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Households are key actors in decarbonizing our economy, especially when it comes to investments in a decentralized energy system, such as solar photovoltaics (PV). The phasing-out of feed-in tariffs, and unexpected policy changes in the wake of an increasingly polarized climate debate, require residential PV investors to bear new risks. Conducting a discrete choice experiment coupled with a randomized informational treatment among potential residential solar investors in Switzerland, we test whether policy and market risks deter households from investing in solar. We find that salient policy risk reduces households' intention to invest in solar, especially for risk-averse individuals. Conversely, households seem less sensitive to market risk: residential solar investors accept volatile revenues, as long as a price floor for excess electricity sold to the grid is guaranteed. Our study suggests that keeping perceived policy uncertainty low is more important for residential solar investors than fully hedging against electricity market risk.

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Several countries are witnessing increasing levels of local opposition to wind energy projects. This is in contrast to opinion polls often showing that a large majority of the population is supportive of low-carbon policies, including deployment of wind energy. At the same time, project developers and policymakers are realising that social acceptance has an emotional component, but struggle to find ways to manage this phenomenon. We surveyed a representative sample of Swiss residents (n = 1111) using affective imagery, asking respondents to list their spontaneous associations with wind power and provide an affective evaluation of each association. We find a strong correlation between the affective imagery and respondents’ likelihood to express concern about local wind projects, suggesting that affect matters in the formation of attitudes towards local wind energy projects. An in-depth analysis of the sequencing of affective imagery highlights that mild opponents have conflicting feelings about wind energy, and that “second thoughts” appear to tip the balance towards opposition for them. The study further reveals that important differences exist between mild and strong opponents, providing a basis for the segmentation of target groups in managing processes of social acceptance.

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The Consumer Barometer of Renewable Energy provides insights into what Swiss people think about energy and climate change. The study is published annually since 2011 and is based on a representative sample of more than 1,000 respondents.

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Switzerland and the EU have been negotiating an electricity agreement since 2007. Irrespective of the outcome of these negotiations, whose success is also dependent on other factors, European energy policy will influence the framework conditions and players in Switzerland’s energy policy. The effects of a «Europeanization» of Swiss energy policy are the primary interest of this book. It focuses on the influence of current and future EU policies on the (regulatory) framework and policy instruments in Switzerland, including the effects on public and private actors active in the Swiss energy sector. It will also present the consequences of the possible integration of Swiss energy policy into the complex European multi-level governance system, taking into account two scenarios: the «direct Europeanization» in case of the conclusion of a bilateral electricity agreement between Switzerland and the EU as well as the possible «indirect Europeanization» in the sense of autonomous adjustments to European policies.

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Impressive growth rates of solar photovoltaics (PV) in higher latitudes are raising concerns about seasonal mismatches between demand and supply. Locating utility-scale PV projects in alpine regions with high solar irradiation could help to meet demand during the winter season. However, similar to wind farms, large solar projects change the landscape and may therefore face social acceptance issues. In contrast to the rich literature on wind energy, social acceptance of solar power has received less attention. This paper helps close this gap with the help of a large-scale survey (N = 1036) that examines the acceptance of alpine solar projects in Switzerland through choice experiments. In addition to attributes that are well established in the social acceptance literature, such as local ownership, along with both distributional and procedural justice, we also investigate the influence of innovative design elements on acceptance. Our findings suggest that local ownership, as well as colored solar panels that reduce the perceived landscape change may increase social acceptance, implying that projects should be kept local and low-key. We also find that acceptance of alpine solar projects is higher among the affected population than among inhabitants of non-alpine regions.

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The transition to renewable energy supply of buildings, especially distributed solar power, is a key element of climate change mitigation. As the policy landscape is shifting and financial incentives for renewables are increasingly phased out, a nuanced understanding of homeowners' intention to install solar panels is key for reaching a broad market appeal. By analysing a dataset of 408 Swiss homeowners' stated preferences in the context of building retrofits, this paper identifies two key segments of likely solar adopters, including a premium segment preferring coloured and building integrated solar modules, and a value segment with more price-sensitive customers. Differences between likely adopters and likely non-adopters, as well as between two distinct segments of likely adopters, are investigated along sociodemographic, psychographic, and social aspects. Our analysis shows that aesthetic aspects of solar panels are key for expanding the customer base, and that likely adopters are more likely than likely non-adopters to be surrounded by neighbours, friends, and relatives who have already installed solar panels. Our results also reveal that the premium segment cares more about aesthetic aspects in general purchasing decisions and shows higher ecological concern than the value segment.

