We have worked with Mainstream Renewable Power and EDF Energy Renewables to design, deliver and report on the stakeholder engagement for their Neart Na Gaoithe offshore wind farm.
We have worked with them to design innovative solutions to ensure that their Stakeholder Engagement is cost-effective and continues to deliver improved stakeholder relationships. This has played a significant role in reducing the cost and time of pre-application development.
A key element to this work has been to understand the views of local people. At the start of the engagement there was a feeling that opinions about offshore wind and the project would be hostile especially given that most of the early consultation work was delivered in Fife and Angus, an area not renowned for its support of renewable projects. Early traditional community exhibitions supported this presumption but by engaging with a more representative group of the community we were able to understand that support for both offshore wind and the project was very high. (Approximately 70% support compared to 10% who said they opposed to the scheme).
These results have been fed into the project’s political campaign, which has featured meetings with the Secretary of State for Energy and a parliamentary reception at Holyrood. MP, MSPs and local councillors have been engaged at these local events.
Developing relationships with communities through more effective community engagement has meant that the proposals for offshore, onshore and an operations & maintenance base have been progressed with minimal objection from local communities. This work has been undertaken in parallel and aligned to political and media stakeholder work.
The work has engaged many more stakeholders than traditional methods would have. By effectively consulting with the community and key stakeholders ideas and thoughts about the design of the proposal have resulted in changes to the final proposal, which should result in a more effective end product.
We have introduced industry standards for stakeholder engagement to reduce the risk of a legal challenge to the component of the pre-application process.
As well as engaging the public as part of the planning process we have supported the project deliver events in the following areas:
– Supply Chain
– Community Benefit
In total, we have delivered 34 stakeholder engagement events which have been attended by over 3,000 people.
Stakeholder engagement work continues to be delivered now that the project is entering the construction stage.
Chris Whitehead has been project manager and Victoria McCusker has deputised in his absence. Other associates have been used to assist delivering the work.
Similar services have also been provided to Repsol on their Inch Cape offshore wind project.