DOI: 10.12924/cis2019.07010030 |Publication Date: 3 September 2019

An Expert Elicitation of Public Acceptance of Renewable Energy in Kenya

Bob van der Zwaan 1, 2, 3, 4, * , Francesco Dalla Longa 1 , Helena de Boer 1 , Francis Johnson 5 , Oliver Johnson 5 , Marieke van Klaveren 1 , Jessanne Mastop 1 , Mbeo Ogeya 5 , Mariëlle Rietkerk 1 , Koen Straver 1 and Hannah Wanjiru 5
1 Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN-TNO), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University , Bologna, Italy
3 Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4 Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
5 Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Nairobi, Kenya
* Corresponding author

This article reports evidence for substantial public support for the large-scale deployment of three renewable energy options in Kenya: wind, solar PV, and geothermal energy. With these renewable technologies, the government of Kenya could make a large contribution to reaching its national commitment under the Paris Agreement. Prices, infrastructural needs, and land-use requirements importantly contribute to shaping public opinion about these renewable energy alternatives, in different ways and directions for wind, PV, and geothermal energy. While overall the evaluation of these technologies is positive, public authorities should be wary of the possible inconveniences and drawbacks associated with them. Anticipating and, where possible, mitigating these shortcomings in national climate and energy development plans could preclude some of them becoming possible hindrances for broad-scale adoption of wind, PV, and geothermal energy. Furthering quantitative public acceptance studies, like the one presented here based on (semi-)expert elicitation and information-choice questionnaires, can assist in Kenya fully reaching its national climate and energy ambitions. More generally, we argue that the establishment of affordable, clean, and secure energy systems, as well as the mitigation of global climate change, can benefit from stakeholder engagement and public survey analysis like the one performed in our study – in developing countries as much as in the developed part of the world.

Keywords: Africa; climate change; expert elicitation; low-carbon energy; public opinion; renewables


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