Building sustainable rural Kansas initiatives: assessing community participation in wind energy decision-making

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Granville, Melissa Ann
Ballard-Reisch, Deborah

This study reports on the results of a triangulated inquiry into the processes and outcomes of wind energy decision-making in Kansas. Specifically, key informant interviews were conducted with local stakeholders and decision-makers in three Kansas counties. In the same counties, focus groups were conducted with community members. Finally, state-level stakeholders, including government officials, wind industry representatives and advocacy group representatives were interviewed about their perceptions regarding community collaboration in wind energy decision-making. Data were analyzed using an inductive approach to thematic analysis. Results were discussed in terms of emergent themes within counties or groups and as a result of cross-cutting analyses. Thematic analysis led to the development of a communication grid with axes for consultation and information that impact satisfaction with wind energy decision-making and the sustainability of communities and Kansas‟ wind energy industry. Four paradigms, three actual and one theoretical, emerged from the data and prior research. Implications for sustainable wind development in Kansas are discussed.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Elliot School of Communication