Despite growing political support for and investment in offshore wind in the United States, concerns persist, including those related to fairness, transparency, and the participation of local settler and Tribal communities. While decision-makers frequently focus on technological barriers, scholars argue that the barriers to U.S. offshore wind development are grounded in social, cultural, and to a lesser extent, economic considerations. If states in the Northeast Sea Grant region are to realize their ambitious renewable energy goals, barriers related to fairness and equity must be identified and addressed to ensure community well-being and a just energy transition.
The objectives of this mixed-methods study of fairness and justice in Southern New England communities regarding offshore wind energy development are: 1) To identify community concerns and research questions regarding procedural, distributive, and recognitional justice dimensions of southern New England offshore wind projects; 2) To quantitatively assess community attitudes regarding the procedural, distributive, and recognitional justice dimensions of southern New England offshore wind projects, and 3) To examine differences in attitudes within and among settler and Indigenous communities.
We propose a mixed-methods baseline assessment, comprising interviews and a survey, of five settler communities in the southern New England region as well as seven Tribal Nations located near these communities. Communities and Tribal Nations are selected to focus on active offshore wind development projects (both power generation and transmission). A comparative, cross-case analysis will identify key variables affecting perceptions of procedural, distributive, and recognitional justice within and across these communities.