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The New Jersey Institute of Technology's
Electronic Theses & Dissertations Project

Title: The winds of change: the political ecology of renewable energy transition in Vermont
Author: Clegg, Jill McNulty
View Online: njit-etd2014-028
(x, 98 pages ~ 2.2 MB pdf)
Department: Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science
Degree: Master of Science
Program: Environmental and Sustainability Policy
Document Type: Thesis
Advisory Committee: Cohen, Maurie J. (Committee chair)
Bonchonsky, Michael P. (Committee member)
Kutting, Gabriela (Committee member)
Date: 2014-01
Keywords: Renewable energy transition
Availability: Unrestricted

This research presents a case study of renewable energy transition (RET) in Vermont, illustrated by a recently completed commercial wind project in the Lowell Mountains. Preliminary analysis maps out the current political landscape of Vermont’s RET – its stakeholders, political climate, and important policy advances. Subsequent analysis focuses on the relationship between RET and the unique aspects of Vermont’s institutions, culture, and communities. Important elements of this analysis include the ways that community groups form a vital link between citizens and the State, the unique opportunities and challenges presented by Vermont’s pastoral land perception and activist heritage, and the way that community support is contingent on broadly defined, transparent, democratically structured community participation. This research concludes by arguing that future RET efforts would benefit from considering similar institutional, cultural and community concerns; from developing more collaborative community models (including community ownership); and from fostering a sense of collective responsibility and participation in both local and regional initiatives.

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