Alaina Dawson

P1010052Project title: Taking it breezy in Block Island: public attitudes towards America’s first offshore wind farm

Mentors: Cathrine Denman and David Bidwell

Abstract: In June 2015, construction for America’s first offshore wind farm began three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island. Since this project was the first of its kind within the United States, many elements of the project were undetermined. In order to gauge how the public would respond to a new project such as the Block Island Wind Farm, research was conducted during the summer of 2015 and 2016 to determine levels of support and what factors affected these opinions.  Opinions and attitudes towards the Block Island Wind Farm and ocean use were gathered via random intersect surveying conducted on the island.  Since a majority of the construction was completed during 2016, this year’s analysis focused on comparing levels of support to whether or not one had seen construction activities, as well as how support changed from the previous summer due to the advancement in project visibility.  Understanding this data can help those in similar future projects to understand how public perception may vary, and why social roadblocks may occur.