ORE sustainability. An integrated assessment approach has the ability to address both the private and the public aspects of an ORE development. This analysis provides insights on existing best practice, but also reveals the potential for disconnect between an ORE project’s commercial viability and its contribution to environmental and social goals. Keywords— Economics, Social, Environment, Governance, Assessment, Sustainable Development, Connectivity
Article
Since the cessation of plutonium production in 1987, the Hanford Nuclear Waste facility has been the site of the largest and most expensive environmental cleanup project in history. Without prior knowledge of the dangers associated with chemical and radiological wastes, the Department of Energy disposed of millions of gallons of these wastes directly into the soil and the nearby Columbia River. Faced with this enormous burden, the federal government has adopted a new cleanup strategy to accelerate the remediation process and reduce excess spending. However, critics argue that these efforts jeopardized both personal and environmental safety, and the federal and local governments have often been locked in dispute over the proper course of cleanup action to pursue. The result of these conflicting interests has been the most expensive and arguably most inefficient cleanup project in environmental history.
Article
Island communities represent key potential arenas for marine renewable energy (MRE) because of their tidal, wave and off-shore wind resources. However, although MRE developments could offer remote island communities significant economic benefits, limited research exists on community attitudes towards MRE or, crucially, the main factors shaping responses. Research in the Shetlands, Orkneys and Scillies (UK) revealed generally positive attitudes towards MRE but also that attitudes were strongly shaped by place-related values, not just the direct socio-economic and environmental credentials of proposed locations. Developments that complemented established place values were more likely to gain acceptance whereas conflicts with these values was often a major reason for concerns about MRE. The results are used to argue for greater attention to place-related values in decision-making and community engagement on MRE developments.
Article
International watershed basins shared by two or more states cover nearly half the land surface of the earth and often present complex, interconnected management challenges. The Columbia River basin has long been considered a model case of international watershed management. The fiftieth anniversary of the Canada-United States treaty that governs the basin occurred in 2014, which was also the first year either country could give notice to terminate and request to renegotiate. Stakeholders and interested parties with values shut out of the original negotiations have long advocated for fundamental changes in how the river is managed and operated. Meanwhile, those interests who are the primary beneficiaries of the current system want to limit any changes in terms, operations, and distribution of benefits. This article explores the politics of potential treaty renegotiation and focuses on the institutional permanence of the existing system, demands for ecosystem functions in future system operations, and whether transformational change or incremental adaption is the politically likely outcome.
Article
Despite robust research, prototype development and demonstration of in-stream tidal energy devices, progress to the commercialization stage has been slow. Some of this can be attributed to a lack readiness or financing. However, when uncertainty is high, a developer may choose to delay a project until more is known. The option to delay has value for a company. This study applies the real option valuation model to an investment in a 10 MW array of in-stream tidal energy conversion devices at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada. The values of investing and the option to delay are calculated. A sensitivity analysis of key drivers and scenarios with various input values to the option model are constructed to observe the impact on the 'invest versus delay' decision. The analysis suggests there is value in owning the option to develop, by leasing a FORCE berth, but waiting while uncertainty is resolved. Implications for policy-setting are discussed.
Article
Through the Intelligent Energy Europe-funded SOWFIA project, the experiences of developers, regulators and stakeholders in relation to consenting wave energy deployments to date was assessed and analysed. The work focussed on wave energy test centres in Europe and involved consultation with wave energy device and project developers, regulatory authorities, stakeholders, environmental consultants and others through dedicated workshops and questionnaire surveys. Themes that arise in the analysis relate to planning and consenting processes, administrative procedures, Environmental Impact Assessment and stakeholder consultation. An analysis of the barriers as perceived by those consulted is presented and discussed, and recommendations are drawn from the analysis within each of the themes. In particular the need for Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) to alleviate complex planning and consenting processes; the need for coordination of administrative procedures; the need for clearer requirements in the EIA process; and the need for early participation of stakeholders in consultation are discussed. Progress has been made in many EU countries but certain priority areas remain to be addressed if wave energy is to realise its full potential.
