The ocean off Oregon’s coast is a busy place with many activities occurring that can sometimes be in competition or cooperation. Deciding how new uses fit with existing ocean uses is complex, but there are some tools available to help decision-​-​‐makers. Generating energy from waves is an emerging ocean use and the human dimension effects require further study. In 2011, the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC), in conjunction with Oregon Sea Grant (OSG), began efforts to identify a site for a grid-​-​‐connected, open--‐ocean test facility for full--‐scale wave energy devices. The NNMREC and OSG led a siting process that included meetings with community leaders, public workshops, and the creation of teams of community members to develop siting proposals. This thesis research emerged from a solicitation for an independent evaluation of the siting process. The overall goal of this research was to determine if the siting process was effective. Specifically, using a mixed methods research approach consisting of semi-structured interviews and an online questionnaire, this research answered if participants: (a) where participants involved in the process at the level they wanted to be, (b) did participants understand the process, (c) did participants feel as though they were heard, and (d) did participants feel they had an influence on the outcome of the process? The goal of evaluating this siting process was to provide lessons that can inform future marine renewable energy siting efforts. Logistically, there were several successful aspects of the siting process. Most participants reported they had at least a fair understanding of the process and felt they had enough information. The most frequently used sources of information about the process came from public meetings and personal communications with process leaders. On average, participants reported they wished they had been more involved in the process, but most participants reported that this less-​than-​desired involvement was due to personal or professional constraints, not the process itself. On average, respondents understood the process and felt heard, but they neither agreed nor disagreed they had an influence on the process. As existing and new uses compete for space in the ocean, more social science research is needed to understand how best to choose sites for new uses. Research about stakeholder engagement in the process of siting marine renewable energy facilities is an emerging field of study, and gaining a better understanding of how to design and implement processes that effectively engage communities in wave energy siting could lead to more successful siting efforts in the future.

Goodwin, Briana
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Marine Resource Management, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
Master of Science