How can community gain messaging influence attitudes of acceptance towards controversial energy infrastructure projects

Project Insights

  • €43,466

    Total Project Costs
  • 1 yr

    Project Duration
  • 2016

    Year Funded

Project Description

The research was designed to determine how and to what degree host communities (of high voltage overhead transmission lines) are influenced by community gain messaging. The research identifies the cognitive response of high prior knowledge recipients to the advocacy of community gain and if this can lead to attitude moderation / modification in the desired direction. This area is under studied and there exists a lack of empirical evidence identifying how host community prior knowledge, in amount and substance, biases the evaluation of persuasive communications, in this case, innovative solutions to community gain messaging. This research will support the work of policy-makers, developers and other stakeholders in the national (and international) electricity transmission sector. It will increase Ireland's capacity of tackling the problems associated with siting high voltage overhead lines. It will provide unique opportunities for cross-fertilization of new ideas as well as direct opportunities for feedback from practitioners and planners to academic researchers seeking to develop or refine the focus of on-going or new research. It will seek to develop and inform new research opportunities. These opportunities will be facilitated by presentations, workshops and ultimately publications at the end of this research. Project objectives - The objective of the project was to conduct field research with a view to establishing how host communities of high voltage overhead electricity transmission lines will cognitively react when in receipt of counter-attitudinal community gain messaging. Government Policy and An Bord Planeala (via the Strategic Infrastructure Act) state, on energy infrastructure projects, community gain should be contained in project proposals. However, there is a lack of knowledge on how to deliver and communicate this efficiently and effectively. This research study concentrated on identifying the micro-foundations of host community benefit agreements in siting high-voltage overhead transmission lines. This research area is underdeveloped with few practical manifestations of the concept. While there is evidence of high levels of public resistance to the siting of overhead lines, there is a gap regarding innovative initiatives and solutions to help them become more socially acceptable. Research methodology involved a quantitative survey, preceded by a pilot survey and questionnaire cognitive testing, among community stakeholders associated with a proposed grid project along a corridor straddling three local authority administrative areas in the Republic of Ireland. It is intended this research will assist stakeholders with the difficulties associated with controversial transmission line projects, and by extension any controversial infrastructure project.

Project Details

Total Project Cost: €43,466

Funding Agency: SEAI

Year Funded: 2016

Lead Organisation: National University of Ireland Galway

Partner Organisation(s): N/A

Dr Ann Torres

Lead Researcher