Article
Understanding the acceptance of and support for transportation policies focused on the environment, such fuel economy standards, is important because of the positive impact policies can have on the environment and overall sustainability goals. This study investigates the acceptance of and support for fuel economy standards through an online survey of Maine residents. Specifically, we assess the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which aim to increase fuel economy of vehicles, while decreasing greenhouses gas emissions and foreign fuel dependence in the United States. We assess how perceptions of the policy and economic views of the market affect acceptance and support. We differentiate acceptance and support on two dimensions, a temporal and attitudinal–behavioral dimension. In doing so, we improve upon traditional measures of these variables and provide evidence that acceptance and support are distinct constructs. We find that perceived fairness, perceived effectiveness, and a subscription to a free-market ideology play a role in acceptance and support. The implications of the findings are discussed in relation to survey methods, policy communications, and an interdisciplinary understanding of environmental policy.
Article
The expansion of the marine renewable energy (MRE) sector will increase pressure on sea space and existing maritime users which could potentially lead to conflict. Commercial fishing has been identified by many as the industry most likely to be affected by the development of MRE. In order to reduce the risk of spatial conflict and to enable decision-making based on the co-existence of the two sectors, it is important to gain a better understanding of the attitudes of fishermen towards the development of MRE projects in their locality. A survey was designed to provide quantitative information on fishermen׳s attitudes to marine renewable energy and the perceived impacts and opportunities. Three MRE developments which have been proposed around the island of Ireland (comprising Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) were chosen as case study sites in which to carry out the survey. The sites represent offshore wind, wave and tidal energy respectively and are in differing stages of development. In total, 104 complete surveys were conducted with fishermen located at ports in the vicinity of the case study sites. 40% of those surveyed agreed that it is important to develop marine renewable energy in their locality. A further 15% were neutral on this matter. It is encouraging for developers and policy makers that the majority of respondents (70%) were of the opinion that fisheries and MRE projects can co-exist.
Article
Social acceptance, along with technical, economic and legal aspects, is a prerequisite for the successful adoption of renewable energies. Research into the social acceptance of the underlying implementation of different renewable energy technologies, such as grid connected photovoltaic solar, biomass and wind power plants, is increasingly gaining interest. Nevertheless, studies that address the issue of the social acceptance of sea wave energy plants are very rare. This article aims at making a contribution towards filling this gap analyzing the community acceptance of the oscillating water column (OWC) shoreline plant of Mutriku, a facility that has been subject of great interest due to its innovative technical characteristics. This article's findings emphasize the importance of effective and meaningful social involvement in the successful promotion and diffusion of renewable energy infrastructures such as wave energy plants.
Article
Development of renewable energy affects or is affected by numerous stakeholders. Understanding who the stakeholders are and how they are engaged in the process is necessary for improving the responsible development of renewable energy technologies. Using structured community interviews and in-depth ethnographic research (semistructured interviews, informal interviews, observations, and document review), we identified and characterized the most salient stakeholders associated with tidal power development in Maine and documented stakeholder perceptions of developer engagement strategies. Stakeholder characterization was facilitated using a framework by Mitchell et al. (The Academy of Management Review 22: 853-886, 1997) that characterizes salient stakeholders using attributes of power, urgency, and legitimacy. Key stakeholders identified include fishermen, community members, tribes, regulators, developers, and scientists. Fishermen and regulators are definitive stakeholders, with legitimacy, power, and urgency in the process. Tribes are considered dominant stakeholders; they have legitimacy and power, but their interests are, at this time, not viewed as urgent. Scientists are considered to have urgency and power. The developers viewed their stakeholder engagement strategy as open and transparent. Community stakeholders, regulators, and fishermen generally perceived the developer's approach as effective; they noted the company's accessibility and their efforts to engage stakeholders early and often. Given the dynamic nature of stakeholder salience, our findings highlight the importance of engaging dominant stakeholders so that future conflict can be more easily avoided as new information develops. Our approach can be used to inform stakeholder identification and engagement research in other renewable energy contexts.
Article
This paper analyses the findings of recent mail surveys of residents living near two proposed offshore wind power projects – Cape Wind off Massachusetts and Bluewater Wind off Delaware. In 2009, 57% supported Cape Wind, while 80% supported Bluewater Wind. To measure the relationship between perceptions of public process and substantive support or opposition, we assessed opinions of procedural fairness, local community voice and trust in developers. A plurality ofresidents in both cases is relatively satisfied with the process, while statistical modelling suggests that satisfaction with the process and outcome may be mutually reinforcing or jointly determined.
