In GRETA, we conducted a multinational survey with 10,000 participants in the EU and identified eight different types of energy citizens. These energy citizen personas differ from each other in how actively they participate in the energy transition, and by their attitudes, motivations and resources towards sustainable energy actions. The eight personas are from the most to the least active: Tech-savvy Advocates, Practical Advocates, High Income Investors, Socially Motivated, Young Mindfuls, Resource Constrained, Information Sceptics, and Indifferents.
Energy citizen personas
The Indifferents are aware of climate issues in general, but they don’t pay much attention to them. This is because they don’t think that their own actions make a difference. For them, saving energy doesn’t seem worthwhile, and they don’t have great concerns for the environment either. The Indifferents might be open to considering adopting green energy – but only if it doesn’t affect their lifestyle.
Information Sceptics are very sceptical of nearly all sources of information – hence their name. They’re aware of the climate debate but don’t believe their own actions have an impact. Their lack of motivation also stems from the fact that their energy costs are not very high. Thus, they don’t see themselves investing in green technologies or joining energy co-operatives.
Resource Constrained are likely to be older and live in apartment buildings. They’re aware of climate issues but rely on science to solve the problem. They don’t believe energy companies or governments have a big impact on the situation. They have limited options for bigger energy actions, as they don’t likely have much disposable income. However, they’re up to saving energy in their daily life, especially if it saves them money. They might actually already use energy quite sustainably, for example, by using public transport.
Young Mindfuls are likely to be young, live in apartment buildings and lack disposable income. They’re concerned about the environment and believe in the need for increased greener transport solutions and renewable energy. However, due to their living situation, they’re unlikely to take actions that require investments. They like to discuss climate issues with their friends and family and trust them in energy topics. Thus, they have potential to become energy advocates.
Socially Motivated are not very concerned with environmental issues and don’t have much faith in national institutions, industry, scientists or individual actions either. However, they’re strongly driven by social factors and curious about social energy activities, such as participating in an energy community. In fact, they might already be doing so. For them, it’s all about finding new opportunities to cooperate with other like-minded people.
As the name suggests, High Income Investors are like to have a high income and value time over money. They’re very concerned about the environment and happy to take positive action in the form of renewable energy investments, such as solar panels, electric vehicles and other forms of sustainable transport. They understand that communal actions may be useful for achieving impact. However, given their busy lifestyle, they don’t want to invest too much of their time.
Practical Advocates are likely to be employed or retired, but still seek additional sources of income. They recognize the importance of taking green actions and believe that we all need to do our part. They’re likely to discuss environmental issues with their friends and family and trust the information they get from them. Simple and easy energy saving actions interest them, whereas they’re much more cautious about significant energy investments or actions that make them depend on others.
Tech-savvy Advocates are well acquainted with environmental topics and understand that everyone needs to do their part to tackle climate change. They trust the information provided by governments, scientists and various online sources. They try to save energy and will happily use apps to help achieve this goal. They’re also sensitive to issues of energy justice and equal access to energy, and might be interested in getting involved in advocating a just energy transition in society.