Resources Science ›› 2020, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (12): 2328-2340.doi: 10.18402/resci.2020.12.06

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Public willingness to pay for cleaner power sources

LIU Xiao(), XU Jianhua()   

  1. College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2019-12-17 Revised:2020-04-15 Online:2020-12-25 Published:2021-02-25
  • Contact: XU Jianhua;


Switching to cleaner power sources is important for China’s environmental protection and energy security. Understanding public preference for power sources and willingness to pay for cleaner power sources can provide information for the government to develop energy policies. This study used a discrete choice experiment to explore public preference and willingness to pay for cleaner power sources, analyzed the influence of attributes such as power source structure, associated environmental impacts (carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide emissions) and electricity price change on preference, and characterized preference heterogeneities among different demographic and socioeconomic groups. A total of 1008 valid responses was collected in 10 selected cities, and mixed logit models and latent class models were used to analyze the data. The following results are obtained. (1) The public in different regions have different preferences for power sources. (2) Environmental impacts associated with the power sources and increase in electricity prices are negatively associated with public preference for cleaner power sources. (3) Preferences for power sources are different among different groups of people. Those who are older, with higher income, living closer to the city, and with pro-environmental attitudes prefer cleaner power sources. (4) The public is willing to pay 31% more for cleaner power sources that reduce sulfur dioxide or carbon dioxide emissions by 30%. The impact of public environmental attitude on the willingness to pay (the difference is about 26%) is greater than socioeconomic characteristics such as age (the difference is about 15%). Based on these findings, we suggest that precise policies be designed across regions, and efforts be put on raising public environmental awareness, especially for those with lower income, are younger, and live in rural areas, to improve public acceptance of and willingness to pay for renewable energy.

Key words: power source structure, environmental impact, public preference, discrete choice experiment, heterogeneity, willingness to pay, latent class model