AN ADVOCACY COALITION FRAMEWORK ANALYSIS OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY IN SOUTH CAROLINA
Bishop, Marines Carolina
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Offshore winds blow considerably harder and more uniformly than on land, and can thus produce higher amounts of electricity. Design, installation, and distribution of an offshore wind farm is more difficult and expensive, but is nevertheless a compelling energy source. With its relatively shallow offshore waters South Carolina has the potential to offer one of the first offshore wind farms in the United States, arguably ideal for wind-farm construction and presenting outstanding potential for the state’s growth and innovation. This study analyzes the policy process involved in the establishment of an offshore wind industry in South Carolina through the use of Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) concepts. The ACF studies policy process by analyzing policy subsystems, understanding that stakeholders motivated by belief systems influence policy subsystem affairs, and recognizing the assembly of these stakeholders into coalitions as the best way to simplify the analysis. The study interviewed and analyzed responses from stakeholders involved to different but significant degrees with South Carolina offshore wind industry development, allowing for their categorization into coalitions. Responses and discussion analysis through the implementation of ACF concepts revealed, among other observations, direct relationships of opinions to stakeholder’s belief systems. Most stakeholders agreed that a potential for positive outputs is real and substantial, but differed in opinion when discussing challenges for offshore wind development in South Carolina. The study importantly considers policy subsystem implications at national and regional levels, underlining the importance of learning from other offshore wind markets and policy arenas worldwide. In this sense, this study’s discussions and conclusions are a step towards the right direction.