A socio-technical analysis of consumer preferences about energy systems applying a simulation-based approach: A case study of the Tokyo area

Miwa Nakai, Tatsuya Okubo, Yasunori Kikuchi

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1 Citation (Scopus)


In consideration of forthcoming amendments to laws and regulations about Japan's energy systems, we conducted a socio-technical analysis to support discussions towards a consensus on socially acceptable and technologically feasible energy systems for Japan. Using a choice experiment survey, we analysed consumer preferences about the electricity supply in the Tokyo area. We found that consumers tend to purchase electricity from major providers with a renewable-energy component in the mix, which offers stable supply on cheap plans with little price volatility. Furthermore, they avoid nuclear power, and show a positive “willingness to pay” for regional power providers only after possible regional economic benefits are suggested. In our subsequent technical analysis, consumers’ estimated willingness-to-pay for the preferred nuclear-free and renewable energy options were compared with simulated electricity price changes in response to the roll-out of feasible energy systems technologies under different policy scenarios, using computational energy flow models. We found that simulated price increases from an immediate shutdown of nuclear plants and from feed-in tariffs for renewables would exceed consumers’ willingness-to-pay. Our approach of using survey- and simulation-based analyses jointly to facilitate informed discussions on energy system choices should lead to continuous improvements in public and policy discussions towards a consensus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-63
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1



  • Choice experiment
  • Consumer preference
  • Simulation
  • Socio-technical analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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