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Die Energiestrategie 2050, die durch das schweizerische Volk im Mai 2017 angenommen wurde, zielt darauf ab, einen hohen Versorgungsstandard und eine umweltfreundliche Energieversorgung zu gewährleisten (BFE, 2018). Der Ausbau der Windenergie, die weltweit grosse Wachstumsraten verzeichnet, kann auch in der Schweiz einen Beitrag zur technologischen und saisonalen Diversifikation des Energiesystems und zur CO2-armen Stromerzeugung leisten und geniesst auf nationaler Ebene hohe Zustimmung. So gaben in einer 2018 durchgeführten, repräsentativen Umfrage 75% von 1019 Befragten an, dass sie die Windenergie als umweltfreundlich erachten, nur 8% erachteten die Windenergie als schädlich für die Umwelt. Dennoch sind zahlreiche geplante Projekte derzeit blockiert. Die vorliegende Studie möchte im Rahmen einer Fallstudie einen Beitrag zum besseren Verständnis lokaler Meinungsbildungs- und Entscheidungsprozesse bei Windenergie-Projekten leisten und beruht auf einer Auswertung von 262 öffentlich verfügbaren Stellungnahmen, welche im Rahmen des Anhörungs- und Einwendungsfahrfahrens zum Windpark Honegg-Oberfeld (12. April 2018 bis 31. Mai 2018) eingegangen sind. Die Analyse trägt zur Erforschung der Bestimmungsfaktoren sozialer Akzeptanz vor Ort bei und kann einen Input für die Weiterentwicklung von Bewilligungsverfahren geben.

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While a government commission recently proposed to phase out coal in Germany by 2038, voters would prefer a phase-out by 2025. Policymakers may underestimate public willingness to support an expedited transition away from high-carbon sources of energy.

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Coal-fired power generation is the single most important source of carbon dioxide emissions in many countries, including Germany. A government commission recently proposed to phase out coal by 2038, which implies that the country will miss its 2020 climate target. On the basis of a choice experiment that assessed 31,744 hypothetical policy scenarios in a representative sample of German voters, we show that voters prefer a phase-out by 2025. They would uphold their support for greater climate ambition up to an additional cost to society of €8.5 billion. Voters in Rhineland and Lusatia, the country’s main coal regions, also support an earlier phase-out, but to a lesser extent than voters in other regions. By demonstrating that political decision-makers are more reluctant than voters in overcoming energy path dependence, our analysis calls for further research to explain the influence of particular stakeholders in slowing energy transitions.

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Buildings account for 32% of global final energy use and are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the transition to renewable energy supply of buildings, especially distributed solar power, is a key element of climate change mitigation. As the policy landscape is shifting and financial incentives for renewables are increasingly phased out, a nuanced understanding of homeowners’ intention to install solar panels is key for reaching a broad market appeal. By analyzing a dataset of 408 Swiss homeowners’ stated preferences in the context of building retrofits, this paper identifies two key segments of likely solar adopters, including a premium segment featuring higher willingness to pay for coloured and building integrated solar modules, and a value segment with more price-sensitive customers. Differences between likely adopters and likely non-adopters, as well as between two distinct segments of likely adopters, are investigated along sociodemographic, psychographic and social aspects. Our analysis shows that aesthetic aspects of solar panels are key for expanding the customer base, and that likely adopters are more likely to be surrounded by neighbors, friends and relatives who have already installed solar panels than likely non adopters. The results also reveal that the premium segment cares more about aesthetic aspects in general purchasing decisions and shows higher ecological concern than the value segment.

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The wider diffusion of solar photovoltaics (PV) is crucial to lower the environmental impact of the residential sector, which is responsible for a large share of energy consumption in many industrialized countries, including Switzerland. By conducting an adaptive choice-based conjoint (ACBC) with a representative sample of Swiss homeowners planning to undertake a roof renovation project, we investigate the extent to which financial and non-financial factors drive homeowners’ preferences for PV in Switzerland. We reveal that the color and country of origin of the PV modules are the main drivers for increasing share of preference for PV. In addition, we estimate the price premium that homeowners are willing to payfor building-integrated PV (BIPV) versus rack-mounted PV. We find a premium in willingness to pay of 21.79% for a roof with a BIPV installation in comparison with a rack-mounted PV installation. We further show that an increase in revenues from electricity sales (e.g. via feed-in tariffs), when transparently disclosed over an aggregated time frame, would be almost equally effective in spurring demand for PV as a decrease of initial investment costs (e.g. via one-off investment grants). Implications for energy policy and marketing are discussed.

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Rising shares of fluctuating renewables increase the need for flexibility in the power market. At the same time, the emergence of the prosumer has created new opportunities for co-creation of distributed flexibility. As of yet, there is surprisingly little empirical analysis in terms of whether individuals are actually ready to co-create flexibility, and if so, under which conditions these resources can be mobilized by grid operators or electricity supply companies. We address this gap in the energy economics literature with three studies analyzing in total 7′216 individual decisions in a series of choice experiments with 902 study participants in three main domains of residential energy prosumption: (1) solar PV plus storage, (2) electric mobility, (3) heat pumps. We develop a novel measure of the prosumers’ willingness to co-create flexibility, and solicit their preferences for power supply contracts with varying levels of flexibility to derive implied discomfort costs. Our results indicate that current and potential electric car and solar PV users exhibit a higher willingness to co-create flexibility than heat pump users. Reaping the potential in those two domains requires taking the prosumer perspective into account when designing policy instruments and creating adequate business models.

