Trading off visual disamenity for renewable energy: Willingness to pay for seaweed farming for energy production

Simona Demel, Alberto Longo, Petr Mariel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We studied people's preferences to support a renewable energy programme to grow seaweed for biogas production, using a choice experiment. Participants had to choose one among three alternatives, two of which were variations of a seaweed programme and the third was the status quo. The two alternatives were defined in terms of four attributes: the number of households powered, the percentage of coastline used to farm seaweed, the additional cost they would incur and perks, which were added to encourage people to participate in the programme. The choice experiment was conducted online in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland among 2016 respondents. The compensating variation from a renewable energy programme from seaweed that powers 85,000 households and covers 20% of the UK coastline is £16 per year in England, £16 per year in Scotland and £14 per year in Northern Ireland, respectively. We find that people are willing to use more coastline to farm seaweed in order to power more households. That is, they are willing to make a trade-off between the visual disamenity caused by the seaweed farms and producing more green energy. Lastly, both perks have negative effects on people's preferences for using seaweed as biogas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcological Economics
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2020


Cite this