THE
CASE
STUDIES

Smart Engagement
Delivering on the
Ground

Busy people want to see that an approach can deliver before adopting it. Especially an approach that requires some change.

If 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 from an innovation perspective before having to choose them. But significantly improving how local support is earned requires being a leader in the field – and this also has its benefits. The good news is, peers have tried out various aspects of the solutions and proven they work in Ireland. Projects that had their met masts cut down and their permits refused were redesigned in partnership with near neighbours and received their planning permission. This was still only a limited part of the approach. Overseas, the whole approach has been proven to work, not just for the near-neighbours and the developers, but for the whole host community as well.

To further develop and demonstrate the success in Ireland, a series of projects have been undertaken as part of this programme to build confidence in the approach to design projects wanted by both neighbours and developers outlined in the Guide. These experiences are reported on below.

Experience from other projects that prefer not to be named for now is also added as appropriate.

The named projects below demonstrate early-stage engagement. This provides the empowering building blocks that enable the creation of win-win projects.

These case studies are being added to during summer 2021.

The Flensburg Team in Carrigaholt

TAKING
THE LEAP

Connect with the
energy (r)evolution

LEAP is the Loop Head Energy Action Partnership. The name and the acronym were chosen in a community brainstorming. It reflects a first consensus that the three parishes of the Loop Head Peninsula would mutually benefit by cooperating to examine the pros and cons of addressing the supply and demand of energy on the Peninsula.

LEAP was catalysed through the creation of a partnership with the International Class of the Flensburg University, Germany. Flensburg had been working with communities in Scotland for the previous 20 years. In January 2020, fifteen postgraduates together with four of the university staff came to Ireland, to the Loop Head Peninsula for a five-week intensive experience of applying their energy knowledge to the needs to the communities on the peninsula.

LEAP was initiated to research, develop and demonstrate a process to involve a wide cross-section of community members in the conversation about how best to understand and undertake the energy transition. It helped develop the Guide in Section 4 of this programme that is applicable to any renewable energy project in Ireland. It demonstrates the challenges and opportunities of grass roots driven energy action and shows how a little bit of facilitation can go a long way.

LEAP International Class Report 1: A leap towards energy sustainability for communities on the Loop Head Peninsula
This report was compiled from research during February 2020 by the post graduate students of the International Class of the Flensburg University’s energy & development programme with help from partners within the Loop Head Energy Action Partnership (LEAP).
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LEAP International Class Report 2: Exploring sustainable energy options for Loop Head
Please use the buttons below to read or give feedback / ask questions on the 2021 report prepared as part of LEAP by the Flensburg international team.
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Grassroots-driven energy action: how a team of renewable energy researchers earned support for their project through Smart Engagement
Full text coming during summer 2021.
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Understanding where our energy comes from
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Building capacity for engagement on renewable energy: an 8-week Community energy course
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How a small-scale 5-week community energy research project sparked a peninsula-wide development strategy
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Loop Head

ADDRESSING
THE MAIN
QUESTIONS

Earning Local
Support through
Protecting and
Building Local Value

LT is Loop Head Together. It was created within this programme to address the need that LEAP made evident: that in order to examine the role of any energy project in the local sustainable development, then there needs to be a larger, wider conversation about where energy fits in with all the other aspects of local sustainable development.

This set of case studies digs deeper into the formation of:

  • a community sustainable development vision,

  • a community-based multi-stakeholder forum to co-design projects,

  • participatory project assessments,

  • frameworks to address challenges, fears and aspirations, and

  • partnerships for the Just Transition.

They also show aspects of the preparation communities need to undertake to be in a position to partner to host large infrastructure projects; and by so doing shows developers what level of meaningful stakeholder and community engagement is needed before a project gets designed.

The Loop Head Peninsula Regional Development Strategy
Community development is often seen as a ‘soft term’. On the Loop Head peninsula it is not. It is part of the core business to ensure a great place to be today; and a wonderful place to be also for the next generation. In 2020, with the news being dominated by Covid, many in the Loop Head communities asked a simple question: ‘when all agenda’s are put to one side, and we identify the one key issue that we all feel needs to be addressed urgently today – what is it? The answer, and the strategy to address it are captured in the Loop Head Peninsula’s Regional Development Strategy (LRDS).
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An integrated approach to renewable energy projects: why starting at the bigger picture of what sustainable community development means is paramount for earning local support
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Community preparation: agreeing a common vision and supporting goals
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Activating the path to get there: creating a community development plan
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Resources to help with community preparation: a partnership with LEADERS
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Steps to create a representative community-based partnership
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Mind the gap

SUSTAINABLE
LEADERSHIP

Delivering a Design
Wanted by All

CFOAT - Comharchumann Fuinnimh Oileáin Áran Teo - is the Aran Islands’ Energy Coop. The CFOAT case study was undertaken to demonstrate and examine the initial engagement a developer needs to do at a local level if a project is to be co-designed successfully in a way that builds local support. It also highlighted the reality that even if the developer was a subsection of the community – the extreme pro-community situation –  they were still a developer advocating significant change in the area, and so needed to advance their engagement in a systematic and structured way so that the rest of the community felt that their voice was being heard. This highlights the increased importance of Stage 1 engagement (Figure 13 of the Guide) for developers that come from outside the (potential) host community.

This set of case studies digs deeper into:

  • a developer’s ESG / CSR vision,

  • a developer’s role in a community-based multi-stakeholder forum to co-design projects,

  • a developer – community partnership for participatory project assessments,

  • frameworks to address challenges, fears and aspirations, and

  • partnerships for the Just Transition.

They also show aspects of the preparation developer’s need to undertake to be in a position to partner to roll-out locally supported infrastructure projects; and by so doing helps developers prepare for the level of meaningful stakeholder and community engagement needed before a project gets designed.

"There is an energy resource": How to initiate a project to set yourself for success
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You want successful projects? Pursue a shared Vision
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Talk risks first and benefits last: 4 steps for successful stakeholder engagement
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A top quality a leader must have in 2021: being a Smart Engager
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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.

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.