My research is within the field of public perceptions towards renewable energy infrastructure, with the focus of my thesis being on the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. The study will explore the effect that the Lagoon will have/is having upon the identities of stakeholders and publics.
Born and raised in Cardiff, I initially studied Business Management and Finance at Cardiff Business School before switching to Human Geography and Planning at CPLAN after one year. I then went on to study for my Msc in Eco-cities, also at the School of Geography and Planning, as well as gaining professional experience with the Renhao Urban Planning Co. in Chonqing, China and Sustainly - a sustainability communications company based in Cardiff.
I am currently exploring the risk impacts on identity from renewable energy infrastructure. As a society we are becoming increasingly risk and loss averse, meaning that while we will be pre-occupied with thoughts of our future and of sustainability – we could also be less willing to sacrifice our lifestyles to achieve that sustainability. Therefore, the aim of my study is to uncover what individuals perceive to be as under threat from renewable energy instalments and how that might affect themselves and their actions.
My main research interests cover three broad fields- the inter link between identity and place, sustainability and perception. Sub-fields of interest include smart cities, energy efficiency and ecological modernisation.
Understanding the Risk Impacts on Identity from Renewable Energy Infrastructure: the case of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon
Within recent years a concerted drive has taken place to site and construct renewable energy infrastructure in the UK and other countries, leading to a number of issues on the social acceptance of these developments. One issue has been the dismissal of legitimate risk perceptions as reasoning to object to locally situated developments, where individuals are often characterised as NIMBY (Not-In-My-Back-Yard). Referencing high levels of social acceptance for renewable energy on a nationwide scale, developers and government have been accused of overlooking local opposition to such projects.
The refusal to acknowledge concerns of the individuals affected by such developments has led to a focus of academic research on the issue. We are now able to call upon a small wealth of knowledge on the social acceptance and risk perceptions towards developments. However, whereas some renewable methods have been well explored, there is one that has received far less attention. Tidal power is viewed as a highly promising method of energy production, which estimates show could possibly provide as much as 12% of the UK’s total electricity demand. The first of these developments will be the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, situated off the coast of South Wales.
This study will utilise a risk lens in order to highlight how differing perceptions, particularly on the issue of identity, can be responsible for varying responses in the individuals affected – as well as acting as a first study of the perceived risks of tidal energy.
University Graduate Colege, Cardiff University