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Publication type: Article in scientific journal
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: How the public imagines the energy future : exploring and clustering non-experts’ techno-economic expectations towards the future energy system
Authors: Braunreiter, Lukas
Stauffacher, Michael
Blumer, Yann Benedict
et. al: No
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227369
Published in: PLOS ONE
Volume(Issue): 15
Issue: 3
Page(s): e0227369
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Public Library of Science 
ISSN: 1932-6203
Language: English
Subjects: Alternative energy; Climate change; Electricity; Nuclear power
Subject (DDC): 333.79: Energy
Abstract: Various countries have pledged to carry out system-wide energy transitions to address climate change. This requires taking strategic decisions with long-term consequences under conditions of considerable uncertainty. For this reason, many actors in the energy sector develop model-based scenarios to guide debates and decision-making about plausible future energy systems. Besides being a decision support instrument for policy-makers, energy scenarios are widely recognized as a way of shaping the expectations of experts and of influencing energy policy more generally. However, relatively little is known about how energy scenarios shape preferences and expectations of the public. We use an explorative research design to assess the publics' expectations of future energy systems through an online survey among Swiss residents (N = 797). We identified four significantly different clusters of people with distinct expectations about the future energy system, each seeing different implications for the acceptability of energy policies and the compatibility with projections of techno-economic energy scenarios. Cluster 1 expects a system-wide energy transition towards renewable energy sources that is similar to the policy-relevant national energy scenario. Cluster 2 also expects an energy transition, but believes it will lead to a range of technical challenges, societal conflicts and controversies with neighboring countries. Cluster 3 is the only cluster not expecting significant changes in the future energy system and thus not anticipating an energy transition. Cluster 4's expectations are between cluster 1 and 2, but it anticipates a huge increase in per capita electricity demand while prices are expected to remain low. The study at hand offers some initial insights into the interdependencies between energy transition pathways outlined in techno-economic energy scenarios and the energy system expectations of the public. These insights are essential for gaining a better understanding of whether and how energy scenarios can contribute to informed public debates about energy futures and how desirable pathways towards them might look like.
Further description: The raw data set is available at the Zenodo repository: 10.5281/zenodo.3395054
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): CC BY 4.0: Attribution 4.0 International
Departement: School of Management and Law
Organisational Unit: Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE)
Appears in collections:Publikationen School of Management and Law

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