Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2020: Gender Economics
The success of the energy transition is important in order to limit climate change and its consequences. However, the expansion of renewables faces several challenges. In particular, there is growing resistance to renewable projects at the local level. Therefore, we examine preferences for regionally produced green electricity as a way to increase acceptance. In addition, we investigate whether regional or environmental identity have an influence on these preferences. Therefore, we analyse data from a choice experiment conducted with 672 regional consumers in Germany. The sample is divided into 3 subgroups that face different priming treatments in order to determine the effects of identity salience. Our results show that, in addition to a green electricity mix, consumers have positive preferences for regional aspects of electricity contracts, such as the regional production or the regional ties of electricity suppliers. Moreover, respondents who were primed with their regional or environmental identity show a significantly higher willingness to pay for these attributes. While the priming for environmental identity strengthens the existing preferences, the regional priming seems to influence the underlying decision heuristics. Overall, our findings indicate that there is a clear preference for regional electricity and therefore it would be reasonable for electricity providers to offer regional electricity. Environmental and regional aspects should be emphasised in marketing, as these can have a significant impact on electricity contract choice.