Article
This article explores the physical coastal impacts that are anticipated by coastal water-users in the lee of the Wave Hub marine renewables test facility (Cornwall, UK). In depth, semi-structured interviews were analysed using a grounded theory approach in order to explore contemporary anticipations as well as the process of opinion formation that has occurred for participants. The interviews focused on anticipated impacts to inshore wave conditions, beach sedimentation, rip current formation and beach safety. The results indicate that participants constructed their anticipations by weighing their perceptions of the technology against their perceptions of the coastal environment. A conceptual model is presented which allows the degree of anticipated coastal impact to be predicted, by categorizing technologies and coastal environments in terms of their perceived properties. The model indicates that wave energy deployments which are perceived to be large scale, close to shore, wide, stationary, or extracting high percentages of energy are likely to invoke anticipations of significant or severe coastal impacts. Conversely, those which are perceived to be small scale, far from shore, narrow, moving, or extracting low percentages of wave energy are more likely to invoke anticipations of insignificant or no coastal impact. Interestingly, the level of anticipated impact was most often based on device properties such as form or siting, and was rarely influenced by device extraction efficiency. The implications for future marine renewables deployments are discussed.
Article
Offshore renewable energy, including offshore wind, tidal and wave energy, has sometimes been represented as opposition-free alternatives to controversial technologies such as onshore wind turbines, and has received increasing attention from social scientists in recent years. A fragmented literature has emerged investigating public engagement with these technologies and the determinants of public acceptance, comprising 59 key studies—the majority investigating offshore wind energy (59%). This literature review argues that while the ways in which public actors engage with offshore renewable energy are to some extent similar to onshore energy infrastructure, there are also important differences. These include the generally lower levels of public knowledge about the technologies, a changing role for visual impacts, a fundamentally different, marine, spatial context, and different sets of stakeholders in different decision-making arenas. There is a need to explore as yet unasked and unanswered questions—going beyond ‘established’ variables identified in the onshore wind-based ‘beyond NIMBY’ literature—especially regarding the role of the marine location of these technologies, and the cross-technology and cross-disciplinary applicability of findings. In order to more fully understand public responses to energy infrastructures, future research needs to move beyond case studies of onshore wind developments, adopting more diverse and ambitious research designs and methodologies.For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.
Article
Deployment of marine renewable energy (MRE) in the UK is desirable in order to address climate change, meet mandatory EU renewable energy targets and provide significant economic development opportunities, including new export markets. Public funding constraints in the UK mean that substantial investment is required from the private sector to commercialize the industry. By focussing on investor attitudes and behaviours towards wave and tidal technologies, this paper reveals significant observations from the investment community with serious implications for the future of the MRE industry. Through a series of in-depth interviews with individuals from the investment community, device developers and industry support, the research seeks to identify common barriers and incentives to investment. The paper demonstrates that although investors' attitudes are generally aligned, they do appear to have changed over time. Of the participants that had previously invested in early stage MRE device development, none were likely to do so again. It is concluded that this is a function of investors' greater understanding of the scale, and unpredictability of the costs, and the length of time required to develop these technologies. This presents a significant policy challenge for all actors interested in the commercialization of wave and tidal technologies.
Article
The promotion of low carbon energy and associated infrastructures for tackling climate change is a central task for governments worldwide. However, public and, mainly, local, opposition to those infrastructures may slow down or even halt that process. Thus, in the last few years a body of research has developed specifically to understand the social acceptance of technologies such as wind turbines or bioenergy plants. We argue that the use of ‘acceptance’ in this literature should be further discussed. We contend that using the word ‘acceptance’ may present some constraints for the theoretical advancement of this area of research and to the implications that may be taken from it to the wider society. This is further highlighted through the presentation of findings from surveys conducted with nationally representative samples from the UK and Norway which examined their acceptance of and support for new high voltage power lines. We conclude by suggesting that the literature on public responses towards low carbon energy and associated infrastructures should be more critical in the conceptualisation of its research agenda, become empirically more consistent and transparent, and examine other types of relations between people and energy infrastructures besides acceptance or opposition.
