Differences in Public Perceptions of Geothermal Energy Technology in Australia

Carr-Cornish, Simone; Romanach, Lygia
March 2014
Energies (19961073);Mar2014, Vol. 7 Issue 3, p1555
Academic Journal
In Australia, geothermal energy technology is still considered an emerging technology for energy generation. Like other emerging energy technologies, how the public perceive the technology and under what conditions they are likely to accept or oppose the technology, remains relatively unknown. In response, this exploratory research utilised online focus groups to identify: (1) the extent of agreement with geothermal technology before and after information, including media reports focusing on a range of the technology's attributes; and (2) how the characteristics of individuals with different levels of agreement vary. After information, within the sample of 101 participants, fewer reported being unsure, the minority disagreed and the majority agreed. Overall, the preference was for projects to be located away from communities. Participants that disagreed or were unsure, were more likely to report lower subjective knowledge of the technology, lower perceived benefits and higher risks, and were less likely to believe people in their community would have the opportunity to participate in consultation. These characteristics suggest there are advances to be made by analyzing what contributes to different levels of acceptance. The findings also suggest that the location of projects will be an important consideration and that the conditions of acceptance are likely to vary amongst community members.


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