The purpose of this study is to investigate whether news media as a form of social communication regarding pressing, important, and contemporary issues could be used as a leading indicator of technology adoption. For technology foresight, monitoring and analyzing energy technologies is in the spotlight due to their strategic importance to the agenda of competitive and sustainable economic growth.
The trends in renewable energy production and news media are determined and compared to draw inferences in foresight concerning the use of renewable energy technologies in energy production. Consequently, the data concern wind and solar energy production and their representation in news media in Germany and the UK. The analysis proceeds as a quasi-experiment treating each yearly observation of energy production as a function of news media data with lagged variables.
The study reveals consistent dynamics in the lag in the primary production of energy in related technologies compared to the media visibility of the respective technologies.
This study explores the prospects of using news media data in foresight analysis concerning renewable energy production and provides many fruitful avenues for foresight research in investigating relationships between technology adoption and media exposure.
The authors thank the reviewers, and the special issue Editor Tugrul Daim, and the seminar participants at the PICMET 2012 for useful suggestions on the research, and Tuisku Pelkonen for assistance in data gathering.
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