Box Some examples of key messages

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The following texts are examples of messaging used during the 2003-4 campaign to increase the MRET legislation in Australia.

First, an excerpt from a media release that launched an AusWEA report highlighting the economic benefits wind power would bring to the nation:

The Driving Investment, Generating Jobs report launched in Canberra today by the Australian Wind Energy Association shows regional and rural Australia is already reaping significant employment and financial-benefits from wind power. Produced by energy specialist Dr Robert Pas-sey, MSc, PhD, the report reveals setting the MRET at 10 per cent by 2010 would deliver total investment of nearly AU$7 billion including:

• direct capital investment in Australia of AU$5.4 billion;

• additional operation and maintenance expenditure of AU$210 million;

• 3500 additional manufacturing and construction jobs plus 280 additional operation and maintenance jobs ...

The following excerpt is from a media release that launched a report on the price convergence of wind power and conventional coal power. It is titled: 'Wind will challenge the cost of fossil fuels before 2020: Industry demands bigger market for renewables'.

Melbourne: The Australian Wind Energy Association (AusWEA) released a report today which indicates that Australian wind power will rival fossil fuel costs before 2020. However, the Association has stated that this will happen only if the industry is given room to grow through an increase in the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET).

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Source: AusWEA (available at

Figure 5.6 10x10 Briefing, a briefing prepared for the Australian Wind Energy Association by Transition Institute and Rick Maddox

Source: AusWEA (available at

Figure 5.6 10x10 Briefing, a briefing prepared for the Australian Wind Energy Association by Transition Institute and Rick Maddox

Messages to express what we want

Obviously the chosen messages must also contain the 'ask' — the change required to realize the potential of renewable energy. These asks must obviously flow from the policy package being requested. We may have a long list of possible policy requests, the nature of which we have identified in detail earlier in the book.

Yet from this comprehensive policy package we must distil key messages that embody the essence of what will convince decision-makers and stakeholders. In the MRET campaign a detailed package included revised targets, timelines, baselines, phase-ins and penalty prices, which all became 'a 10 per cent target for new renewable energy in 2010'. This in turn became the even more simple '10x10' catchphrase (pronounced 'ten by ten') for the entire campaign.

Continuing with the MRET example, the key messages that we arrived at were as follows:

• Wind power is a low-impact way to help protect future generations from climate change.

• Wind power in Australia is a success — creating jobs, building factories and leveraging billions in investment. (The business sector is behind wind power, there are visible industry and employment outcomes and the governments can claim success.)

• The activity and investment is focused in rural areas. (The delivery is in some important areas where investment and employment are difficult to achieve.)

• Ongoing success depends on MRET being increased.

Note that these messages correlate directly to our target audiences — working people with children at home, the business and finance sector, and people living in rural areas.

It may surprise some that the AusWEA campaign did not excessively focus on climate change — which is the wind industry point of entry. There are two good reasons for this. First, it was already being done by the big national and international environmental groups and second, industry is not the best source for this message. In fact, some surveys in Europe indicate people trust the word of environmental NGOs more than governments, corporations and scientists. Thus companies and industry organizations are clearly not the most credible commentators on environmental or social issues: 'Well they would say that, wouldn't they? It's just so that they make more money.' So, if it is money and economic talk that people expect from industry, and if that is indeed their expertise, then better to talk that talk. Consequently the messages were focused on investment, jobs and factories and the politically important rural locations where this activity was occurring.

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Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable.

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