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Gauging Public Perceptions of Blue and Green Hydrogen Futures: Is the Twin-track Approach Compatible with Hydrogen Acceptance?


National hydrogen strategies are emerging as a critical pillar of climate change policy. For homes connected to the gas grid, hydrogen may offer an alternative decarbonisation pathway to electrification. Hydrogen production pathways in countries such as the UK will involve both the gas network and the electricity grid, with related policy choices and investment decisions impacting the potential configuration of consumer acceptance for hydrogen homes. Despite the risk of public resistance, be it on environmental, economic, or social grounds, few studies have explored the emerging contours of domestic hydrogen acceptance. To date, there is scarce evidence on public perceptions of national hydrogen policy and the extent to which attitudes may be rooted in prior knowledge and awareness, or open to change following information provision and engagement. In response, this study evaluates consumer preferences for a low-carbon energy future, wherein parts of the UK housing stock may adopt low-carbon hydrogen boilers and hobs. Drawing on data from online focus groups, we examine consumer perceptions of the government's twin-track approach, which envisions important roles for both ‘blue’ and ‘green’ hydrogen to meet net zero ambitions. Through a mixed-methods, multigroup analysis, the underlying motivation is to explore whether the twin-track approach appears compatible with hydrogen acceptance. Moving forward, hydrogen policy should ensure greater transparency concerning the benefits, costs, and risks of the transition, with clearer communication about the justification for supporting respective hydrogen production pathways.

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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