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Overcoming reliance on non-renewable resources is a key concern of energy transitions worldwide. But as the literature on carbon lock-in has shown, overcoming path dependence is all but trivial. Even well-minded decision-makers tend to relapse into inertia when it comes to making concrete divestment decisions. We investigate one specific case, the 2016 Swiss popular initiative to phase out nuclear power, to explore the cognitive and affective drivers of energy path dependence on the individual level. Within eight weeks of an intense political campaign, support for this initiative dropped from more than 60 to just 45.8% of Swiss voters. Based on a representative longitudinal survey (N=1014), we show that changes in perceived risk and benefit of nuclear power play key roles in explaining fading voter support for nuclear divestment, and that affect is in turn a significant driver of those changes. By framing it as a choice between the lesser evil of nuclear power or importing German coal power, opponents of the phase-out managed to introduce an asymmetrically dominated option into voters' choice set, leading many to change their original voting intentions. Our paper responds to calls for integrating dual-process theories (“thinking fast and slow”) into research in Ecological Economics.

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Institutional investors can potentially be a significant source of capital for financing the energy transition. This is even more important as incumbent energy companies in many European countries struggle to adjust their business model to changing market conditions. This article reports on a choice experiment with pension fund and energy managers conducting 1,129 experimental investment choices in Swiss hydropower. We find that complementarities exist with regard to financing different stages of project development – pension funds are averse to construction and development risk but comfortable in deploying capital to existing projects, while incumbents are willing to invest in all project stages. The two groups show surprising similarities in their aversion to fluctuating electricity prices. When fully exposed to revenue risk, energy firms and pension funds demand a risk premium of 5.98% and 7.94% respectively. For policy makers, this suggests that shielding investors from revenue risk, as has been done with feed-in tariffs for other renewables, might be an effective way of lowering the financing cost of hydropower. When it comes to their preferred co-investors, the two groups express mutual distaste for each other: energy firms would rather invest in consortia with other incumbents, and the same goes for institutional investors.

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Institutional investors can potentially be a significant source of capital for financing the energy transition. This is even more important as incumbent energy companies in many European countries struggle to adjust their business model to changing market conditions. This article reports on a choice experiment with pension fund and energy managers conducting 1,129 experimental investment choices in Swiss hydropower. We find that complementarities exist with regard to financing different stages of project development – pension funds are averse to construction and development risk but comfortable in deploying capital to existing projects, while incumbents are willing to invest in all project stages. The two groups show surprising similarities in their aversion to fluctuating electricity prices. When fully exposed to revenue risk, energy firms and pension funds demand a risk premium of 5.98% and 7.94% respectively. For policy makers, this suggests that shielding investors from revenue risk, as has been done with feed-in tariffs for other renewables, might be an effective way of lowering the financing cost of hydropower. When it comes to their preferred co-investors, the two groups express mutual distaste for each other: energy firms would rather invest in consortia with other incumbents, and the same goes for institutional investors.

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The objective of this research is to analyze how political orientation moderates the influence of framing effects on policy evaluation. Drawing on the theory of motivated reasoning, three interrelated experiments assess the strength and temporal persistence of framing effects in the context of an energy conservation program. In the first experiment (N = 183), the delivery mechanism of the policy is described as either a tax rebate or a subsidy. Party identification of potential beneficiaries moderates the existence and magnitude of framing effects. The sec- ond experiment (N = 603) presents alternative frames of communication, which focus on either the economic or environmental benefits associated with the policy. Effects of the communication frames on policy support in comparison to a neutral text are significant, but only when the policy is consistent with respondents’ pre-existing views on economic individualism and government spending. The third experiment (N = 603) investigates the temporal stability of framing effects after cognitive deliberation and finds that no change in policy support occurs over time. A key implication is that tailoring frames to the target audience increases effectiveness in policy design and communication. Considering the persistence of framing effects, early frames may have a disproportionate impact in public discourse.

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The goal of our study was to determine whether renters and owners prefer ‘green’ residential buildings and if so, whether energy efficiency certification or availability of solar PV system and energy storage added to consumer value. We investigated which energy efficiency certification schemes were most widely recognized, whether the consumers supported mandatory certification, and through which channels information about energy efficiency certification was obtained. The data were gathered in January-February 2016 by means of a representative web survey with 1,001 respondents, residing in German- and French-speaking parts of Switzerland. Methodologically, this research is based on analysis of stated preferences and choice-based conjoint (CBC) experiments. CBC is a popular method in market research, because it mirrors a realistic decision situation, requiring respondents to make trade-offs among desired product features. The respondents were asked to choose among four potential properties for rent or purchase. Each property was described with respect to its location, number of bedrooms, quality of interior fittings, and price premium. The property description contained two ‘green’ features: energy efficiency rating ranging from A (best) to F (worst) and presence of rooftop solar PV system with or without half- or full-day battery storage. Each respondent answered ten randomly generated choice tasks, and observing these choices allowed us to indirectly measure consumer preferences. As expected, traditional property characteristics such as location, size, interior fitting, and price premium were the most important for determining property choices (joint relative importance of 71.5%). The relative importance of the two ‘green’ features accounted for the remaining 28.5%, suggesting that customers place nontrivial value on ‘green’ building characteristics. In particular, the respondents were interested in combining a solar PV system with a half- or full-day battery storage. This finding indicates the potential for marketing solar home systems together with storage solutions as part of modern, high-performance residential buildings. Furthermore, higher energy efficiency ratings (A or B) were strongly preferred to lower ratings (D or F). Our survey showed that 59% of all respondents favored the idea of mandatory energy efficiency certification for residential properties at the time of purchase. Support for mandatory certification was higher among renters (66%) than among owners (50%). The most widely known energy efficiency standard in Switzerland was the independent third-party certification scheme Minergie (known to 93% of respondents). GEAK certification, launched in 2009 by Swiss cantons, was known to 29% of respondents, followed by LEED (known to 27% of respondents), which is popular in North America. The respondents obtained information about energy efficiency standards from the media, such as magazines (48%), internet (37%), TV (33%), or radio (21%). Other important sources of information were friends and family (35%), property owners’ or renters’ associations (22%) and architects (16%). Compared to household appliances and cars, energy efficiency certification in the building sector still has untapped potential. While only a third of respondents took into account energy efficiency when buying a house, a large majority of respondents considered an energy label when purchasing household devices.

