Energy & Environment
The aim of this study was to characterize the influence that different dimensions of public trust in regulatory institutions have on social acceptability judgments of electricity generation sources in Chile. Chilean university students' acceptability judgments of ten energy sources were characterized using a web-based survey, covering risk and benefit perceptions, declared levels of acceptability, and trust in regulatory institutions. Our results confirm the influence of public trust in regulatory institutions on general perceptions and acceptance of electricity generation sources, and corroborate the presence of two dimensions of trust in regulatory institutions: integrity-based trust and competence-based trust. Our results revealed a significant influence of both aspects on risk and benefit perceptions and acceptance of fossil fuels, biomass and nuclear power, while for NRES no significant relationships were found. For hydropower, integrity-based trust was the only form of trust that influenced perceptions of risks and benefits, and its influence over public acceptance was significantly larger than competence-based trust. Further analyses of results for each energy source and implications for regulators are discussed.