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Open AccessArticle

Policy Influence on Consumers’ Evolution into Prosumers—Empirical Findings from an Exploratory Survey in Europe

by Kirsi Kotilainen 1,2,3,* and Ulla A. Saari 1
1
Faculty of Business and Built Environment, Tampere University of Technology, 33720 Tampere, Finland
2
Faculty of Management, University of Tampere, 33100 Tampere, Finland
3
Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010186
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 13 January 2018
The energy sector is in transition to a flexible and sustainable energy system based on renewable energy sources. This complex transition is affecting multiple levels in the sociotechnical system. One driver of the transition is climate change that enforces the policy push from the macro level to change the way energy is produced, delivered, and used. As part of the energy system evolution, the role of the end user in the energy sector is undergoing profound changes, and consumers are increasingly being empowered to participate actively in the production and use of energy. This article investigates how policies might affect consumers’ interests in becoming prosumers of energy. We explore consumers’ attitudes toward using renewable energy technologies (RET) by means of an empirical consumer survey that was conducted in five European countries. The partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) method was utilized to analyze the survey results. Our findings suggest that both economic and non-economic policies affect consumer attitudes toward using renewable energy technologies. We conclude that policies have different effects on consumers and prosumers, who have already made the decision to adopt renewable energy solutions. Based on the findings, we propose a set of policy and managerial implications. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy policy; diffusion; technology acceptance model; prosumer; consumer; renewable energy technology; PLS-SEM energy policy; diffusion; technology acceptance model; prosumer; consumer; renewable energy technology; PLS-SEM
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Kotilainen, K.; Saari, U.A. Policy Influence on Consumers’ Evolution into Prosumers—Empirical Findings from an Exploratory Survey in Europe. Sustainability 2018, 10, 186.

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