Understanding social acceptance of electricity generation sources

Nicolás C. Bronfman, Raquel B. Jiménez, Pilar C. Arévalo, Luis A. Cifuentes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Citations (Scopus)


Social acceptability is a determinant factor in the failure or success of the government's decisions about which electricity generation sources will satisfy the growing demand for energy. The main goal of this study was to validate a causal trust-acceptability model for electricity generation sources. In the model, social acceptance of an energy source is directly caused by perceived risk and benefit and also by social trust in regulatory agencies (both directly and indirectly, through perceived risk and benefit). Results from a web-based survey of Chilean university students demonstrated that data for energy sources that are controversial in Chilean society (fossil fuels, hydro, and nuclear power) fit the hypothesized model, whereas data for non conventional renewable energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal and tidal) did not. Perceived benefit had the greatest total effect on acceptability, thus emerging as a key predictive factor of social acceptability of controversial electricity generation sources. Further implications for regulatory agencies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-252
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • Energy sources
  • Public trust and acceptability
  • Risk and benefit perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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