NCCOS researchers are using survey data to assess the social values and opinions of coastal residents in North and South Carolina, both for and against offshore energy development. The research addresses information gaps concerning the perceived effect of offshore wind energy development on coastal communities. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will use the data to inform decisions about offshore wind energy areas.
To help conduct the survey, the NCCOS team, led by Dr. Theresa Goedeke, enlisted the renowned Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina. The Odum Institute used a randomly sampled household mail-based survey to collect information about residents’ attitudes, beliefs, and values related to marine and coastal landscapes, alternative energy options, and offshore wind energy development.
The study included portions of Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover, and Pender counties in North Carolina, and Horry County in South Carolina. The researchers selected the Carolina coast because BOEM has identified three Wind Energy Areas off of North Carolina’s coast and four Call Areas off of South Carolina for potential wind energy development.
The final survey report will be provided to BOEM in late spring of 2019. The assessment is expected to enrich BOEM and NOAA’s understanding of the likelihood of community action to support or oppose renewable energy projects, including offshore wind energy.