The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Developing a Wind Farm Support Campaign

Highlighting the facts, benefits and advantages of a wind farm are a crucial part of any developer's portfolio to gain permitting approval for a project. Wind farms can and do provide a cheap, clean, renewable source of power, not to mention the economic boost they distribute to the communities surrounding the projects.

It takes a multitude of initiatives to move opinions and affect change when residents are concerned about their communities. People often latch onto false statements in order to defend what they perceive as the preservation of their lifestyles.

Presenting the facts in a clear, concise and consistent manner is the key to successfully getting a wind farm approved in the U.S. Developers who initiate a multi-pronged campaign will be the ones who are able to construct their projects with the least amount of obstacles.

Coalition-building combined with a media effort and direct, third-party outreach must be done immediately -- these are essential factors to successfully gaining approval of a wind farm permit. Developers must be willing to find ways to build a large, influential group of wind-farm supporters, creating a strong coalition to promote the project’s benefits. This means finding and vetting reliable experts and other possible coalition members, and then presenting their information in an informative, non-confrontational manner.

Supporters can be members of local school boards, chambers of commerce and emergency agencies, as well as officials who run colleges, unions and other economic and/or development councils. Highly placed, well-established leaders of the community are essential to create a strong coalition in support of the project. Business owners are especially important and are often willing to support a project since they may benefit directly from its income generation, especially during construction. Average citizens are also important because they represent mainstream community support for the project.

Supporters should be provided with effective messages and key facts through one-page handouts for them to use, if desired. However, there is no substitute for a committed supporter speaking on behalf of something they believe in passionately, and doing so in their own words. As the coalition grows, it becomes a sizable influence in the permitting process. Its members must be prepared to attend and speak at public hearings, and individual members may also recruit others to join the supporting group. They may also speak on behalf of the project individually with decision-makers with whom they have relationships. Some may write letters to the editor or even opinion columns (op-eds) in local newspapers. All of these actions are typical of active, effective coalitions.

Their support can help public officials see the benefits of a wind project that could generate hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in income during construction and then provide on-going benefits for years afterward. Such messages resonate with nearly every person who might be feeling the pinch of a stalled economy.

When it comes to energy projects, the economy is always a key factor. In the case of wind farms, an economic downturn increases the desirability of the project’s tax revenues, new jobs and other benefits. Many U.S. communities’ education systems have been hit hard by budget cuts, both state and local, so presenting information that displays the benefits of energy development can have a very strong impact.

These facts should be supported by sound data and analysis from experts who are respected in their field, and ideally, in the community where the wind farm will be built. To really drive home the point of an improved economy, an economic study assessing the benefits of the wind farm in its immediate region (and even the entire state) is a powerful tool that can reverberate with officials and residents alike.

With this same data and analysis, direct community outreach can ensure the facts about the project are brought forth so people can understand the benefits. This effort, which should address concerns such as wildlife and noise, can involve open letters or advertorials in local newspapers, a public meeting or open house, a luncheon for the downtown business community, speaking engagements, and recruitment of campus support.

To generate positive media coverage, the campaign should include editorial boards and reporter-desk side briefings about the project, along with op-eds about wind-power benefits. A media kit for the wind farm with any relevant releases and fact sheets is another tangible item that is central to the effort. Newsletters that include as many visuals as necessary to convey agreed-upon information about the wind farm’s development and the industry will also help solidify the messages.

A Web site devoted to the project is especially important. Today, people seek information on the Web so frequently that a project without a Web site is almost viewed as not serious, viable or “real.” It is where everyone from potential supporters to media reporters goes for information, facts and answers to questions. Digital and social media, including Twitter and a Facebook page devoted to the project, are increasingly important.

Finally, a PowerPoint presentation for speaking engagements and a DVD for opinion leaders and political activists who operate in the project’s region can help bring the project’s messages to life. The DVD can be edited to extrapolate short clips that can be forwarded in e-mails, inserted in PowerPoint presentations as streaming video and placed on the project’s Web site.

RELATED ARTICLES

Renewable energy jobs

Global Renewable Energy Employment Surges 18 Percent to 7.7 Million

Andrew Burger, Correspondent Ongoing growth in renewable energy investment and deployment is creating jobs worldwide — and lots of them. This job growth is helping governments address a fundamental economic problem plaguing developed and developing cou...
GE Digital Wind Farm

GE Introduces Digital Wind Farm that Could Boost Production 20 Percent, Re-ignites Alstom Buyout Talk

Meg Cichon, Associate Editor General Electric (GE) is pushing its wind farms to join the big data revolution with its new Digital Wind Farm, announced this week at Windpower 2015 in Orlando, Fla. amidst talk that its $15 billion offer to buy Alstom’s p...
Wind turbine

Bigger Wind Turbine Towers = Bigger US Development Opportunity

Meg Cichon, Associate Editor Wind energy already accounts for about 5 percent of U.S. electricity generation, which crowned the nation as the global leader in wind production late last year. There is now more than 65 gigawatts (GW) of capacit...
Wind turbines

Wind Energy Is Crucial in the Fight Against Climate Change, Says US Energy Secretary

Meg Cichon, Associate Editor

The opening general session at Windpower 2015 marked the first appearance by an U.S. energy secretary at the show, “which is surprising,” said current energy secretary Ernest Moniz, “but better late than never.”

Kim is part of H&K's senior management team with the energy practice in Houston and U.S. public affairs in Washington, DC. She specializes in the energy industry, including oil, natural gas, pipelines and power. Kim’s current focus is to help incr...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in Brazil – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

Brazil is one of the most promising markets for wind energy.  Ranke...

Energy Storage USA 2015

Energy Storage USA is the leading conference in the United States focuse...

Wind Power Central America

Wind power projects are expected to reach 46GW of total installed capaci...

COMPANY BLOGS

SunEdison Expands Residential Market Offerings with New PPA, Sales ...

SunEdison has largely focussed on the commercial and utility-scale solar...

Are You Ready for a Natural Disaster?

Guest post by Jenna Clarke  Living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virg...

Deadline for Inclusion in Solar Power World's Top Solar Contractors...

UPDATE: The official deadline for the Solar Power World T...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS