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Title: Preferences and perceived barriers to pursuing energy sovereignty and renewable energy: A tribal nations perspective
This paper proposes two contributions to the literature on the social acceptance (SA) of energy systems and public perceptions of renewable energy (RE) transitions. The first contribution is methodological, recognizing more effective and inclusive forms of engagement begin with building reciprocal relationships and collaborative research partnerships operationalizing the tenets of energy justice. Employing these methodological recommendations, we conducted a collaborative, inclusive, and equitable research design and engagement practice by collaborating with Tribal members on research with expressly mutual benefits. In this work, a years-long collaboration of Tribal members and non-Tribal researchers developed a methodology to survey respondents at an accessible and culturally relevant community event to learn about preferences and perceived barriers to transitioning to RE. A second contribution is empirical. The results suggest shared priorities for energy solutions that enhance energy sovereignty, i.e., community control and ownership of energy services provisioning. They also demonstrate widespread awareness regarding barriers to a RE transition and simultaneously, some potential misperceptions about the challenges to transition. This study reinforces the need for SA research to move beyond asking what technologies receive public support and where those technologies should be sited to consider how access and transparency in planning processes, collaboration, engagement, development, ownership, and benefits are organized and can be radically reconfigured to enable the just transition to a decarbonized energy system.  more » « less
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Energy research social science
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National Science Foundation
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