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Renewable energy policy and public perceptions of renewable energy: A cultural theory approach

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Energy Policy, Volume 38, Number 10, p.5739-5748 (2010)



Public opposition to the siting of renewable energy (RE) facilities and public reluctance to invest in RE remain key obstacles to the expansion of the renewables sector in the UK and a number of other European countries. Although there is a growing body of qualitative research on factors that inform public attitudes towards RE, the majority of studies have tended to be quantitative and to view ëthe publicí and ëpublic opinioní as homogeneous wholes. This study uses a cultural theory framework and focus groups conducted in the South West UK to develop deeper understandings of how individualsí worldviews can inform opinions and behaviour in relation to RE. These findings are used to explore ways in which government policies on RE might be tailored to engender greater public support and participation. Issues discussed include the provision of economic incentives, information on climate change and RE, linking renewables to overall energy behaviour, and landscape aesthetics.