About Us

We believe that businesses, communities and government stand to win much by understanding each other’s fears / concerns / interests and addressing them before decisions are made. Our job is to help this to happen.

Why we do what we do

Each potential project can support or undermine local sustainable development. We need to understand what a community’s sustainable development journey looks like, and from this project designers need briefs that help deliver on this.

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Why we do what we do

What we bring to the table

 

We understand business – we worked in senior management positions, we are entrepreneurs, we know the challenges first hand.

We understand technical and environmental aspects – our senior team are engineers (civil and environmental) and communicators.

We understand that risks are also about perceptions as much as (or sometimes more than) about facts. We address this.

We understand community integrity and its power in shaping the development of a healthy, well rounded project.

We are facilitators and project-co-designers – we're skilled in communication and technical expertise to build bridges and enable proactive partnerships to deliver joint visions. We empower sustainable business, projects and communities.

Our Mission

To cultivate clarity, partnerships and management processes within and between organisations, communities and authorities to make projects that everyone wants.

Our Values

Respect. We respect each other, our clients, our partners and the right of everyone to take part in decisions that affect them.

Clarity. We strive for clear understanding by all stakeholders of current realities, objectives, risks, aspirations and opportunities, in order to enable informed decisions.

Creativity. We work to stimulate creativity in thought and action, with a view to reach common objectives and mobilise required innovations.

Can-do. We believe there are solutions to our shared challenges and we know that together we can realise them.

Our Vision

Organisations, communities, government bodies and individuals are successful through contributing to a prosperous and sustainable society.

Why we do what we do

There are huge potential upsides from changing the way we think about project development. Obviously, projects have to be financially successful and technically feasible. Nowadays, people also put their foot down and say they have to be environmentally compatible. Also, given the increasing challenges facing communities, they benefit from partnering with local sustainable development potential so they can be embraced by all community members.

Smart Engagement does just that: takes the focus away from only the economic and technical aspects of a project to getting the stakeholders involved in their co-design from the beginning. It takes a little more time, so it may cost a little more to start with; but it saves a lot later, and has potential to add much more value – to all involved.

You get a sustainable project, because at the end of the day, your projects’ neighbours are the people who know what they can and want to live with.

Programme Overview

This document gives an overview of the project and some of its key considerations.

The project researched, developed, trailed & critically examined a successful approach* to enable developers and project neighbours to design energy projects wanted by both, through an inclusive and informed decision making process.

Results, guidance and case studies are provided to build confidence in the use of this approach

* Successfully applied to over 20 infrastructure, energy and natural resource projects in 10 countries.

Situation Analysis

When it comes to wind farms in Ireland, there are those who are totally in favour, those who are totally opposed, and many in between. Where do these vastly differing viewpoints come from?

Listening to, understanding and acknowledging the perspectives of neighbours, industry and government enables effective discussions in the decision making process.

Literature Review

Early on in the project, the solutions being offered through the building of a Social License to Operate (SLO) were examined through this literature review. The review digs deep into the opportunities & challenges therein.

The SLO concept is used extensively in the extractive industries. More recently it has been applied to wind farms.

Core to the approach is the examination and addressing of distributional and procedural justice issues as well as potential negative externalities associated with their operations

Guide to earning local support for energy projects in Ireland

While project developers put significant effort into a project’s readiness for finance, a strategic focus on what the project means for local communities is equally important.

This often requires a place where all potentially impacted individuals can find out the full facts of what is being proposed, before a project is designed.

But how can such a process be established? This guide looks at a process to do this.

Local Support Checklist

Experience from projects with potential community impacts – be it renewable energy infrastructure, natural resource developments, tourism or infrastructure – shows that there are some basic steps that a project developer, and a community, ignore at their peril.

This Quick Guide acts as an aid memoire to ensure these steps are taken in time.

Case Studies

Busy people want to see that an approach can deliver before adopting it. Especially an approach that requires some change and significant investment in time and resources.

If other peers in the industry have not tried it out yet and proven it works then this is more so the case. It would be nice if all solutions were de-risked before having to choose them. But being a leader in the field also has its benefits.

A series of projects have been undertaken to help demonstrate and build confidence in the approach outlined in the Guide to design projects wanted by both neighbours and developers.

To focus in on detail, each project demonstrates different combinations of aspects of the Guide.

Some of these case studies are named and are ongoing; others have preferred to remain unnamed for now.

 

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Next steps

Turning current community concerns into strengths through re-imagining how the wind industry designs projects is a great opportunity to significantly improve the earning of local support.

It also has great potential to contribute to another government policy pillar besides that of decarbonisation our economy: namely to meet our sustainable development goals.

To facilitate this, an accelerated process to address the concerns of decision makers so they have the confidence to embrace this opportunity is needed.

This section documents further work and research that will help this happen.