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Transition towards a low-carbon energy system is critically dependent on social acceptance by individuals, investors, markets, and society as a whole. Over the few past decades, a steady stream of research has examined social acceptance of renewable energy technologies (Batel and Devine-Wright, 2015; Stigka et al., 2014; Wüstenhagen et al., 2007). Despite being one of the most cost-effective sources of renewable electricity, wind parks face intense local opposition, especially near residential areas (Söderholm et al., 2007; Wolsink, 2007). The environmental justice literature suggests that social acceptance of renewable energy can be increased by respecting procedural justice (fair, participatory planning processes) and distributional justice (fairly allocating costs and benefits). However, empirical evidence about how justice considerations play out with respect to the expansion of wind power is scarce. To close this gap, we conducted a choice experiment, jointly testing the influence of procedural and distributional justice on social acceptance, in combination with other factors, such as a wind project’s environmental impacts, location, and ownership. Geographically, this study focuses on Eastern Switzerland, Western Estonia, and Southern Ukraine, which were identified as regions with high potential for wind power development. Such a set-up allows comparison of social acceptance in three countries that have different histories, levels of economic development, availability of natural resources, and electricity market structures. The analysis is based on a large-scale online survey of more than 2,000 respondents, which was conducted in January-February of 2017 in Estonia and Ukraine and in July-August of 2015 in Switzerland. In a series of conjoint-based choice tasks, respondents were asked to choose among potential wind parks to be constructed near their communities. The wind projects differed with respect to their location, project developer, revenue sharing scheme, possibility of public engagement, as well as ecological impacts. The survey also collected information on respondents’ beliefs about wind energy and its perceived impacts on the landscape and local economies. Furthermore, the survey soliticed the respondents’ climate change perceptions, worldviews, and key socio-demographic variables. In general, 96% of Ukrainian, 87% of Estonian, and 74% of Swiss respondents were in favour or somewhat in favor of wind energy development in their countries, and the majority of the respondents would not be disturbed by living within sight of a wind turbine. Despite current low rates of deployment, the Ukrainian respondents were the most optimistic about the share of electricity that will be generated from renewable sources in the coming 5-10 years. The respondents in different countries had somewhat diverging concerns about wind energy. For example, only about 10% percent of Ukrainian and Swiss respondents perceived a link between wind turbines and health problems, in contrast to 42% of Estonian respondents. The major area of concern for the Estonian respondents related to real estate prices in the vicinity of wind turbines. Despite their differences, local populations in all three countries held similar preferences with respect to the most desireble project features. Based on an evaluation of part-worth utilities, projects with the smallest impacts on local flora and fauna were most preferred. With respect to project location, respondents were most willing to accept wind parks in industrial and commercial zones and on agricultural land, rather than in ecologically significant regions or near residential areas. This is in line with previous studies showing the significance of the landscape and environmental impacts for local acceptance (e.g., Alvarez-Farizo and Hanley, 2002; Meyerhoff et al., 2010). Electric utilities were viewed as the most suitable project developers. This confirms prior findings demonstrating that local ownership has a significant positive effect on acceptance (Bergmann et al., 2006; Warren and McFadyen, 2010). Interestingly, Estonian respondents viewed project development by individuals positively, as well as revenue sharing with local private landowners. By contrast, Swiss and Ukrainian respondents preferred revenue sharing with the municipality and all residents. Engagement of the local population also contributes to social acceptance, but certain participation opportunities were viewed more positively than others. For example, having a public informational meeting or informational brochure and a website was not found to greatly increase a project’s social acceptance. Yet, direct participation of the local population in determining the number and location of wind turbines was connected to higher social acceptance. Studies by Gross (2007) and Ek and Persson (2014) also confirmed that local participation in the planning process, and the transfer of revenue to a local community has a positive influence on social acceptance. Conclusions The survey demonstrates high social acceptance of wind energy in Switzerland, Estonia, and Ukraine. Based on results from the discrete choice experiment, it was shown that minimizing ecological impacts of wind projects could significantly increase social acceptance. This finding underlines the importance of environmental impacts analyses, which can be seen as an instrument to secure social acceptance. The background of the project delevoper is found to be important for local population: the respondents in all three countries preferred the projects to be carried out by local utilities, either alone or in collaboration with a specialized investor. The involvement of foreign utilities is viewed with skepticism. Thus, keeping wind power projects local and nature-friendly are the two most important attributes influencing social acceptance among residents. Furthermore, we find that wind power’s potential to reduce energy import dependence, add value to the local economy and lower carbon emissions are key arguments that resonate with the population, while concerns remain with regard to the potential impact of wind projects on health and local real estate prices.

