Reviewing Mechanisms for Stakeholder Engagement With Local Governments During Offshore Wind Development

Barrett, R. Graham

As new markets open to offshore wind (OSW) development, it is vital that OSW developers have the best possible resources to conduct successful stakeholder engagement activities with the governments of the local communities in proximity to their projects. This report is an examination of the mechanisms provided by national governments to help facilitate stakeholder engagement and cooperation between developers and local governments. The report examines two case studies, one from Scotland, and one from the United States, to show how different nations have approached this issue. In Scotland, the national government’s mechanism is a government publication, “Good Practice Principles for Community Benefits from Offshore Renewable Energy Developments”, which provides a framework for developers to use when they voluntarily create and offer community benefits packages to local communities. In the United States, the mechanism is the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) permitting process, which includes two features, the Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Forces, and the public comment periods, which provide opportunities for stakeholders to influence developers’ plans and the benefits that developers could provide to local communities. By reviewing the stakeholder engagement mechanisms from these two case studies, several of their features stand out and are useful for developers to use in their own stakeholder engagement work. It is recommended that developers begin stakeholder engagement as early as possible, that they voluntarily offer community benefit packages to affected stakeholders, and that they invite local government officials to participate in the process and offer feedback on how projects impact their communities.

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