Turbines on the Horizon: Public Perspectives on Offshore Wind Energy in the U.S

Mon, March 30, 2020 1:00 PM at 303 International Center

Dr. David Bidwell is an assistant professor in Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island. He uses the tools of environmental sociology and social psychology to research environmental decision making, including public support for renewable energy technologies. His recent work has focused on the first offshore wind farm in the United States. In the past, he has served as a public participation consultant and zoo educator. He holds a PhD in Sociology from Michigan State University and a MS in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Michigan. 



When the first offshore wind farm in the United States--the Block Island Wind Farm, a 5-turbine development off the coast of Rhode Island--started operations in 2016, interest in ocean-based renewable energy surged. Driven largely by state-level policies, there are currently more than a dozen large-scale projects in process, which would result in hundreds of turbines built in U.S. waters. The Block Island Wind Farm is a critical laboratory for understanding how U.S. publics react to offshore wind energy and how construction and operation will affect coastal communities and ocean users. Dr. Bidwell will summarize multiple studies on the community response to this project, as well as impacts to tourism and recreation. He will also provide a snapshot of the current offshore industry, conflicts that are arising, and how lessons from Block Island and other projects can contribute to a more fair and just energy transition.