Many energy cases suffer from social opposition. It is increasingly asserted that paying due attention to the moral values involved in controversial energy cases may increase social acceptance. Value-sensitive design (VSD) has been recommended as a promising approach for addressing moral values in controversial energy cases. This paper aims to empirically explore the applicability of VSD in controversial energy cases by investigating the extent to which it is possible to identify the relevant values, norms and design requirements in the Groningen gas controversy (the Netherlands) using values hierarchies. It was found in this case that the relevant values, norms and design requirements could be retrieved, but that two conditions need to be fulfilled to avoid underexposure of relevant values. Firstly, data should be collected using a variety of data sources. Secondly, these sources should be analyzed through both top-down approaches and bottom-up approaches. We find that ‘Safety’ is a critical value in the Groningen case, while other critical values are related to securing ‘Procedural Justice’. Strikingly, the important procedural values ‘Trust’ and ‘Honesty’ did not translate into concrete policies. Policy makers can use values hierarchies to address moral values in energy cases and to translate these values into concrete measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-648
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018

    Research areas

  • Energy controversy, Groningen gas case, Social acceptance, Value-sensitive design, Values hierarchy

ID: 46607012