DIALOG WITH THE COMMUNITY
The dialog with the surrounding community is an integral part of our business activity. We carry on discussions and meetings with the local stakeholders during all the phases of a Wind Farm, to learn about their concerns and to define the best way to address them. It is also a means to communicate some of EDPR’s core values to the local community.
WHILE LOOKING FOR SUITABLE AREAS FOR OUR WINDFARM
We believe that the selection of the most suitable sites to initiate the construction of a wind farm should take into account people and communities.
The Moray Firth Offshore Wind project, in Edinburgh the UK, has brought a complete new set of communications challenges. Conventional infrastructure projects typically have an impact that is limited to only a few communities; the Moray Offshore Wind project, although more than 20km from shore, has 20 towns and many more villages who can claim to be our nearest neighbors, spread over a coastline of more than 300km. Additionally, those who use the sea for fishing, sailing, commercial navigation, and oil and gas, all have a direct interest in the proposals.
In order to cope with these challenges, we have initiated a public Consultation exhibitions in the UK, visiting over 12 towns in the area to attend the needs of the community.
DURING THE CONSTRUCTION OF OUR WIND FARMS
During the construction of its largest wind farm in Brazil and in partnership with Instituto EDP in Portugal, EDPR has performed different actions in order to raise the awareness of the local community around Tramandaí, in the south of Brazil. Several local information meetings were carried out in elderly association facilities for the purpose of making the company and its activities known, as well as the progress of the project. These included visits to the facilities under construction. The aim of this communication is to develop a bond of confidence between EDPR and the local community of Tramandaí, through the explanation of the direct and indirect benefits that this wind farm will provide for the community, and the analysis of the feedback received from the community regarding their questions and concerns.
These dialogs intend also to ensure the safety of the inhabitants of the region during the construction of the facilities, taking special care of the children, who could approach the work areas and be vulnerable to accidents.
Moreover, we visited a municipal school close to Tramandaí area, where several initiatives were performed, namely a biodiversity quiz that taught children about the natural species of the area and workshops where children were encouraged to build toys with recycled material (ex. pet bottles) to build a Christmas presents for their schoolmates and for the elderly of a local nursing home.
Through these actions, we achieved to transmit the values of Solidarity and ecological Consciousness to the young generation.
“Developing wind farms and educating communities, stakeholders, politicians and media about the benefits of renewable energy is a large part of our responsibility.”
DURING THE OPERATION OF OUR WIND FARMS
In Poland, we have performed many initiatives to ensure a transparent dialog with the surrounding community of the Margonin wind farm, currently in operation. During 2010, a bulletin was issued to inform the inhabitants of Margonin about wind power: characteristics and benefits.
In addition, EDPR team in poland, visited the surrounding schools in Margonin to show children how important wind is to the human being, and what can make wind for us. Children were also taught in practices to save energy, to educate them about how important energy is, how to produce it, and how not to contaminate the environment.
All activities were organized within the subject “What wind can do for us”. team games and quizzes about environmental protection and renewable energy were prepared to engage children while learning about wind energy.
In North America, in the surrounding area of the Blue Canyon wind farm the Earth Day has become an annual event were schools are invited to visit the company facilities and learn about wind power through an electrical safety magic show, a hands-on anemometer project, a recycling relay and a coloring contest.