Oct 2017: Perspective Paper Published in ERSS

Following up on a national survey of Japanese households about their energy use, choice and knowledge, a brief perspectives paper was published in Energy Research and Social Science. The paper, entitled ‘Curiosity, economic and environmental reasoning: Public perceptions of liberalization and renewable energy transition in Japan’ describes not only the current status of households attitude and action towards changing electricity companies or installing household PV, but also investigates participation in energy system activities which could impact positively upon the Japanese system.

Abstract: A public survey of energy users across Japan was conducted in March of 2017. It is almost one year since liberalization of the low voltage electricity market for households and small retail premises, for whom we identified an opportunity to play a positive role through their choices and participation in the energy market, which may influence the ongoing energy system restructure in Japan. The survey asked about changing to a new power provider, and about the installation of rooftop photovoltaic systems to identify the reasoning behind these choices. Additionally, future hypothetical energy scenarios were tested. The results show that a significant portion of the public make participatory decisions to gain an economic benefit, while another group appears curious about new technology, seeking information before reaching a decision in order to satisfy their curiosity. Both groups are larger than the third significant group, whose decision making is guided by environmental reasoning. The results also show that a large portion of the public are relatively conservative in their energy choices, leading to a very passive approach, while a small portion of respondents demonstrated a more active stance. These findings have ramifications for the future energy system and implications for energy policy development.