Invited Session: Energy Recovery
New Community Engagement Techniques to Avoid Costly Delays for EfW (0.5 CEU)
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
14:00 – 14:30
Moderator: Athanasios (Thanos) C. Bourtsalas; Adjunct Professor, Earth & Environmental Engineering, Columbia University; Manager, Earth Engineering Centre/ Global WTERT-Council
America is at the dawn of a new golden age for energy from waste (EfW), but the technology still has an outdated reputation, which could cause widespread public opposition resulting in delays. America needs new, but proven community, engagement techniques to make the most of the new opportunities, potentially saving millions of dollars for U.S. businesses. EfW needs more than a simple PR exercise. To change public attitudes, we must first understand the fundamental human behaviors that are the bases for opposition. Using experience from around the world, both good and bad, this presentation will demonstrate that there is a lot of work that needs to done before developers start talking about specific projects – without which more harm could be done. This presentation will not only explain the reasons for public opposition to EfW on a global scale but, more importantly, it also will show the benefits from an alternative approach to community engagement. The presentation will explain the strategies and three levels of communications needed to gain public acceptance for EfW quickly, including how we delivered of a new EfW plant, without any significant public opposition, in less than nine months.
Delegates will be better able to develop community engagement plans that could not only minimize public opposition to EfW developments, but that could enhance the developers reputation in the process. This could not only save substantial amounts of money, but it may also save considerable time in avoiding delays. The presentation will show some of the Dos and Don'ts for community engagement for new EfW plants, so delegates can avoid mistakes made elsewhere while also picking up on those techniques which have recently been proven to be more beneficial to projects.