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Exploring the Australian Public's Response to Hydrogen


Over the past three years there has been a rapid increase in discussions across the different levels of Australia's governments about the role that hydrogen might play in helping the world transition to a low carbon future. While those working in the energy industry are aware of the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead, the general public is less engaged. However, we know from the  introduction of previous technologies that public attitudes towards technologies, including whether they view them to be safe, can severely impact overall acceptance. Understanding how the public perceives hydrogen, both for domestic and export use and the potential benefits it brings to Australia is critical for the industry to progress. In this paper we present the initial findings of a national survey of the Australian public conducted in March 2021, which builds on the results of a previous survey conducted in 2018. The 2021 respondents were drawn from all Australian states and territories (n=3,020), and quotas were used to ensure adequate representation of age groups and gender. Overall, the respondents have favorable views about using hydrogen for energy in Australia, with caveats about production-related environmental impacts and issues such as safety. While there has been a slight increase in support for hydrogen as a possible solution for energy and environmental challenges since the 2018 survey, the effect size is very small. This suggests that while hydrogen discussions have increased at a policy level, little has been done to improve public understanding of hydrogen in communication strategies will be needed as the Australian hydrogen industry continues to develop and gain more widespread media attention.

Funding source: This work was funded by the Australian Government's Cooperative Research Centres Program
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Australia

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