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Public perception of and engagement with emerging low-carbon energy technologies: A literature review

  • Tarla Rai Peterson (a1), Jennie C. Stephens (a2) and Elizabeth J. Wilson (a3)

Transitioning to low-carbon energy systems depends on fundamental changes in technologies, policies, and institutions. In Western democracies, public perceptions and engagement with energy have encouraged innovation while also slowing deployment of low-carbon energy technologies (LCETs).

Transitioning to low-carbon energy systems requires re-engineering technologies and changing the ways people interact with energy. This shift involves both technological and social changes including modifications in policies and institutional configurations. In Western democracies, public perceptions and engagement with energy have encouraged innovation while also slowing deployment of low-carbon energy technologies (LCETs). To aid understanding of how energy systems are evolving toward lower-carbon technologies in Western democracies, this study reviews the literature on public perception of and engagement with emerging LCETs. Focusing primarily on electricity generating technologies, we explore how multiple factors related to place and process shape public perceptions of and engagement with LCETs, thereby influencing their development and deployment. This study first reviews literature related to how place and process influence emerging LCETs and then provides a comparative example of differential development of wind energy in Texas and Massachusetts (USA) to demonstrate how place and process may interact to influence the patterns of LCET deployment.

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