Communicating Decentralised Renewable Energy to Financiers and Senior Policymakers: A Guide for Campaigners and Non-Governmental Organisations

Source: Climate Outreach

Author(s): George Marshall, Chris Shaw, Jamie Clarke

Year: 2018

Excerpt:

Effective communications requires reflecting and responding to different audiences, and tailoring messaging to the values of each audience.

NGOs and financiers have different values and therefore use different narratives, often with entirely different vocabularies. Policymakers – especially those in government and multilateral development agencies – tend to sit between the two sectors, adopting some of the NGO concerns about social equality but with language that is primarily grounded in business and finance.

There are also differences within stakeholder groups: differences among financiers based on their organisational mandate, and among policymakers depending on their national culture and political systems. All messaging should be designed and tested for specific audiences.

There was no agreed shared definition of DRE, or whether it is “distributed” or “decentralised,” or whether it is on, off, or alongside the grid. Financiers and policymakers assume that effective implementation of DRE will inevitably be a compromise that complements and sometimes runs in parallel to existing centralised and fossil fuel systems. They often criticise NGOs for being too purist and not recognising the value of a mosaic of emerging solutions.

Financiers and policymakers are motivated by maximising growth and revenue first, development second. Financiers are concerned about reaching people in need, but only if there is a strong business case. They welcome additional funding and aid to help them reach “the last mile” but believe this will only ultimately happen at large-scale through free enterprise and market competition.

All audiences are motivated by seeing DRE in situ, by case studies, and by hearing the personal stories of people who have built and funded it – especially the entrepreneurs on the ground.

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