Public prioritisation of energy affordability in the UK

Christina Demski, Darrick Evensen, Nick Pidgeon, Alexa Spence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (SciVal)


Much research has focused on the so-called ‘energy trilemma’ – i.e., three leading energy policy issues: energy security, affordability, and climate change mitigation. Whilst substantial understanding exists of why people support climate-friendly energy policies, little is known about why they think affordability is important. Particularly, what leads members of the public to identify this policy goal as more important than other objectives? Here, we examine this question via a nationally-representative survey of 2441 UK residents and demonstrate that concerns about personal costs explain a small amount of variation in the prioritisation of affordability as an energy policy goal; a range of other factors also significantly contribute. One such factor is beliefs about who is responsible for energy transitions. These findings suggest policy actions to address affordability concerns should go beyond energy prices, and include additional considerations such as distributive justice and equality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-409
Number of pages6
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research formed part of the 2nd and 3rd programme of the UK Energy Research Centre and was supported by the UK Research Councils under the Natural Environment Research Council award NE/ G007748/1 (grant NE/I006753/1 ) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council award EP/L024756/1 . Additional support was received from Horizon Digital Economy Research, RCUK grant ( EP/G065802/1 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Affordability
  • Energy transitions
  • Public perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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