Sustainability concerns are key to understanding public attitudes toward woody biomass for energy: A survey of Danish citizens

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Woody biomass energy makes up a large share of renewable energy consumption in the EU, and the largest share in countries like Denmark. However, little is known about how the public perceive it. This paper presents the results of a questionnaire-based survey of the public in Denmark focusing on attitudes toward woody biomass for energy. The main findings are that, while more people favor than oppose it, a large proportion are undecided about the use of woody biomass. The survey also revealed a lack of knowledge about this energy source. A Best-Worst Scaling methodology revealed that Danes prioritize environmental sustainability concerns – namely biodiversity loss, the hindering of the development of other renewable energy sources and the climate change mitigation potential of woody biomass – over societal and/or economic ones when it comes to the promotion of woody biomass. Finally, it was found that concern about climate change, belief in the mitigation potential of woody biomass, and being younger explained the formation of positive attitudes toward woody biomass. Policy makers aiming to take public concerns into account in discussions about Denmark's energy future should focus more on minimizing the negative environmental impacts associated with woody biomass rather than on its economic benefits.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRenewable Energy
Pages (from-to)181-194
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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