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Over the past decade, feed-in tariffs have spurred significant deployment of solar photovoltaics in Germany and other countries. With recent cost trends, several countries are approaching retail grid parity. Some policymakers conclude that now is the time to remove feed-in tariffs, as grid parity creates a self-sustaining market, where economically rational investors will invest even in the absence of government incentives. Recent experience in key European solar markets, however, shows that with the advent of grid parity and the reduction of feed-in tariffs, investment in new solar capacity has decreased rather than increased, making it questionable whether low-carbon energy policy targets will be reached. We conduct a cross-case study analysis of three PV markets – Germany, Italy and Switzerland – to investigate the role of feed-in tariffs for the near- and post-grid parity stages of diffusion, accounting for investor diversity and distinguishing between implications for revenue-based and savings-based business models. We find that recent market trends are strongly driven by increased levels of risk, especially policy risk and exposure to revenue risk. We therefore suggest that relatively frugal but stable policy environments may be conducive to further growth of investment in photovoltaics and minimize cost to society.

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This conceptual paper theorizes about the effect of emotions of individual organizational leaders during a period of sustainability-related upheaval within an industry. To illustrate the effect of emotions, it proposes to draw on the model of five stages of grief by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1969), a conceptual framework describing terminally ill patients' responses to their impending death. The authors adapt Kübler-Ross' taxonomy and use anecdotal evidence from grieving top managers of energy companies in response to the nuclear phase-out in Germany. The paper conceptualizes the influence of emotions in the decision-making process of key agents in response to institutional pressures in their field. The paper suggests that focusing on emotional influences will add an important dimension to the analysis of sustainability strategies, and discuss implications for further research at an individual and organizational level.

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Hydropower is the largest source of renewable electricity in the world, but despite being a mature and clean energy technology it has also been the subject of ecological and social conflict. Literature suggests that the social acceptance of renewable energy can be increased by respecting procedural justice (fair, participatory planning processes) and distributional justice (fairly allocating costs and benefits). However, empirical evidence about how justice considerations are related to the expansion of hydropower is scarce, pre-existing studies being mostly qualitative in nature. We contribute to filling the gap in the current literature by describing in this paper how choice experiments with 1004 Swiss residents were undertaken to explore the influence of procedural and distributional justice on acceptance, relative to other attributes of hydropower projects. We find that while considerations about justice do play a role in decisions to accept, respondents in Switzerland care most about ecological impacts, and secondly about local ownership.

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Citizens own nearly half the renewable energy generation capacity in Germany and have been important drivers of the country's energy transition. In contrast to citizens' important role in financing renewable energies, the energy policy and economics literature has traditionally focused on other investors, such as incumbent energy firms. To close this gap, this paper reports on a large-scale survey of 1,990 German retail investors. Conducting a choice experiment with the subset of 1,041 respondents who expressed an interest in investing in community renewable energy projects, we present a unique dataset allowing for new insights in risk-return expectations of retail investors. We find that apart from return on investment, respondents are particularly sensitive to the minimum holding period and the issuer of community renewable energy investment offerings. A minimum holding period of 10 years implies a risk premium of 2.76% points. A subsequent segmentation analysis shows that two groups of potential community renewable energy investors with different risk-return expectations can be identified: “local patriots” and “yield investors”. In contrast to professional investors, a majority of retail investors use simple decision rules such as calculating payback time or relying on their gut feeling when making investments.

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Since 2011, the Consumer Barometer of Renewable Energy has established itself as one of the largest and most comprehensive annual reviews of the Swiss population’s preferences on energy topics. This year’s edition introduces a number of novel themes, including the digitalization of the energy sector through smart metering, batteries, and electric mobility. The study includes a choice experiment on consumer preferences for green building attributes, including energy efficiency certification (GEAK) and rooftop solar with battery storage. For the first time, we also look at the energy-related attitudes of the Swiss youth, comparing and contrasting their views with those of the general population.

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Although huge public acceptance can be observed for renewable energy technologies but when it comes to implementation, public concern has been increasing. The same case can be experienced in recent hydropower expansion efforts in Switzerland as well. To investigate the reasons behind the resistance we conducted a nationwide representative survey with a choice experiment on hydropower acceptance. Results show that having small ecological impacts on aquatic ecosystem would be a prerequisite for any further expansion. The conflicting policy goals, namely increasing hydropower production and preserving rivers, seem to reflect back in public perceptions.

