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Stakeholder Engagement Animated Short

Local community engagement is the foundation of a well-planned infrastructure project. It is essential to incorporate relevant stakeholders in all stages of project development to best inform decisions relating project design, financing, and execution and to maximize project outcomes for community members, businesses, lenders, and local governments. 

Watch the CLDP Short below to learn the key aspects of community engagement throughout the project lifecycle. 

  • Investments in local energy projects, like microgrids, can greatly benefit communities by enhancing reliability, resilience, and sustainability of electricity delivery during normal and interrupted grid operations. The latter includes outages caused by natural disasters, human error, equipment failure, etc. Because energy projects affect multiple stakeholders with varying positions, a project’s success and sustainability hinges on proactive engagement with the community.

    Stakeholder engagement is the proactive and ongoing integration of feedback from those impacted by a proposed project. A successful microgrid project needs to prioritize local civic engagement from the outset as community members will be the ultimate end-users or consumers of the electricity. Inclusive consultation with affected communities will increase the visibility and understanding of issues while simultaneously empowering communities to share their input on decisions that may affect their lives, cities, and neighborhoods. Community engagement builds deeper, stronger, and more trusting relationships between public organizations and communities, making it more likely the community will feel satisfied with the microgrid project and willing to collaborate with regulators or developers in the future.

    Integrating stakeholder engagement and collaboration into the planning and development of a microgrid project ensures the investments are:

    • Consistent with a community’s strategic goals and stakeholder interests; and
    • Supported by a broad base of community members.

    From the outset of proposed microgrid projects, there should be a focus on identifying relevant stakeholders, facilitating communication, soliciting input, reaching consensus, incorporating feedback, and addressing priority issues together with stakeholders.

    The first step is to identify the relevant stakeholders. Key stakeholders in community microgrid projects can include:

    • Municipalities
    • Utilities
    • Local Leaders
    • Property Owners
    • Residents
    • Financiers
    • Policy Makers
    • Local non-profits
    • Agricultural cooperatives

    Regulators must then develop information about the proposed microgrid project that can be easily articulated. Materials shared with stakeholders should be informative, readily available, and easy to understand. The communication and outreach strategy will vary based on each respective stakeholder, internet access, cultural differences, etc.

    When convening stakeholders, regulators and developers should seek to understand and address the various regulatory, policy, and operational challenges associated with microgrids. Transparent and inclusive communication will foster trust among parties, even when views and perspectives differ.

    Stakeholder engagement is a fundamental principle for ensuring a microgrid project’s sustainability.  As energy grids across the world modernize, so too does the opportunity for collaboration among key stakeholders, including regulators, utilities, developers, local communities, and advocates.