Date of Award

2022

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Amelia Moore

Abstract

Offshore wind energy is starting to gain a foothold in the United States and with that comes a multitude of problems and several opportunities. Some of these problems and opportunities concern the role equity plays between the developers of offshore wind and the various communities they will impact. Not all communities are the same, and some of these communities have been more plagued from inequitable fossil fuel infrastructure than others. How can offshore wind developers offer equity to hosting communities? This research is focused on the post-industrial city of Providence, Rhode Island a high-population density post-industrial city where offshore wind farms will be constructed in the coming decade. Communities such as Providence, Rhode Island won't see offshore wind farms in their viewsheds, but residents are still highly affected in a few ways including the price of electricity, the potential to clean polluted areas, and the jobs that may become available in the coming years. Between the summer of 2021 and the summer of 2022 I conducted semi-structured interviews with 18 key informants including developers, nonprofit experts, activists, government officials, politicians, and citizens in Providence. My research shows that respondents are concerned about the cost of electricity, unsure about where their electricity comes from, and believe the areas around the Port of Providence to be at greatest risk from climate change and pollution. It also shows that there is confusion and a lack of clarity around the role of offshore wind development in the city's energy justice priorities.

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