This report examines stakeholder perceptions of offshore wind energy in Humboldt County, California. Local interest in offshore wind energy has skyrocketed in recent years due to improvements in technology, consumer and investor confidence, combined with increased interest in low-carbon energy sources and quantification of offshore wind resources. A successful project on the West Coast of the United States must not only overcome economic and technology challenges, but it must also successfully work with local communities and government agencies to address concerns, impacts, and potential community benefits. This study aims to identify stakeholder perceptions of offshore wind energy development in Humboldt County including: potential benefits and benefits agreements, development concerns, and perceptions of the development process so far. The project team conducted 41 interviews with stakeholders between May 2018 and January 2020, and it also observed 14 public meetings and two industry conferences. The 41 interviews included stakeholders from the energy industry (5), local governments (8), environmental groups (11), fishermen1 (13), and labor/business (4). The project team attended two tribal meetings in February 2020, with government leaders and staff from 10 regional tribal nations to present preliminary results of the team’s research and obtain tribal input and preference for ongoing engagement with researchers on this topic. Stakeholder Perceptions Thirty out of 41 stakeholders cited emissions reductions or climate change as a direct benefit of proposed offshore wind energy generation in Humboldt County. Stakeholders felt that the project could be an opportunity to move away from fossil fuels, pursue more renewable energy locally, and work to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. The second most cited benefit of offshore wind energy generation (24 out of 41) was jobs and economic benefits. Stakeholders said that offshore wind would represent a new industry that could offer a perhaps more sustainable workforce that would benefit the county as a whole. Similarly, 16 out of 41 stakeholders (including five fishermen) cited potential port infrastructure upgrades as a benefit to the project. Finally, 20 out of 41 stakeholders cited energy independence and local control as a benefit. One environmental group representative said that they “really like local control” and “think that people who live and work and are based in that community…have more of a stake in the community’s well-being” (environmental group stakeholder interview, 2018). At meetings with the research team, tribal leaders and staff expressed interest in further feasibility information, and a desire for greater understanding regarding possible community benefits. Tribes expressed support for economic development potential, including workforce development for tribal members, particularly if the industry could be developed with more widespread regional economic and social benefit. The most common project concerns expressed by stakeholders were impacts to the environment and the local fishing industry. Thirty-five out of 41 stakeholders, including all government and environmental group stakeholders along with several fishermen and members other interest groups, mentioned either impacts to the environment in general or specifically to birds, fish or mammals. In addition, 32 out of 41 stakeholders were concerned about the impacts of offshore wind to the local Humboldt County commercial fishing fleet. Fishing fleet concerns included the ability to access fishing grounds and the Humboldt Bay channel, loss of fishing grounds, and increased ocean hazards with the installation of new offshore floating wind turbines. Concerns about the impact to the local fishing industry came up in every fishing and wind industry interview. Notably, only 13 stakeholders discussed the visual impacts of offshore wind and, out of that, only five stakeholders mentioned it as a concern. In meetings and public documents to date, tribal representatives have expressed a need for renewable energy but also several concerns that include the religious and cultural importance of the ocean and viewshed; effects on tribal resources and the environment; confidentiality and thoroughness of data collection; and long-term impacts for future generations, among others (Gates, 2017). Development Process This study also captured information about stakeholders’ perceptions of the development process as they had experienced it so far. Themes related to the process included stakeholders’ access to information, stakeholders being able to trust developer or government information, and stakeholders being able to follow and understand a fast-moving and highly complicated development process. Fourteen stakeholders expressed a belief that the BOEM leasing process lacked transparency and commented that they were distrustful of either the process itself or the entities involved. When describing an ideal development process during interviews, many stakeholders expressed a preference for a process that is open and transparent, accessible to the public, and community-based. The ability to work directly in the process, and to trust that input is being heard and addressed, are key attributes that stakeholders interviewed said they value. In meetings and public comments, tribal representatives expressed concerns about the development and consultation process to date, with several comments suggesting that the government consultation with tribes to date had not been adequate, and another comment suggesting the process had been adequate, but would be far more useful and productive with more factual information to review. Conclusion Understanding stakeholder perceptions of offshore wind energy is key to a successful development process. Having accessible knowledge of what stakeholders consider to be the benefits (including climate change mitigation and port development in this case) and of what they are concerned about (including environmental impacts and impacts to the fishing fleet), can be utilized by government agencies and developers to design a project and process that responds and adapts to community needs. Information about stakeholder values and needs can also be used to facilitate the development of a more equitable project where respective costs and benefits are more evenly distributed among various groups. Additionally, gaining information about perceptions of the process can help agencies, developers, and planners design a process with the best chance for success.