Date of Graduation

5-2017

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Environmental Studies

Number of Pages

62

First Advisor

Sonja Pieck

Abstract

This thesis looks at a wind farm that was proposed to be built between 2010-2015 in Carroll Plantation in Penobscot County, Maine. At a local level there was a lot of opposition towards this project, particularly by those with interests in the tourist industry in the region. My research was aimed at understanding why people were in such strong opposition to the Bowers Mountain project. I looked at how people affected by the Bowers Mountain project understood their rural economy, particularly within the categories of rural production, such as logging, agriculture, or mining, or rural consumption, such as amenity-based industries, such as tourism. In the literature, rural production and rural consumption are presented a binary, employed to understand the uses of rural spaces. I argue that with the introduction of wind power technologies to these rural spaces, the dichotomy becomes confused, as wind production is not able to be understood in either category. Wind power, in the Bowers Mountain project, is described as being an intrusion on or in conflict with the “rural idyll,” with implications that wind power is an industry and machinery that is something of the city, not the country. My argument is that understandings of the rural production and rural consumption binary fails to properly assess the position of wind power in rural spaces, confusing local communities over the issue of what the rural should and does look like. I suggest that the framework of the multifunctional working forest, in which rural production and consumption exist in conjunction, could serve as a model for the integration of wind power into more traditional systems of production and consumption, such as in the Downeast Lakes region. For now, this framework only works within traditional land uses, such as forestry as production and tourism and conservation as consumption. In order for wind to fit into this framework, the understandings of rural production and consumption would need to be broadened.

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