The planned transition from nuclear power to decentralized renewable energy sources in Switzerland requires the modification and expansion of the electricity grid. However, public acceptance of high-voltage power lines (HVPLs) is generally low. Drawing on the importance of affect in the context of technology acceptance, the goal of the present work was to shed light on people’s affective responses to HVPLs, as well as to examine the influence of different siting options. Results of an online study (N = 94) showed that pictures of landscapes featuring HVPLs evoke significantly stronger negative feelings than pictures of the same landscapes without HVPLs. These differences were greater for positively perceived surroundings such as rural landscapes than for negatively perceived surroundings such as urban landscapes. In a second step, an eye tracking study (N = 95) was conducted to validate these findings and gain insights into people’s decision making. Results show that people pay more attention to HVPLs when they are sited in positively perceived landscapes than when they are sited in negatively perceived landscapes. Furthermore, increased attention on HVPLs was related to a more negative affective evaluation of otherwise positively perceived landscapes. The results underline the importance of siting decisions in the context of grid infrastructure projects.
The influence of high-voltage power lines on the feelings evoked by different Swiss surroundings
Title: The influence of high-voltage power lines on the feelings evoked by different Swiss surroundings
January 01, 2017
Journal: Energy Research & Social Science
Lienert, P.; Sütterlin, B.; Siegrist, M. (2017). The influence of high-voltage power lines on the feelings evoked by different Swiss surroundings. Energy Research & Social Science, 23, 46-59.