Accepted Paper:

Defining risk through stakeholder engagement during the tidal power site selection process in the Cobscook Bay, Maine  


Emma Andrews (Univserity of New Brunswick Fredericton )

Paper short abstract:

ORPC gained near unanimous stakeholder support for their tidal project due to a new engagement framework centered on community investment; transparency; accepting local knowledge; and a vow to mitigate risk to the fisheries and the environment. This method could improve development project outcomes.

Paper long abstract:

One of the first topics to be addressed when proposing sustainable development projects is location. The site selection process can either make or break potential developments based primarily on how proponents engage with stakeholders. The introduction of tidal power generators into the ocean landscape creates debates about how to protect other stakeholders and their values. Given the success that the Ocean Renewable Power Company's (ORPC) TidGen® Power System project had in securing positive stakeholder engagement during the site selection process, I conducted an extensive examination how ORPC was able to garner such support. ORPC developed a new and unique engagement framework to the site selection process that has not been replicated by other tidal power development companies in the Bay of Fundy Region. ORPC's framework centered around long term community courting and investment strategies; high local employment rates; transparent and frequent stakeholder meetings; the desire for and acceptance of local or traditional knowledge; and a clearly stated commitment to reducing and mitigating environmental risk as well as risk pertaining to the fisheries. By engaging with stakeholders in these ways ORPC was able to select a site that had virtually unanimous stakeholder support. This is significant when compared to the less favourable results of Halcyon Tidal Power's stakeholder engagement during the Pennamaquan Project or the Cape Sharp Tidal project in Nova Scotia. The ORPC stakeholder engagement framework represents a new model that if adopted by other sustainable development companies could radically improve future project outcomes.

Panel LL-AS08
Values and risk: the politics of knowledge in the living marine oceanscapes