Block Island Offshore Wind Project Social Survey

The primary social challenge of offshore wind power development may be local community members’ struggle to come to terms with the transformation of the ocean. The Block Island Offshore Wind Project, which was commissioned in late 2016, is the first and remains one of the only offshore wind developments in U.S. waters. As such, it represents an important case study regarding many important facets of offshore wind and continues to attract research. In a collaboration between the Center for Research in Wind and the University of Rhode Island, a survey was administered regarding local residents’ perceptions of the turbines, their effect on the ocean and coast as ‘places’, and a myriad of other related topics. Participants were recruited from Block Island as well as from Rhode Island census units bordering and near the ocean. While some of the variables differ between three survey iterations between 2016 and 2018, this project contains the only longitudinal data regarding a commissioned U.S. offshore wind project giving valuable insights into how project support and perceptions change over time. The survey work has led to multiple peer-review publications.

Related Citations: 

Russell, A., Firestone, J., Bidwell, D., & Gardner, M. 2020. Place meaning and consistency with offshore wind: An island and coastal tale. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 132, 110044, (open access)

Firestone, J., Hirt, C., Bidwell, D., Gardner, M., & Dwyer, J. 2020. Faring well in offshore wind power siting: Trust, engagement, and process fairness in the United States, Energy Research & Social Sciences, 62, 101393 (open access)

Firestone, J., Bidwell, D., Gardner, M., Knapp, L. 2018. Wind in the Sails or Choppy Seas?: People-Place Relations, Aesthetics and Public Support for the United States’ First Offshore Wind Project, Energy Research and Social Science, 40: 232-243, (open access)

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