Article
Efforts by many governments to mitigate climate change by increasing deployment of renewable energy technologies have raised the importance of issues of public acceptance. The ‘NIMBY’ (Not In My Backyard) concept, although popular, has been critiqued as an appropriate and valid way to explain local opposition. This study applies an alternative approach, empirically investigating the role of place attachment and place-related symbolic meanings in explaining public responses to a tidal energy converter in Northern Ireland, said to be the first grid-connected device of its kind in the world. 271 residents in two nearby villages completed questionnaire surveys, three months post-installation, following up preliminary qualitative research using focus groups. Although results indicated predominantly positive and supportive responses to the project, manifest by emotional responses and levels of acceptance, significant differences between residents in each village were also observed. Contrasting patterns of association between place attachment and emotional responses suggest that the project enhanced rather than disrupted place attachments only in one of the two villages. In regression analyses, place attachment emerged as a significant, positive predictor of project acceptance in both places, affirming its value in explaining public response. Place-related symbolic meanings also emerged as significant, with contrasting sets of meanings proving significant in each context. Implications of the findings for research on place attachment and responses to land-use changes, as well as for developers seeking to engage with residents affected by energy projects are discussed.
Article
The far-field, barotropic effects of in-stream tidal energy extraction from Puget Sound are quantified using a one-dimensional channel model. In-stream turbines are modelled in regions of energetic flow in northern Admiralty Inlet and Tacoma Narrows. The far-field extraction effects include changes to the tide (amplitude and phase), transport, power dissipation, and kinetic power density. These effects are observed throughout Puget Sound and are dependent on the magnitude and location of extraction. The model indicates that a 5 per cent reduction in transport in the South Sound would correspond to either 260 MW of dissipation by in-stream turbines in Admiralty Inlet, 120 MW in Tacoma Narrows, or an intermediate level of dissipation in both locations. The environmental and economic limits on future developments are discussed. For pilot-scale development, this modelling indicates that the barotropic, far-field extraction effects on Puget Sound will be immeasurably small.
Article
Public concern about the visual and environmental impacts of renewable-energy projects has been a major factor behind the stalling or rejection of many planning applications for on-shore renewables developments. Siting renewables facilities in off-shore locations would appear to reduce this tension but, as yet, limited research has been conducted on public attitudes to marine renewables—particularly tidal and wave power—to establish how genuinely ‘out of sight and out of mind’ such developments are in the public mind. This paper presents a quantitative study of public opinions on a test site for wave energy currently under construction near the coast of the Southwest UK. The findings suggest general public support for wave energy as an economically beneficial method of power generation with few adverse side-effects. The merits of quantitative and qualitative research on public attitudes towards renewable-energy technologies are then discussed and concepts of risk and reward perception are used to explore the possible future dynamics of public attitudes towards ‘future’ renewables technologies like wave energy. We conclude with reflections on risk and reward perceptions as a heuristic device for defining future directions for research on public attitudes towards different renewable-energy technologies.
Article
It is widely recognised that public acceptability often poses a barrier towards renewable energy development. This article reviews existing research on public perceptions of wind energy, where opposition is typically characterized by the NIMBY (not in my back yard) concept. The objectives of the article are to provide a critical assessment of past research and an integrated, multidimensional framework to guide future work. Six distinct strands of research are identified, summarized and critiqued: public support for switching from conventional energy sources to wind energy; aspects of turbines associated with negative perceptions; the impact of physical proximity to turbines; acceptance over time of wind farms; NIMBYism as an explanation for negative perceptions; and, finally, the impact of local involvement on perceptions. Research across these strands is characterized by opinion poll studies of general beliefs and case studies of perceptions of specific developments. In both cases, research is fragmented and has failed to adequately explain, rather than merely describe, perceptual processes. The article argues for more theoretically informed empirical research, grounded in social science concepts and methods. A multidimensional framework is proposed that goes beyond the NIMBY label and integrates previous findings with social and environmental psychological theory. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
This paper is about understanding the role and importance of public responses to offshore wind power. It builds on a framework for understanding social acceptance and opposition to onshore turbines, and reviews the emerging research on offshore wind. While less is known about how people will respond to offshore than onshore wind, there is now an emerging body of research. From this literature, several common factors which influence responses have emerged and are discussed here: the (continued) role of visual impact; place attachment to the local area; lack of tangible benefits; relationships with developers and outsiders; and the role of the planning and decision-making systems. The paper argues that, as with onshore developments, the public should be included in decision-making about offshore wind farms, and that they have a key role which should not be underestimated. The paper concludes with some thoughts about the means to involve people and how effected communities might be effectively acknowledged, identified and engaged.
