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Price Promises, Trust Deficits and Energy Justice: Public Perceptions of Hydrogen Homes

Abstract

In an era characterised by political instability, economic uncertainty and mounting environmental pressures, hydrogen fuel is being positioned as a critical piece of the global energy security and clean energy agenda. The policy push is noteworthy in the United Kingdom, where the government is targeting industrial decarbonisation via hydrogen, while exploring a potential role for hydrogen-fuelled home appliances. Despite the imperative to secure social acceptance for accelerating the diffusion of low-carbon energy technologies, public perceptions of hydrogen homes remain largely underexplored by the researcher community. In response, this analysis draws on extensive focus group data to understand the multi-dimensional nature of social acceptance in the context of the domestic hydrogen transition. Through an integrated, mixed-methods multigroup analysis, the study demonstrates that socio-political and market acceptance are strongly interlinked, owing to a trust deficit in the government and energy industry, coupled to underlying dissatisfaction with energy markets. At the community level, hydrogen homes are perceived as a potentially positive mechanism for industrial regeneration and local economic development. Households consider short-term disruptive impacts to be tolerable, provided temporary disconnection from the gas grid does not exceed three days. However, to strengthen social acceptance, clearer communication is needed regarding the spatial dynamics and equity implications of the transition. The analysis concludes that existing trust deficits will need to be overcome, which entails fulfilling not only a ‘price promise’ on the cost of hydrogen appliances, but also enacting a ‘price pledge’ on energy bills. These deliverables are fundamental to securing social acceptance for hydrogen homes.

Funding source: This research was supported by the UK Research and Innovation 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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/content/journal5101
2023-10-12
2024-02-22
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journal5101
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