A Diffusion of Innovations Approach to Understand Stakeholder Perceptions of Renewable Energy Initiatives

Kami J. Silk, Allison Hurley, Kristin Pace, Erin K. Maloney, Maria Lapinski

This study uses diffusion of innovations (DOI) as a framework for formative research to understand different stakeholders’ perceptions of renewable energy initiatives (i.e., wind, solar, and biomass). Focus groups (N =12) were conducted with several different stakeholders in Michigan: farmers (n = 17), rural residents (n = 20), urban residents (n = 30), citizen activists/environmentalists (n = 13), and individuals who live in tourist-based economies (n = 7). Data were analyzed based on DOI constructs. Results suggest that farmers would be considered early adopters, while urban residents would fall in the late majority. Overall, stakeholder groups perceived renewable energy to be relatively advantageous and compatible with their values.

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