Fish, finances, and feasibility: Concerns about tidal energy development in the United States
This article explores stakeholder views on tidal energy in the state of Washington. Through compiling and analyzing three qualitative datasets, we take a triangulated approach to better understand stakeholders’ positive and negative views, concerns, and needs regarding tidal energy and if and how these are represented through print and online news sources. We analyzed comments submitted during the permitting process for the Admiralty Inlet Pilot Tidal Project, comments included as part of a tidal energy mail survey sent to Washington residents, and media articles about tidal energy. We found four types of concern themes within negative views towards tidal energy: environmental, social, economic, and technical. Shared concerns between organized stakeholder groups and resident stakeholders about the project and tidal energy in general included concerns related to the harm to marine life, the loss of native fishing rights, expensiveness of development, increased electricity costs, and the engineering challenge of developing tidal energy. Concerns unique to stakeholder groups for the project included threats from scaling up, issues related to public safety and security, damage to cables, inability to stop the turbine, harm to terrestrial flora, and sediment disruption and contamination. Positive views were commonly associated with the need to address environmental issues, technological innovation and leadership, desire to have a diverse energy portfolio, and economic benefits.