Date of Award

Fall 2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Policy Studies - (M.S.)

Department

Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Maurie J. Cohen

Second Advisor

Michael P. Bonchonsky

Third Advisor

Gabriela Kutting

Abstract

Community-level resilience in the face of climate change is critical for New Jersey. Through a review of current literature, evidence is provided that a majority of work being done with respect to climate-change planning is taking place at the local level. On the basis of case-study analyses, three community renewable energy projects are examined as well as two policy tools that are helping to facilitate development of local capacity to generate renewable energy. The best elements of these initiatives are extracted and form the basis of a policy discussion intended to encourage local level generation of renewable energy, thereby increasing community resilience.

The five case studies presented can be summarized as follows: (1) In Fintry, Scotland, a local community is receiving financial compensation for hosting a large-scale wind farm; (2) In Brighton, England, a solar cooperative is distributing proceeds from three solar arrays back to investors; (3) In New Jersey, a solar array equipped with backup power capability is allowing a school in Bayonne to continue to function in the event of power grid failure; (4) Also in New Jersey, government-energy aggregation is discussed in terms of its potential to empower municipalities to make more informed and environmentally conscious choices with respect to their aggregated energy purchases; and (5) In Vermont, proposed legislation—in the form of the Vermont Common Assets Trust—places a price tag on the use/extraction of natural resources (renewable or otherwise) with the aim of charging developers for their appropriation.

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