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Title: A survey on public perceptions of environmental impacts of renewable energy power plants
Authors: Botelho, Anabela
Pinto, Lígia
Gomes, Lina Sofia Matos Lourenço
Valente, Marieta
Sousa, Sara
Keywords: social acceptance
perception of environmental impacts
renewable energy sources
Issue Date: Feb-2016
Abstract: The demanding EU target regarding the share of renewables in primary energy consumption poses challenges to European governments regarding the choice of renewable energy sources and the sitting decisions of new power plants. Environmental impacts of renewable energy power plants are mostly negative for residents in the vicinity of power plants (e.g. noise, glare or visual annoyance). Nevertheless, impacts such as those on landscapes and on the fauna and flora may also affect the value that the general public attributes to renewables. Several authors have focused on the question of land availability for sitting large-scale power plants, and on the social acceptability of renewable power plants in general, and have emphasized the importance of the relationship between social acceptability and distance to power plants. This paper proposes to analyze how the perceptions of the general Portuguese population regarding the environmental friendliness of renewable and non-renewable energy power plants is affected by home location in relation to the power plant, visibility of power plants, familiarity with the different energy sources, involvement in terms of employment, and socioeconomic characteristics. The data consists of a sample of 1800 residents in mainland Portugal. Preliminary results show considerable variation regarding: the familiarity and involvement with energy sources, the degree of environmental friendliness, and the perception of specific environmental impacts by renewable energy source. In addition, visibility of renewable energy power plants varies significantly by district of residence. The understanding of public perceptions regarding renewable energy sources and of the socio-demographic characteristics of those in favor, or against, renewable energy power plants is crucial for the future feasibility and acceptability of new and eventually larger or more dispersed power plants projects.
Peer Reviewed: yes
ISBN: 978-989-97531-4-3
Document Type: Conference Object
Appears in Collections:CETRAD - Comunicação em Conferência

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