Main content area

Public preferences for investments in renewable energy production and energy efficiency

Noblet, Caroline L., Teisl, Mario F., Evans, Keith, Anderson, Mark W., McCoy, Shannon, Cervone, Edmund
Energy Policy 2015 v.87 pp. 177-186
energy efficiency, energy policy, renewable energy sources, surveys, Maine
In this paper we investigate the choices citizens make when asked to express willingness to support a proposed energy policy and are then compelled to allocate the program funds to either renewable energy or energy efficiency. In a survey study based on a random sample of residents of the state of Maine, USA, we find that citizens have preferences for specific types of renewable energy but these preferences do not yield significantly different allocation of investment funds between renewable energy and energy efficiency. We find that preferences are generally consistent regardless of presentation of options (i.e. limited ordering effects). Our results also indicate that personal characteristics that are understudied in the energy literature, including promotion/prevention focus and social/fiscal leanings, influence both willingness to support energy policies and also their allocation of fund choices, but in different ways. This suggests the importance of including multiple options in energy policy proposals, and that targeted messages regarding the components of such policies is key for optimal communication.