Renewable Energy Communications in a New Age
One week ago, I had the opportunity to moderate a renewable energy communications panel at Renewable Energy Markets 2017 in New York City. Thanks to the contributions of three exceedingly wise panelists, it was a terrific, engaging conversation. Joining me on the panel on Monday, October 23rd were Kate Colarulli of CleanChoice Energy, Daniel Whitten of SEIA and Dan Reicher of Stanford.
Our conversation touched on the challenges of communicating about renewable energy in the wake of the 2016 elections and the impact of the Paris Agreement decision, the DOE “resiliency” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at FERC and the EPA actions on the Clean Air Act among other topics.
Here are a few of the big takeaways from our conversation:
Renewables are bipartisan and old assumptions about support for renewables being one-sided are wrong. For example, Republicans like solar and growth in solar programs is strong in “red” states.
Although you must always understand which audience you’re talking with, in general, the economic benefits of renewables make for good messaging. Stressing jobs and economic growth are helpful, but you must also make the business case for renewables.
In targeting consumers, the challenge is to make signing-up/buying-in easy and convenient. If it’s difficult to understand or just to do, participation and interest drops. An additional challenge for this audience is “bringing it home to the consumer” by underscoring how “real” the industry is in terms of breadth, scope and impact. Consumers aren’t convinced unless they think the technology is real.
And here are a few organizations cited as useful resources for renewable energy information by the panelists:
American Council on Renewable Energy: www.acore.org
Alliance to Save Energy: www.ase.org
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: www.lbl.gov
Vote Solar: www.votesolar.org
Rocky Mountain Institute: www.rmi.org
Coalition for Community Solar Access: www.communitysolaraccess.org
GRID Alternatives: www.gridalternatives.org
Thanks again to Kate, Daniel and Dan for a fantastic conversation. For more information on the discussion, drop me a line or give me a call. And check RENEWPR out on Twitter and Facebook for more on the conference.