Bergen Energy Lab (BEL)

Gisela Böhm (Department of Psychosocial Science) - Public acceptance of energy sources

In a joint Energy Lab/DIGSSCORE/CET lunch-meeting, professor Gisela Böhm from the Department of Psychosocial Science presented survey results on public acceptance of different energy sources.

Gisela Böhm
Gisela Böhm (Department of Psychosocial Science)
Bergen Energy Lab

Main content

The European Perceptions of Climate Change (EPCC) is a survey study performed in the UK, Norway, France and Germany, assessing how worried people are about climate change and its impacts. A report presenting the key results of the study can be read here, and more information about the study can be found here.

Gisela's presentation focused mainly on two questions from the EPCC survey, related to people's views on different energy sources.

  1. The first question was related to acceptance; asking whether people thought positively or negatively about various methods of energy generation in their specific country.
  2. The second question was related to energy concerns; asking people if they agree or disagree to several statements on what concerns should be taken into account when producing energy in their country. These concerns included producing energy in a way that the environment was protected, in a way that ensures a stable supply of energy, in a way that does not negatively impact economic development, in a way that means energy is affordable and finally in a way that means we do not depend on energy import from other countries.

Regarding acceptability, the study showed a clear division between traditional fossil fuels and renewable energy sources. Hydro, solar and offshore wind are the most accepted, whereas coal, nuclear, oil and fracking are the least accepted. There is little variation across the countries for most of the energy sources, except for coal and nuclear. Inhabitans in the UK and in France are generally more positive to nuclear energy than in Germany and in Norway. Moreover, coal is more acceptable in the UK and in Germany, but considered to be the worst energy source in Norway.

All energy concerns are endorsed to a high degree in all of the countries, with the concern towards the environment being the highest and the economy the lowest. Again, there is a high agreement between the countries on the various energy concerns. The exception is that in Norway, we are more concerned about import dependency than in other countries.