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This article reports on the results of two studies involving seventy-seven professional investment managers in Switzerland. We designed an Implicit Association Test (IAT) to investigate whether unconscious attitudes towards renewable versus non-renewable energy sources influence investment behavior. In Study 1, we find that there is indeed a correlation between implicit associations and our dependent variable, net investment in solar energy. In Study 2, we replicate the results from Study 1 and also show that implicit associations are more strongly correlated to investment behavior than explicit associations, suggesting that application of the IAT may add value to the analysis of energy investor behavior. As an example of investigating factors influencing decision-making "in the wild", our study is subject to a number of limitations that can be used as starting points for further research in this area of high societal relevance.

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The focus of the current edition of the Consumer Barometer is investment decision-making of Swiss consumers with respect to different financing options for renewable energy projects. The analysis is based on a representative survey of 1,246 Swiss households conducted in February to March 2015.

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Introduction - Incumbents versus new investors in the renewable energy sector The diffusion of renewables in Germany and other European countries has fundamentally changed the energy investor landscape. For several decades, investment in power generation infrastructure in Germany was largely dominated by four utility incumbents, often termed the ‘Big Four', which controlled 76% of the conventional generation capacities in 2012. In the emerging renewable energy segment, however, 90% of German wind power capacity and 96% of distributed solar capacity was owned by non-utilities in 2012. Private investors, such as homeowners, farmers and cooperatives, account for 47% of German renewable energy capacity. Moreover, institutional investors, such as pension and investment funds and insurance companies, play a significant role in financing renewables and own 42% of installed capacities. We propose that differences in the cost of capital among Investor groups, common techniques of investment valuation, along with the financial characteristics of renewable and fossil technologies, explain the aforementioned shift in investment behavior. More specifically, we conjecture that electric utilities have traditionally invested in highrisk/high-return power generation projects, implying high costs of capital. Using the same metrics to assess lower-risk/lower-return projects in the field of renewables, such as wind parks or PV projects with guaranteed feed-in tariffs, has led to a systematic underestimation of their attractiveness, resulting in a loss of market share of utilities vis-à-vis other investors with lower cost of capital.

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Verbraucher können durch die Wahl von Ökostromprodukten zu einer nachhaltigeren Energiezukunft beitragen. Damit das Marketing Kunden „jenseits der Öko-Nische“ erreicht, ist es wichtig zu verstehen, welche Faktoren einen positiven Einfluss auf den Wechsel zu Ökostrom haben. Dieser Beitrag analysiert, worin sich aktuelle von potenziellen Ökostromkunden unterscheiden. Anhand einer Segmentierungsanalyse, basierend auf Daten einer Conjoint-Analyse unter deutschen Stromkunden, werden drei vielversprechende Zielgruppen identifiziert. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass soziodemografische Faktoren – mit Ausnahme des Bildungsniveaus – bei der Erklärung der Unterschiede zwischen aktuellen und potenziellen Ökostromkunden nur eine marginale Rolle spielen. Die Analyse psychografischer und verhaltensorientierter Merkmale zeigt, dass aktuelle Ökostromkunden ihren Einfluss als Verbraucher in Bezug auf Umweltschutz als größer wahrnehmen, die Preise für Ökostromtarife niedriger einschätzen, generell eine höhere Zahlungsbereitschaft für umweltfreundliche Produkte haben und eine höhere Wechselbereitschaft aufweisen als potenzielle Ökostromkunden.

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Whether or not targets to increase the share of renewable energy will eventually be met critically hinges upon the effectiveness of policies to mobilize private investment. However, just as energy policy can create opportunities, it can also create risk. This paper adds to a growing stream of literature at the intersection of energy research and social sciences that empirically investigates investor perceptions of regulatory risk, and their influence on investment decision-making. Based on choice experiments with 29 venture capital investors from Europe and the United States conducting 1,064 investment decisions, we show that high levels of regulatory risk have a negative effect on the likelihood to invest in renewable energy. Furthermore, we find that investors' worldviews moderate the impact of perceived regulatory risk: respondents who expose strongly individualistic "free-market" worldviews are less likely to invest in renewable energy ventures with high regulatory exposure than other investors.

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Consumers have the power to contribute to creating a more sustainable future by subscribing to green electricity tariffs. In order to reach consumers 'beyond the eco-niche', identifying the drivers that positively influence the adoption of green electricity is of fundamental importance. This paper examines various factors that help to explain the extent to which green electricity subscribers differ from those that display strong preferences towards green electricity but have not yet 'walked the talk'. By making use of a latent class segmentation analysis based on choice-based conjoint data, this paper identifies three groups of potential green electricity adopters with varying degrees of preference for renewable energy. Findings indicate that socio-demographic factors play a marginal role in explaining the differences between green electricity subscribers and potential adopters, with the exception that actual adopters tend to be better educated. Analysis of psychographic and behavioral features reveals that adopters tend to perceive consumer effectiveness to be higher, place more trust in science, tend to estimate lower prices for green electricity tariffs, are willing to pay significantly more for other eco-friendly products and are more likely to have recently changed their electricity contract than non- adopters. Policy recommendations associated with these findings are provided.

