Brussels, 05 Dec 2002
An EU funded website designed to stimulate informed debate on future energy sources this week launches a multi-lingual survey to gauge public attitudes to, and knowledge of, crucial energy issues.
The INTUSER website is a new online forum for the general public and energy experts to communicate with one another about energy issues - from nuclear power and global warming to alternative energy sources such as solar and wave power.
The three-year INTUSER (information network on the technology of utilisation and sustainability of energy resources) project has a total budget of 450,000 euro, provided under the human potential section of the European Union's Fifth Framework Programme.
The project consortium consists of university, industry and institutional partners from the UK, Hungary, Slovakia, Portugal, Greece, Austria and Belgium. It aims to raise public awareness of the benefits and possible drawbacks of using various energy resources, and to bridge the gap between science and the public.
The University of Sheffield is one of the project partners, and renewable energy expert Robin Saunders from their Department of Mechanical Engineering has aided in the development of the website's content. 'There's little public involvement in energy decision making across Europe, and public awareness of the most important issues is limited - partly because much news media coverage of energy controversies is so ill-informed that it does more harm than good. Various propaganda battles between environmental lobby groups and major energy providers have muddied the waters even further' he explains.
'So through the INTUSER project we're trying to get people thinking rationally about the benefits, costs, drawbacks and risks of all kinds of energy sources. We want to challenge assumptions, and to encourage scientists and other experts to communicate more effectively with the public about energy issues. It's vital that we engage far more people in the process of making informed strategic energy decisions that will affect the future, not just of Europe but of the whole planet.'
The multi-lingual survey poses questions such as 'is there such a thing as safe nuclear energy?', 'are people prepared to pay a premium for energy from renewable sources?', and 'what technological developments are needed to achieve a safe, sustainable mix of energy sources for the generations to come?'
To complete the survey, please consult the following web address: http://www.intuser.net