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IEA Study Offers Best Practices for Renewable Energy Communication

IEA9 April 2013: The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a scoping study aimed to inform policy makers, decision makers, and other stakeholders on "Communication Best-Practices for Renewable Energy (RE-COMMUNICATE)." The study, conducted under IEA's Implementing Agreement on Renewable Energy Technology Deployment (IEA-RETD), concludes that targeted, effective renewable energy communications can be achieved via more consistent, holistic and rigorous approaches to pre- and post-campaign development.

The study examines 15 case studies of renewable energy communications strategies from government, the private sector, and civil society. The majority of cases were found to lack rigorous, well-planned and adequately evaluated communications strategies.

Based on a review of best practices of the communication industry and literature, the study identifies options for improving on these cases, ranging from the initial stages of partnering and financing through later stages of evaluation and proactive response to negative media coverage. Altogether, the report specifies ten best practices, including: pre-campaign research that builds in-depth understanding of target audiences; precise objectives that raise awareness and convince specific groups; and campaign creatives that generate compelling and memorable stories.

The study recommends further improvements on industry best practices through the preparation, execution and evaluation of communications specific to the renewable energy sector. Key recommendations include: partnering and pooling of resources to increase funding for communication campaigns; pre-campaign research designed to better understand public opinion of renewable energy; application of behavior economics to raise awareness, influence attitudes, and change behaviors; and innovative and emotive communications to elicit more positive responses.

The RE-COMMUNICATE project also included two stakeholder workshops, the results of which were fed into the report. IEA produced the scoping study in collaboration with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Green Budget Germany (FÖS) and Collings & Monney Renewable Energy Marketing Agency. [IEA Press Release] [Publication: RE-COMMUNICATE: Communication Best-Practices for Renewable Energy– Scoping Study] [RE-COMMUNICATE Workshop 1 Presentations and Minutes] [RE-COMMUNICATE Workshop 2 Presentations and Minutes]