Public Attitudes Toward Construction Of New Power Plants
Posted: 8 Sep 2009
Date Written: Fall 2009
Increased demand for U.S. electricity generation will require the construction of hundreds of new power plants in the coming decades. We examine attitudinal data from the 2008 MIT Energy Survey to measure public support for and opposition to the local siting of power plants. Substantial majorities of Americans oppose the location of coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants in their area, although a majority supports local siting of wind facilities. We find that attitudes about plant siting depend heavily on perceptions of the environmental harm and costs of specific facilities; the effects of these attributes are similar across different types of fuel sources, suggesting that there is a common underlying structure to an individual's attitude. That is, people view all power sources in the same framework and differentiate them on perceived endowments, the most important of which is environmental harm.
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