Graduation Date

Spring 2020

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

John Meyer

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Laurie Richmond

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Erin Kelly

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environment and Community


As impacts from anthropogenic climate change continue to manifest at global and local scales, communities are increasingly seeking solutions to transition the world away from fossil fuels. Novel renewable energy technologies, including offshore floating wind energy, continue to garner developer interest. Technological success, however, is one small piece in the effort to decarbonize. Project developers are required to engage in political and bureaucratic processes and work with communities where projects may be sited. Balancing community perceptions and needs, as well as permitting and leasing processes, with increasing pressure to decarbonize will be key as the fight against climate change continues. This research explores stakeholder perceptions of proposed offshore wind energy development as they relate to the development process and climate change in Humboldt County, California. I utilized semi-structured interviews, procedural analysis, and participant observations to identify the ways in which stakeholders balance their general support of renewable energy and concern for climate change with the impacts and ‘unknowns’ of localized development. I find that stakeholders weigh numerous concerns when considering offshore wind development in Humboldt County, and climate change is not the most salient factor in the discussion. Indeed, stakeholders themselves are unsure how to balance impacts from climate change with impacts from project development, much less where their respective communities fit in that discussion.

Citation Style