Stakeholder's risk perceptions pertaining to tidal power: a case study in the Cobscook Bay, Maine, United States

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University of New Brunswick


This thesis investigates the Cobscook Bay, Maine experience with evaluating, approving, and installing a tidal power device. This was done to understand stakeholder risk perceptions surrounding the Ocean Renewable Power Company's tidal power project, with respect to potential impact on local commercial fisheries. Twenty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted representing various stakeholder groups with data analyzed using a grounded theory approach. The results reveal the region's long and complex history with tidal power and industry in general, which influenced pre-deployment risk perceptions. Risk perceptions post-deployment focused on impacts to livelihood. The analysis showed that the proponent gained a social license for the project due primarily to acceptance of local/traditional knowledge and experience-based expertise. Contrasting the Maine experience with a recent Canadian tidal power project illustrated several important lessons learned for future sustainable development project consultations.