Transforming the UK Energy System – Public Values, Attitudes and Acceptability

16 Jul 2013

Current policy debates and energy scenarios for the UK highlight the different possible ways of transforming the energy system in order to meet long-term national policy goals, including those of building a low carbon economy, achieving energy security and affordability, and mitigating environmental impacts. Although there has been much previous research on what publics think about specific ways of producing or consuming energy, we know far less about public perceptions, attitudes and values when elicited in relation to whole energy system change as an interconnected set of transformations in the systems of supply, demand, infrastructure and human behaviour.

Greater understanding of public acceptability of whole energy system change will present both opportunities, and also highlight challenges, for the delivery of UK energy policy and transitions. The research had three empirical phases: interviews with key stakeholders, a series of six in-depth deliberative workshops held with publics in  England, Scotland and Wales, and a nationally representative survey (Great Britain, n=2,441). This report represents a synthesis of key findings drawn from the two core datasets relating to public perceptions and preferences i.e. the workshops and the survey.