R/22-24-NESGR-Bates: Community Engagement and Stakeholder Perceptions of Floating Offshore Wind

Alison Bates
Colby College 

Coastal and communities are increasingly faced with calls for offshore wind that may impact livelihoods or cultural well-being. Impacts to various ocean users and marine-dependent communities – both in tangible ways, such as lost revenue or increasing space-use conflict, or in non-quantifiable ways, such as changing the seascape or cultural practices, are critically important considerations to the planning and development processes if offshore wind is to contribute to climate mitigation in a just and equitable way. This holistic assessment improves authentic and equitable consultation and outreach, and presents recommendations for equitable solutions.

The objectives of this research are to develop a stakeholder database and outreach strategy, evaluate perceptions of floating offshore wind among onshore and offshore local communities, implement innovative and scientifically rigorous tools using mental models to identify adaptive capacity of various communities to offshore wind, and develop recommendations for eventual coexistence of floating wind and various ocean use activities.

We will conduct a media analysis and asset mapping workshop to identify stakeholders and generate a set of scenarios. We will generate visualizations of offshore wind scenarios and couple those with semi-structured interview protocol. We will then conduct interviews with 30-40 key stakeholders to develop the major themes, concerns and attitudes towards floating offshore wind. From the interview results, we will develop a standardized survey tool that includes the major themes and conduct in-depth structured interviews using fuzzy logic concept mapping, to identify the ability and necessary conditions for stakeholders to adapt to offshore wind including capacity for coexistence.

Sea Grant funding: $170,647

This project is funded through a partnership between the Northeast Sea Grant Consortium, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Technologies Office and Water Power Technologies Office, and NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, to advance social science and technology research for the coexistence of offshore energy with Northeast fishing and coastal communities.