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Consumers have the power to contribute to a more sustainable future by subscribing to green electricity tariffs. In order to reach consumers "beyond the eco-niche" and to develop targeted messaging, exploring the drivers that positively influence the adoption of green electricity is of fundamental importance. The research described in this paper examined various factors that help to explain the extent to which subscribers to green electricity tariffs ('Adopters') differ from potential adopters. By making use of a latent class segmentation analysis based on choice-based conjoint data the research identified three segments into which potential green electricity adopters can be classified. Findings indicate a marginal role for socio-demographic factors, although Adopters tend to be more highly educated than non-adopters. Additionally, psychographic features of Adopters tend to include a higher level of climate concern, greater expectations about consumer effectiveness and a tendency to envisage lower prices for future green tariffs. These findings highlight the importance of providing information to the customer about the value and benefits of green electricity. Policy recommendations associated with these findings are provided.

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Die Energieindustrie verändert sich grundlegend und dies betrifft uns alle. Der Ausbau erneuerbarer Energie wird von der Politik wie auch von den Kunden vehement verlangt. Deren Eigeninitiative beim Wechsel vom «Egalstrom» zum Ökostromprodukt ist jedoch gering. Ist die Änderung des voreingestellten Standardangebots die Lösung, so dass die Kunden quasi zum Wandel «geschubst» werden? Die Sankt Galler Stadtwerke haben diesen als Nudge bekannten Wandelansatz erfolgreich ausprobiert und dabei einiges gelernt.

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In liberalized electricity markets, residential customers can choose their preferred provider and select among a variety of different electricity products, including green power options. Successful product design and marketing strategies for green electricity may provide electricity providers with a competitive advantage, while at the same time contributing to energy policy objectives. This requires, however, a thorough understanding of customer preferences. We investigate the relative importance of different product attributes in creating customer value, and find that price and electricity mix are the two most important attributes. The German electricity customers we surveyed expressed an implicit willingness to pay a premium of about 16 % for green electricity. We conclude that consumers are willing to pay a significant price premium for an upgrade from the current average German default electricity mix to a more environmentally friendly default electricity mix, and discuss implications for marketing strategy and energy policy. Our findings are based on a dataset of 4968 experimental choices made by 414 German residential consumers, collected in a stated preference survey.

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Consumption is a key lever to achieving more sustainable development. Unsustainable consumption is a major cause of global environmental deterioration, including overexploitation of renewable resources and pollution caused by fossil fuels. The European Environmental Agency report "Household Consumption and the Environment" (EEA, 2005) identifies the need areas of food, housing, personal travel and mobility as well as tourism as the four major areas of household consumption with the highest negative environmental impacts.

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The 92/75/EEC “Energy Labelling Directive for Household Appliances”, adopted in 1992, requires retailers to display a compulsory label for fridges, freezers, washing machines and several other product categories. The labels show the level of energy consumption at the point of sale (COM 778, 2008).

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Managing the transition to a renewable energy future is an important policy priority in many countries. Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is expected to make an essential contribution, but due to relatively high cost, its growth to date has been largely driven by public policy, notably feed-in tariffs. Feed-in tariffs have been implemented in various countries, but with widely differing outcomes in terms of installed PV capacity. Previous research indicates that the level of policy risk may be an important driver for differences in renewable energy policy effectiveness. This paper suggests that project developers who make a decision between PV investment opportunities in different countries carefully weigh feed-in tariff-induced returns against a set of policy risks, and choose the country with the most favorable risk-return profile. This model is empirically tested by a stated preference survey among European PV project developers, consisting of 1575 choice decisions by 63 investors. The findings demonstrate that risk matters in PV policy design, and that a "price tag" can be attached to specific policy risks, such as the duration of administrative processes or uncertainty induced by an approaching capacity cap. Governments can build on these empirical results to design policies that will be effective in attracting private PV investment, while at the same time maintaining efficiency by providing an adequate compensation for policy risk.

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Products with a superior environmental performance, such as a high level of energy efficiency, are typically subject to information asymmetries. Therefore these product attributes are often undervalued in purchase decisions. Signaling, e.g. energy labeling, can overcome these asymmetries, with positive implications for effective consumer decisions, competitive advantage for suppliers of energy?efficient goods, and for societal goals such as mitigating climate change. However, there is a scarcity of research investigating how energy labels actually influence consumer choice. The recent revision of the European Union energy label provided a unique opportunity to investigate the effectiveness of energy labeling in a quasi field?experimental setting. We show that the proposed extension of the seven?point A-G rating scale by adding new classes A+, A++, etc. will result in a lower perceived importance of energy efficiency in consumer decision?making. Based on a stated preference survey investigating 2244 choices by German consumers, we conclude that the revision actually undermines the label's ability to overcome information asymmetries, hence potentially contributing to market failure.

