Once the deal is signed, you should work closely with your press office and the project developer to publicize your success in a controlled, coordinated manner. Lack of communication around what information can be made public can lead to missteps and challenging public relations situations. There are three steps you can take to avoid these types of issues:
Share Your Story
Work with your communication team to determine how you would like to publicize your efforts. Important considerations include the project’s contribution to your city’s goals, claims around additionality or using renewable energy, or additional social/environmental benefits from the PPA. For guidance around making public claims, see the World Resources Institute’s (WRI’s) report, Describing Purchaser Impact in US Voluntary Renewable Energy Markets.
Communicate your needs early on
Take the time to explain your needs to the project developer and identify their key requirements before you start making announcements. Work with their communications team to come up with an announcement strategy and align on messaging.
Coordinate media strategies throughout process
Even after you have agreed on how to communicate your announcement, continue to coordinate on the broader PR strategy and timeline. This will ensure messages from both parties echo one another and that you reach the largest audience. For more insight into best practices on how to communicate your efforts, consider reviewing the City Energy Project’s resources on this topic. While these resources and examples were designed for energy efficiency projects, many of the core principles and tips may also be useful for renewable energy efforts. Clarifying what you can claim:
WRI’s Describing Purchaser Impact in US Voluntary Renewable Energy Markets report provides suggested language to help cities “describe the impact that they are having in terms of energy and GHG reductions.”
Communicating your efforts:
The City Energy Project has a number of tips, case studies, and recommendations about how to work with the media to promote your city’s efforts; these are all available via their website here.
In addition to sharing your story, we highly encourage you to share it with the Accelerator team. We would be happy to help you communicate your success to other cities. Feel free to contact us here.