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Beyond the triangle of renewable Energy Acceptance: The Five Dimensions of Domestic Hydrogen Acceptance


The ‘deep’ decarbonization of the residential sector is a priority for meeting national climate change targets, especially in countries such as the UK where natural gas has been the dominant fuel source for over half a century. Hydrogen blending and repurposing the national grid to supply low-carbon hydrogen gas may offer respective short- and long-term solutions to achieving emissions reduction across parts of the housing sector. Despite this imperative, the social acceptance of domestic hydrogen energy technologies remains underexplored by sustainability scholars, with limited insights regarding consumer perceptions and expectations of the transition. A knowledge deficit of this magnitude is likely to hinder effective policymaking and may result in sub-optimal rollout strategies that derail the trajectory of the net zero agenda. Addressing this knowledge gap, this study develops a conceptual framework for examining the consumer-facing side of the hydrogen transition. The paper affirms that the spatiotemporal patterns of renewable energy adoption are shaped by a range of interacting scales, dimensions, and factors. The UK’s emerging hydrogen landscape and its actor-network is characterized as a heterogenous system, composed of dynamic relationships and interdependencies. Future studies should engage with domestic hydrogen acceptance as a co-evolving, multi-scalar phenomenon rooted in the interplay of five distinct dimensions: attitudinal, socio-political, community, market, and behavioral acceptance. If arrived to, behavioral acceptance helps realize the domestication of hydrogen heating and cooking, established on grounds on cognitive, sociopolitical, and sociocultural legitimacy. The research community should internalize the complexity and richness of consumer attitudes and responses, through a more critical and reflexive approach to the study of social acceptance.

Funding source: This research was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Grant EP/T518104/1, and sponsored by Cadent Gas Ltd.
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: United Kingdom

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