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Modelling socio-environmental sensitivities: how public responses to low carbon energy technologies could shape the UK energy system.

Moran Jay B, Howard D, Hughes N, Whitaker J, Anandarajah G - ScientificWorldJournal (2014)

Bottom Line: However, the role of the public's socio-environmental sensitivities to low carbon energy technologies and their responses to energy deployments does not receive much serious attention in planning decarbonisation pathways to 2050.The scenarios represent risk aversion (DREAD) which avoids deployment of potentially unsafe large-scale technology, local protectionism (NIMBY) that constrains systems to their existing spatial footprint, and environmental awareness (ECO) where protection of natural resources is paramount.Very different solutions for all three sets of constraints are identified; some seem slightly implausible (DREAD) and all show increased cost (especially in ECO).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute for Energy Systems, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, UK.

ABSTRACT
Low carbon energy technologies are not deployed in a social vacuum; there are a variety of complex ways in which people understand and engage with these technologies and the changing energy system overall. However, the role of the public's socio-environmental sensitivities to low carbon energy technologies and their responses to energy deployments does not receive much serious attention in planning decarbonisation pathways to 2050. Resistance to certain resources and technologies based on particular socio-environmental sensitivities would alter the portfolio of options available which could shape how the energy system achieves decarbonisation (the decarbonisation pathway) as well as affecting the cost and achievability of decarbonisation. Thus, this paper presents a series of three modelled scenarios which illustrate the way that a variety of socio-environmental sensitivities could impact the development of the energy system and the decarbonisation pathway. The scenarios represent risk aversion (DREAD) which avoids deployment of potentially unsafe large-scale technology, local protectionism (NIMBY) that constrains systems to their existing spatial footprint, and environmental awareness (ECO) where protection of natural resources is paramount. Very different solutions for all three sets of constraints are identified; some seem slightly implausible (DREAD) and all show increased cost (especially in ECO).

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Societal welfare expressed as consumer and producer surplus.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection


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fig7: Societal welfare expressed as consumer and producer surplus.

Mentions: If the sum of consumer and producer surplus is used as a partial measure of social welfare, it becomes evident that all of the socio-environmental scenarios impose a higher social cost than the LC scenario. Yet, it is the ECO scenario that once again imposes the greatest costs; the ECO scenario shows a significantly greater decline in welfare from 2015 onwards than the LC, NIMBY, or DREAD scenarios (Figure 7). However, this measure of social welfare is perhaps not the best way to envision social welfare in these types of scenarios. The constraints in these scenarios are meant to represent social sensitivities and preferences, so there should be some social benefits gained by responding to these preferences. Consumer and producer surplus, a traditional measure of welfare (which theorises decreasing social welfare with increasing demand reduction, etc.), may not be as applicable in a possible future where people choose to reduce demand and remake the energy system in response to concerns and sensitivities.


Modelling socio-environmental sensitivities: how public responses to low carbon energy technologies could shape the UK energy system.

Moran Jay B, Howard D, Hughes N, Whitaker J, Anandarajah G - ScientificWorldJournal (2014)

Societal welfare expressed as consumer and producer surplus.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3921941&req=5

fig7: Societal welfare expressed as consumer and producer surplus.
Mentions: If the sum of consumer and producer surplus is used as a partial measure of social welfare, it becomes evident that all of the socio-environmental scenarios impose a higher social cost than the LC scenario. Yet, it is the ECO scenario that once again imposes the greatest costs; the ECO scenario shows a significantly greater decline in welfare from 2015 onwards than the LC, NIMBY, or DREAD scenarios (Figure 7). However, this measure of social welfare is perhaps not the best way to envision social welfare in these types of scenarios. The constraints in these scenarios are meant to represent social sensitivities and preferences, so there should be some social benefits gained by responding to these preferences. Consumer and producer surplus, a traditional measure of welfare (which theorises decreasing social welfare with increasing demand reduction, etc.), may not be as applicable in a possible future where people choose to reduce demand and remake the energy system in response to concerns and sensitivities.

Bottom Line: However, the role of the public's socio-environmental sensitivities to low carbon energy technologies and their responses to energy deployments does not receive much serious attention in planning decarbonisation pathways to 2050.The scenarios represent risk aversion (DREAD) which avoids deployment of potentially unsafe large-scale technology, local protectionism (NIMBY) that constrains systems to their existing spatial footprint, and environmental awareness (ECO) where protection of natural resources is paramount.Very different solutions for all three sets of constraints are identified; some seem slightly implausible (DREAD) and all show increased cost (especially in ECO).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute for Energy Systems, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, UK.

ABSTRACT
Low carbon energy technologies are not deployed in a social vacuum; there are a variety of complex ways in which people understand and engage with these technologies and the changing energy system overall. However, the role of the public's socio-environmental sensitivities to low carbon energy technologies and their responses to energy deployments does not receive much serious attention in planning decarbonisation pathways to 2050. Resistance to certain resources and technologies based on particular socio-environmental sensitivities would alter the portfolio of options available which could shape how the energy system achieves decarbonisation (the decarbonisation pathway) as well as affecting the cost and achievability of decarbonisation. Thus, this paper presents a series of three modelled scenarios which illustrate the way that a variety of socio-environmental sensitivities could impact the development of the energy system and the decarbonisation pathway. The scenarios represent risk aversion (DREAD) which avoids deployment of potentially unsafe large-scale technology, local protectionism (NIMBY) that constrains systems to their existing spatial footprint, and environmental awareness (ECO) where protection of natural resources is paramount. Very different solutions for all three sets of constraints are identified; some seem slightly implausible (DREAD) and all show increased cost (especially in ECO).

Show MeSH