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Projektbericht - Wieviel des technischen Potentials der erneuerbaren Energien in der Bodensee Alpenrhein-Region tatsächlich genutzt werden wird, hängt letzten Endes von den Investitionsentscheidungen von Hauseigentümern und anderen potentiellen Investoren und vom Wählerverhalten der Bürgerinnen und Bürger ab. Im Frühjahr 2011 bei BAER-Bewohnern durchgeführte Meinungsumfragen zeigen ein hohes Marktpotential der erneuerbaren Energien. Insbesondere Solarthermie und Photovoltaik stehen bei Hauseigentümern hoch im Kurs. Die Befragungen in den Anrainergebieten in Deutschland, der Schweiz, Österreich und Liechtenstein offenbaren jedoch auch regionale Unterschiede, die mit dem vor Ort vorhandenen Förderangebot zusammenhängen. Auch bei kommunalen erneuerbare Energie-Projekten variiert die Akzeptanz je nach Region: Ein Windpark in der Wohngemeinde beispielsweise würde von den deutschen Befragten am meisten unterstützt. Möglicherweise spiegeln sich hier positive Erfahrungseffekte wider. Vergleicht man die jeweiligen untersuchten Gebiete in der Schweiz, Österreich, Liechtenstein und Deutschland, so sind die deutschen Anrainergebiete Bayern und Baden-Württemberg jene Gebiete mit den meisten bereits installierten Windkraftanlagen - dies lässt den Schluss zu, dass die Unterstützung in der Bevölkerung für weitere Anlagen umso höher ist, je mehr bereits installiert ist. Die Befragungen zeigen aber auch, dass rund 5-10 Prozent den erneuerbaren Energien kritisch gegenüber stehen - seien es nun Anwendungen für das eigene Haus oder kommunale Projekte. Das Teilprojekt zum Kundenverhalten zeigt Entscheidungsträgern, wie verschiedene erneuerbare Energietechnolgien in verschiedenen Bevölkerungsschichten wahrgenommen werden und was Motive und Hindernisse zur Unterstützung sind. Dies ermöglicht zielgruppengerechte Kommunikationsmassnahmen und gibt Hinweise zur Verbesserung der Wirksamkeit von Förderprogrammen.

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Countries around the world have increasingly become aware of the challenges of climate change and global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has provided clear scientific evidence that the concentration of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), is much higher today than ever before in the last 600,000 years (see Exhibit 12.1). As a conclusion, IPCC estimates that the level of global CO2-emissions needs to be reduced by 80% before 2050 in order to avoid dangerous changes in the earth’s atmosphere.

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Countries around the world have increasingly become aware of the challenges of climate change and global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has provided clear scientific evidence that the concentration of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), is much higher today than ever before in the last 600,000 years (see Exhibit 12.1). As a conclusion, IPCC estimates that the level of global CO2-emissions needs to be reduced by 80% before 2050 in order to avoid dangerous changes in the earth’s atmosphere.

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Managing the transition to a renewable energy future is an important policy priority in many countries. Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is expected to make an important contribution, but due to relatively higher cost, its growth to date has been largely driven by public policy, notably feed-in tariffs. Feed-in tariffs have been implemented in various countries, however with widely differing outcomes in terms of installed PV capacity. Previous research indicates that the level of policy risk may be an important driver for differences in renewable energy policy effectiveness. More specifically, we suggest that investors who take a decision between PV investment opportunities in different countries carefully weigh feed-in tariff-induced returns against a set of policy risks, and choose the country with the most favorable risk-return profile. We empirically test this model based on a stated preference survey among European PV project developers, consisting of 1575 choice decisions by 63 investors. The findings of our study demonstrate that risk matters in PV policy design, and that a "price tag" can be attached to specific policy risks such as the duration of administrative processes or uncertainty induced by an approaching capacity cap. Governments can build on our empirical results to design policies that will be effective in attracting private PV investment, while at the same time maintaining efficiency by providing an adequate compensation for policy risk.

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How does the influence of other well-known venture capital firms influence investment decision-making? While a great deal has been written about the venture capital decision process, in particular the criteria employed by venture investors when evaluating potential deals, we know much less about the role that contextual factors play in early-stage investment decision-making. This study departs from previous work on venture capitalist decision-making that focuses on deal criteria, examining instead how investors incorporate the actions of other actors-in this case, well-known venture capital firms-when making investment decisions. We draw on insights from the marketing, cognitions, and venture capital literature along with data from a conjoint experiment completed with 176 professional venture capital investors to explore the influence of "brand name" venture capitalists on the decisions made by other venture capitalists. Our results reveal the significant influence that prestigious venture capital firms have on investment decision-making. Implications for theory and practice are addressed.

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The European labelling scheme was introduced to counteract the rise in energy consumption by increasing consumer awareness on real energy use. Since its introduction in the mid-nineties it has not kept up with the state of the art. After years of technological advancements and better know-how, an update of the scale became necessary because many products now have the highest energy-efficiency class. After months of negotiations, members of the European Parliament and representatives from the European Commission finally reached a consensus with a compromise proposal from the Swedish Presidency. As a basis for classification, the system would continue using letters A to G, but would expand the A categories into a maximum of three tiers (A+, A++, A+++). Environmental and consumer groups criticise this proposal and support the retention of a simple, closed A-G energy label, provided that a dynamic system would be implemented. The purpose of this paper is to provide evidence of the effect of two discussed labelling schemes on consumer decisions regarding televisions. The findings are based on 2,244 observations, where half of the consumers surveyed were exposed to the existing label and the other half received an otherwise identical survey, but using the new categories. The survey shows that the well-known A-G closed scheme has a greater impact on consumer decisions than an A+++ style label. The results clearly show that introducing the new label with its additional categories weakens the effect of the label, resulting in lower awareness of consumers about energy efficiency as an important attribute.

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