Article
Presently, less than a handful of papers have analysed the attitude towards offshore wind farms in a population living in an area with offshore wind farms. This leaves the experience-based attitude and demographic relations analysis relatively unexplored. The present studies aims at covering some of that seemingly uncharted territory by analysing attitudes from a sample of more than 1000 respondents. Applying an Ordered Probit Model, the results show general positive attitudes towards offshore wind farms and that the attitude formation seems to be a function of the gender, income, level of education, visit frequency and type of visit to the beach and the view to on-land turbines from the residence. Interestingly and perhaps the most interesting results, the observed relations between demographics and attitude are found to be dependent on the type and frequency of usage of the beach among the respondents. Attitudes towards offshore wind farms and demographic associations are thus found to be more evident in the case that respondents do use not the beach for walking on a relatively frequent basis but much weaker if the respondent use the beach on a frequent basis. However, these results are sensitive to the type of beach usage. This suggests that attitude formation towards offshore wind farms appear to be dependent on a combination of the type and frequency of use of the beach. To the author's knowledge these findings are novel, as such relation has not yet been identified in the literature. As such, the results shed light on a new angle in both the literature focusing on the opposition formation towards wind power projects in general and offshore wind farms in particular.
Article
In-depth interviews were combined with analysis of a wide range of secondary data to assess the formation of opposition and support in the case of the Wave Hub in Cornwall, UK. It is argued that stakeholder responses to renewable energy developments are, in part, related to interpretations of what both the technology and the location or ‘place’ are seen to represent or symbolise. There is a need to move beyond knowledge deficit and NIMBY models if these issues are to be explored. Place was interpreted at different scales and was seen as: economically vulnerable, as having a sense of local ownership, as a resource and as nature. Symbolic interpretations of the technology related to the contested environmental status and significance of electricity produced, as well as it being seen as a project for local people, commercial, experimental, pioneering, industrial and at one with Mother Nature. These interpretations gave rise to various symbolic logics of opposition and support, some of which are outlined. Although a case study of a wave energy development, many of the issues discussed relate to renewable energy developments more widely. Therefore the findings are discussed in relation to their implications for renewable energy developers and UK energy strategy.
Article
Tidal energy has the technical potential to form part of a low carbon electricity sector, however, its ‘social potential’ is less clear, as few empirical studies of public beliefs and responses have been conducted to date. This research addressed this gap by investigating a tidal energy convertor in Northern Ireland, said to be the first grid-connected device of its kind in the world. Data was collected from 313 residents of two nearby villages using mixed methods, guided by a conceptual framework that avoided ‘NIMBY’ assumptions and instead drew on place theory. Findings indicated strong support for the project, arising from beliefs that the project enhanced local distinctiveness by ‘putting the area on the map worldwide’; appeared visually familiar and helped tackle climate change. These positive beliefs outweighed concerns about outcome and process aspects, which were preponderant in one of the two villages. The project was interpreted to have few positive local economic outcomes, to potentially threaten local livelihoods and local ecology. Moreover, residents expressed cynicism about consultation procedures, and reported low levels of behavioural engagement. Implications of the findings for the literature on public acceptance of renewable energy, and for the emerging marine energy sector specifically, are discussed.
  • R Gifford
R. Gifford, Research Methods for Environmental Psychology, John Wiley & Sons, West Sussex, UK, 2016 p. 430.
  • Power Force
  • On
FORCE, Power On: CSTV Generates First In-stream Tidal Energy at FORCE, (2017) http://fundyforce.ca/power-on-cstv-generates-first-in-stream-tidal-energy-at-force (Accessed 27 January 2017).
Public Acceptability of Offshore Renewable Energy in Guernsey: Using Visual Methods to Investigate Local Energy Deliberations
  • B Wiersma
B. Wiersma, Public Acceptability of Offshore Renewable Energy in Guernsey: Using Visual Methods to Investigate Local Energy Deliberations, University of Exeter, 2016.
preferences for tidal energy research and development: a study of households in Washington State
preferences for tidal energy research and development: a study of households in Washington State, Ecol. Econ. 136 (2017) 213-225.
Wind Energy Comes of Age
  • P Gipe
P. Gipe, Wind Energy Comes of Age, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1995.
American Community Survey Demographic and Housing Estimates (Washington State)
  • U S Bureau
U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey Demographic and Housing Estimates (Washington State), (2016) http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/ tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF (Accessed 20 January 2016).
United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey, (2014).
Internet, Phone, Mail and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method
  • D A Dillman
  • Jolene D Smyth
  • Leah Melani Christian
D.A. Dillman, Jolene D. Smyth, Leah Melani Christian, Internet, Phone, Mail and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method, Jon Wiley & Sons, 2014.