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RENEWPR Energy Case Study

Bringing Carbon Management into the

Mainstream in National Media


At the beginning of 2016, a coalition of companies, industry representatives, labor unions, environmental advocates and nonprofits was looking for additional assistance with targeted media outreach in support of the their advocacy for federal legislation on carbon management. The group, which is now convened by Great Plains Institute and is known as the Carbon Capture Coalition, was interested in engaging key energy trade and business reporters on the issues related to carbon capture technology and the growing support for a tax provision that would boost the industry. They also wanted help managing an ad hoc group of communications and public affairs professionals from the membership to boost the group’s effectiveness in media outreach and engagement. 

GPI hired Ben Finzel for a short-term project that evolved into a year-long project, which was then renewed for 2017 and every year since. Ben developed a three-part program that included: 1) proactive and reactive media relations; 2) a regular voluntary call and email structure to engage interested communications and public affairs staff representing Coalition members; and 3) event support. In the eight years since, Ben has: developed target press lists reflecting the media relationships he helped foster; created an informal spokesperson corps and helped deploy them for media interviews as needed; helped develop press statements and other materials for use in providing coalition perspective on policy developments in Congress; put the Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn and built a following of relevant media, industry influencers and others; and created a close-knit, high-functioning communications team that significantly boosted the Coalition’s ability to engage with media and other key audiences. 

The Coalition is now regularly mentioned in press coverage on carbon capture and related carbon management issues and Coalition spokespersons are now contacted proactively by media working on stories or seeking background to understand the issues involved. Media regularly participate in press briefings and events with Coalition members (which are organized and moderated by Ben), and many are also following the social media accounts Ben set up to promote interest in carbon management technologies generally. The communications working group Ben built meets regularly to share insight and advice, recommend strategies and tactics and plan and conduct joint outreach. As the Coalition’s legislative and regulatory agenda has grown and advanced, the communications program has provided necessary support resulting in extensive targeted press coverage including Coalition members in key outlets. In 2018, the Coalition and RENEWPR won the inaugural Cleanie Award for Best Public Affairs Campaign in recognition of the work they did together in support of the passage of the 45Q tax credit revisions which have revolutionized the industry. In the years since, the Coalition has been integral to building and highlighting support for carbon management in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act and Ben’s work with media has continued to support the Coalition’s efforts and highlight their role in the national conversation.  

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