Public perception of geothermal projects in Alsace: between energy transition and territorial rooting

Abstract : Deep geothermal energy was introduced to France in the 1980s in the Paris region. High-energy geothermal energy (>150°) has been entering its industrial age since the early 2010s. Several projects, aimed at the production of geothermal heat and electricity, are located in Alsace, and some of these have been quite controversial since 2014, when the setting up of legal public enquiries was announced. This paper focuses on a study of public perception of deep geothermal energy (the European Union's Horizon 2020 DESTRESS project, grant agreement 691728) that we carried out in 2017. This research looks at several territories belonging to the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg (EMS)-where several projects are being challenged-and Northern Alsace-where deep geothermal energy seems to be fairly well accepted. It combines a quantitative survey using questionnaires with a qualitative approach using focus groups (881 people were interviewed by questionnaire and about 50 participants participated in the focus groups). We make the following assumption: perceptions of the risks and benefits of geothermal energy vary depending on the way people experience and give meanings to their territory. In this context, the way in which local authorities invest in the field of renewable energy, notably through their climate plan, may play an important role in acceptance of deep geothermal projects by the public. Only the quantitative survey will be presented as part of this paper. It will account for three issues that may affect the shaping of public perception of deep geothermal energy: individual knowledge of techniques and of the local projects, 1 The plant became an industrial site in June 2016. Inspired by the Soultz-Sous-Forêts model, many projects have been launched since 2000 in the German, Swiss and French regions of the Rhine basin. On the perceptions and appropriation of information on geothermal energy, and perceptions of the local project and its risks and benefits.
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Philippe Chavot, Anne Masseran, Cyrille Bodin, Christine Heimlich, Yeny Serrano, et al.. Public perception of geothermal projects in Alsace: between energy transition and territorial rooting. European Geothermal Congress 2019, Jun 2019, La Haye, Netherlands. ⟨hal-02157107⟩

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