Factors that influence consumers’ acceptance of future energy systems: the effects of adjustment type, production level, and price

Research paper by Fenna R. M. Leijten, Jan Willem Bolderdijk, Kees Keizer, Madelijne Gorsira, Ellen van der Werff, Linda Steg

Indexed on: 08 Jun '14Published on: 08 Jun '14Published in: Energy Efficiency


To promote the successful introduction of sustainable energy systems, more insight is needed into factors influencing consumer’s acceptance of future energy systems. A questionnaire study among 139 Dutch citizens (aged 18–85) was conducted. Participants rated the acceptability of energy systems made up of four varying system attributes: type of energy (renewable or fossil), price (remains stable vs. 25 % increase), adjustments in use (convenience technology or consumers themselves decide on what to change), and production level (energy is produced at a central vs. community vs. household level). Conjoint analyses were conducted to determine the overall acceptability of future energy systems, the relative importance of the various attributes for acceptability, and preference for levels within each attribute. Interesting patterns were uncovered: participants preferred making adjustments in use themselves (autonomous), rather than relying on technology to make the changes for them. Consumers did not exhibit a clear preference for any of the presented production levels, indicating that they would be open to change in this energy system attribute. Because participants preferred energy systems in which adjustments in use are made autonomously and because adjustment type was very important for overall acceptability of energy systems, technological developers and policy makers should take this into consideration.