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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/19021

Title: Biomass Hot or Not? Analyzing the Public Perception of and Attitude towards Bio-Energy.
Authors: VAN DAEL, Miet
SWINNEN, Gilbert
Devriendt, Nathalie
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: 23rd European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Vienna - Austria, 1-4 June
Abstract: Many barriers that hinder the successful implementation of energy projects result from a lack of social acceptance. Sustainable energy initiatives cannot be implemented without sufficient public support. Therefore, it is important to understand how public acceptability develops and how it can be changed. This research question is also important for policy makers as the success of policies is dependent on public support, which is often driven by perceptions. For that reason, a literature overview of theoretical models will be provided to understand the relationship between knowledge, perception, attitude (strength), intentions, and behavior. Furthermore, taking this information and these models into account, the present research investigates how factual knowledge, perception, attitude strength and attitude concerning bioenergy are related. The influence of informed respondents on Intention to Use and Intention to Learn is investigated by providing a lecture. The study is performed in the province of Limburg (Eastern part of Belgium) using a survey, completed by 715 students of which 281 received a lecture. The questionnaire consists of four different parts that aim to assess: (1) knowledge, (2) perception, (3) attitude and (4) socio-demographics. The data is analyzed using the statistical software program IBM SPSS version 22.0 and smartPLS 2.0. Simple descriptive statistics as well as different non-parametric methods are used. A factor analysis is performed to identify the different underlying dimensions related to bioenergy perception and attitude amongst the students. Using structural equation modelling (SEM) the underlying relationship between the different constructs are investigated. In general, perceptions and attitudes of pupils and students towards bioenergy are positive. Based on factor analysis the attitude towards bioenergy can be divided into two dimensions: (1) Intention to Learn and (2) Intention to Use. From the analysis it seems that the respondents were positive towards the usage of biomass for their energy provision, however, they were less likely to learn more about it. Despite the positive Intention to Use bioenergy, respondents did differentiate their perceptions based on the type of biomass. It seemed that the respondents were more positive towards the usage of waste streams as input source for bioenergy in comparison to wood. This can be explained by the local situation, where wood is scarce. Finally, significant differences were found based on gender. Females appear to be more optimistic about the future role of bioenergy, and are more positive towards the future use of bioenergy for their energy provision, but they are less willing to learn more about the topic. Although respondents indicated a rather negative Intention to Learn about the topic, more attention towards sustainable issues such as renewable energy should be provided in the education of students in order to be more critical about the role of these kinds of alternative energy sources in our future energy provision. Restructuring the current curricula with more attention to potential solutions might help in rejuvenating the interest of young people concerning sustainability. Besides, more attention should be paid to the content of lectures concerning sustainability in order to avoid repetition and provide a broader background to the topic. Using alternative, more interactive (i.e. student-centered) teaching methods, Intentions to Learn might rise.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/19021
Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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