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Enid Carol Kumin, Ph.D., is a 2015 graduate of the PhD Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, New England.

Dissertation Committee:

  • James W. Jordan, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Joy W. Ackerman, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Herman A. Karl, Ph.D., Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

While there are as yet no wind energy facilities in New England coastal waters, a number of wind turbine projects are now operating on land adjacent to the coast. In the Gulf of Maine region (from Maine to Massachusetts), at least two such projects, one in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and another on the island of Vinalhaven, Maine, began operation with public backing only to face subsequent opposition from some who were initially project supporters. I investigate the reasons for this dynamic using content analysis of documents related to wind energy facility development in three case study communities. For comparison and contrast with the Vinalhaven and Falmouth case studies, I examine materials from Hull, Massachusetts, where wind turbine construction and operation has received steady public support and acceptance. My research addresses the central question: What does case study analysis of the siting and initial operation of three wind energy projects in the Gulf of Maine region reveal that can inform future governance of wind energy in Massachusetts state coastal waters? I consider the question with specific attention to governance of wind energy in Massachusetts, then explore ways in which the research results may be broadly transferable in the U.S. coastal context. I determine that the change in local response noted in Vinalhaven and Falmouth may have arisen from a failure of consistent inclusion of stakeholders throughout the entire scoping-to-siting process, especially around the reporting of environmental impact studies. I find that, consistent with the principles of ecosystem-based and adaptive management, design of governance systems may require on-going cycles of review and adjustment before the implementation of such systems as intended is achieved in practice. I conclude that evolving collaborative processes must underlie science and policy in our approach to complex environmental and wind energy projects; indeed, collaborative process is fundamental to the successful governance of such projects, including any that may involve development of wind energy in the Massachusetts coastal zone or beyond. Three supplemental files of coded data accompany this dissertation.

Comments

Enid Carol Kumin, Ph.D.

Enid Kumin’s Ph.D. in Environmental Studies at Antioch University New England builds on undergraduate and graduate studies at Wellesley College and the University of Rhode Island, respectively. Her research interests in wind power governance and ecosystem-based management are an outgrowth of her professional experience in energy and environmental policy. Enid’s professional activities have grounded her research; her studies have broadened her thinking about the work of government agencies in the areas of her research focus. Dr. Kumin anticipates drawing inspiration from both research and practice in undertaking any future academic or professional role. This balanced approach is in keeping with her general view of environmental concerns through an interdisciplinary lens.

ORCID Scholar ID orcid.org/0000-0002-3440-915X

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