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Linking Values and Framing Theories in New Energy Development: Low-Temperature Geothermal Energy (LTGE) in Coastal Texas
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Historically, the lack of broad-scale stakeholder input has led to public resistance and divisive confrontations that have slowed or terminated the development of energy production initiatives. The intent of this research was to study community views of newly proposed technology. By understanding the community’s perspective of such technology, efforts can be identified to reduce the probability of such resistance and divisive actions. Most research concerning geothermal energy has focused on the economic and environmental aspects of developing this energy source; however, in order for any technology to be broadly adopted, it must also be socially acceptable. There has been little research on social perceptions of this new energy source and this study sought to address this knowledge gap by focusing on community perceptions of this and other types of energy development. This study asked what role, if any, values and environmental orientation (as determined by the Schwartz PVQ and the NEP) had in perception of, or preference for, different types of energy. It also examined whether framing new information in a manner congruent with values and/or environmental orientation affected how that message is received. The study was conducted in Matagorda County, Texas and employed a mail survey methodology. The study indicated that respondents had predominantly positive perceptions about solar, wind, nuclear, and oil and gas energies; negative perceptions regarding coal; and the majority were initially uncertain regarding geothermal energy. However, after reading a brief description of geothermal energy, 73% were mildly or strongly positive about it. The majority of the survey respondents had high NEP scores (indicating an ecocentric orientation). Along with the expected positive perceptions of wind and solar power, respondents also deemed oil and gas and nuclear power to be acceptable forms of energy. All respondents were found to favor energy systems about which they felt they were knowledgeable. They were less accepting of technology about which they felt they had little knowledge. The study found that framing new information in a manner congruent with values and/or environmental orientation did influence how that message was received. Framing with respect to a person’s value type yielded mixed results, while framing based upon environmental orientation produced the most easily interpreted results. These findings have opened a new window on community-industry collaboration, focused on conflict avoidance rather than conflict resolution. The study concluded with a list of guidelines for pre-development research, which is essential for those attempting to bring new energy development to local communities.
Low-temperature geothermal energy
Higgins, Marian Ellen (2016). Linking Values and Framing Theories in New Energy Development: Low-Temperature Geothermal Energy (LTGE) in Coastal Texas. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from