Check out Al Maiorino’s published articles appearing in numerous industry magazines around the world.
An unexpected victory by President Elect Donald Trump has left many in the renewable energy industry asking how new leadership will impact the industry in the United States. On a national scale, advocacy for a sustainable path forward could easily see a shift in messaging, from emphasis on overall reduction of carbon emissions to jobs and economic growth as a basis for expansion of the industry.
Any renewable company or project manager that has navigated the entitlement process understands that it is a fragile process dotted with uncertainties of local politics and public perception.
Society is currently undergoing a shift in many ways from traditional sources of energy to renewable sources of energy to become more sustainable. Although many positive factors come into play regarding the innovative approaches companies propose for their renewable energy developments, projects can still face substantial opposition and must build public support to counter it.
Newton’s First Law of Physics states that an object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force. In a sense, this foundation can be applied to the inertia of the permitting world for new renewable energy projects.
While development in general is on the rise in many places across the globe due to economic growth, the successful outcome of renewable proposals is not guaranteed everywhere. Recent changes to renewable energy policies in Scotland, for example, are leaving the industry there with a great deal of uncertainty.
Traditionally from the outset, development proposals are not always launched through a formal announcement by the companies that are proposing them. For many renewable companies, informational resources such as an individual project website, social media pages and collateral related specifically to the new project may initially seem excessive.
Exploratory geothermal drilling is underway in several Caribbean countries, generating new excitement for the potential advances that development in the industry could bring.
In the United States alone, wind power supported a record 88,000 jobs at the start of 2016 according to the new U.S. Wind Industry Annual Report released in April by the American Wind and Energy Association.
Bhutan is small a country nestled between India and China that is making big waves for its commitment to sustainability. It currently harnesses the power of wind and hydropower, but Bhutan is looking for even more ways to expand generation of clean energy.
In the proposal process for any new facilities project, a variety of factors must be taken into consideration, ranging from the availability of suitable labor to the cost of relocating or purchasing new equipment. However, one factor that is vital to the success of the project yet is often overlooked is the public perception of the proposed project and corresponding need to build public support.
The city of Bonn, West Germany's former capital, recently was named a leader in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In a study published by the NGO Climate Without Borders, the city's utility company, Stadtwerke Bonn, ranked first among 20 major German municipal utility companies in their responsible use of renewable energies and the efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
With the close of the Paris Conference on Climate Change, a renewed focus has been placed on expanding the usage of renewable energy resources throughout the globe. As 2016 progresses, many political leaders and heads of state have publicly reaffirmed their commitment to this goal.
In 2015, the United States experienced its third city’s attempt to move to 100 percent renewables. Aspen, Colorado, now joins Burlington, Vermont, and Greensburg, Kansas, as the only cities to achieve 100 percent renewable energy generation in the nation. With the precedent set, one can only assume that new cities will aim to catch up in 2016. As demand for new renewable sources continues to increase, companies must use innovative strategies to make outreach to communities and build the public support needed for local officials’ approval of the new projects.
In September, I detailed the reasons why building public support for wind proposals in Lancaster County, Nebraska, should not be a “Plan B.” Just a few short months later, the County Board has adopted tough noise restrictions on wind turbines, reducing the standard noise limit from 50 to 40 decibels of noise during the day. Similarly, in Boone County, Illinois, a setback was applied to turbines, which now must be placed 2,640 feet from a property line. While these noise limits and setbacks are not outright defeats of any specific proposal during its own individual approval process, companies should be cautious of the manner in which these can derail existing and future proposals.
Geothermal energy is expanding as a sustainable power source, but the growing industry is still not without its barriers, even amongst the top geothermal producing countries. One such country, Japan, has grown its geothermal energy production to 520 MW, making it the world’s third largest producer. However, with many projects either conceptualized or underway, various barriers that cause public opposition are still slowing down the country’s geothermal momentum. Companies across the globe can help to secure this industry growth by building public support right from the time of project announcement.
The islands of the Caribbean are not only some of the most popular tourist destinations, but they are also economically and ecologically diverse regions with growing energy needs. The strength of each island’s tourism industry, which comprises a large portion their gross domestic product, is largely supported by the beautiful ecology that attracts visitors to their shores time and time again.
Canada is not only filled with vibrant cities but it also houses vast lands of diversified geography. From its running rivers to its windy hilltops, Canada has substantial natural resources that can be harnessed to produce renewable energy. Canada’s energy portfolio is comprised of approximately 16.9 percent renewable sources and of those renewables, solar is one of the fastest growing sustainable sources in Canada.
Despite the broadening energy portfolios of states and nations across the globe, it is still essential for companies proposing individual renewable energy projects to build public support in order to achieve the approvals they need to proceed.
Al Maiorino, outlines the grassroots strategies that are most effective in countering opposition to nuclear projects. Megaprojects consist of development in a variety of industries, including nuclear, that aim to achieve a particularly ambitious or remarkable scale. Substantial financial investment is usually required to make such projects successful, and they can take years to complete. Due to the tremendous investment involved, megaprojects can also be very risky, as investors and the public may lose a great deal of time and resources if projects do not make it to fruition.
Pennsylvania, with its many blustery ridge tops, is seen as a prime location for wind farms by wind companies themselves as well as advocates for solutions to climate change.
The islands of the Caribbean are not only some of the most popular tourist destinations, but they are also economically and ecologically diverse regions with growing energy needs. The strength of each island’s tourism industry, which comprises a large portion their gross domestic product, is largely supported by the beautiful ecology that attracts visitors to their shores time and time again. However, the power supply across much of the Caribbean is currently generated by expensive and polluting sources, prompting many governments in the region to seek alternative sources of energy as a way to protect the environment that is cherished by visitors and natives alike. By boosting investment in renewable energy, the region can take a two-fold approach to economic development by protecting its ecologically sensitive areas to safeguard tourism, while providing affordable, reliable access to clean energy for its populations.
The current fleet of 5,008 yachts on the water is predicted to grow to to 6,044 by 2020, according to The Superyacht Intelligence Annual Report 2015. With more yachts on the market and a growing demand for up-to-date facilities and services in destinations worldwide, marinas will need to improve and expand upon their infrastructure to keep demand for yachting tourism high in popular cruising grounds. Al Maiorino, president of public affairs fi rm Public Strategy Group, reports on how to garner local support for these developments.
Indonesia is an emerging market that sees its electricity demand increase by about 10 percent per year, and thus the country needs about 6 GW per year in additional generating capacity. Indonesia’s electrification ratio — which is the percentage of Indonesian households that are connected to the nation’s electricity grid — stood at 80.38 percent at the end of 2013, implying that today there are still roughly 50 million Indonesians who lack access to electricity. As Indonesia continues to grow in terms of population and electricity use, the archipelago nation endures high hopes in expanding its geothermal output as a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to coal-fired power plants.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that 2015 is off to a productive start for the solar industry. While reports surface of projects emerging from the depths of permitting authorities’ filing cabinets, others are making a reputable case before officials and communities to approve new projects relatively soon after they are introduced.
With over 350 container terminal proposals with estimated completion dates by the end of 2020, significant growth is projected for the cargo shipping industry in the coming years. However, despite this productive outlook, the risk of public opposition causing delays or cancellations for these new facility or expansion projects remains prevalent.