Social acceptance of wind and solar power in the Brazilian electricity system

By de Sena, L.A.; Ferreira, P.; Braga, A.C.

Environment, Development and Sustainability

2016

Abstract

Renewable energy is often associated with the production of clean electricity and free of significant adverse impacts. However, several studies have been highlighting the importance of the assessment of social impacts of these technologies, including not only the benefits but also the potential negative aspects most frequently affecting local population. The energy matrix in Brazil is already built up on a renewable system largely supported on hydropower but other technologies with special emphasis on wind power start to have a major role, with a strong growth forecasted for this sector in the coming years. This article discusses the integration of solar and wind power in the Brazilian electricity system focusing on the social awareness and acceptance for the population living in high potential regions. For this, a questionnaire was proposed with the aim of evaluating the level of knowledge of wind and solar power, their social acceptance and perceptions towards cost, local development and environmental impacts. The questionnaire was implemented in an academic institution in the State of Rio Grande do Norte (RN) including students and professors as key actors for the present and future energy policy decision making. The implementation process and the obtained results are described allowing to conclude on the high level of acceptance of solar and wind power in the country and the region, with low evidence of not in my backyard syndrome.

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