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ACCIONA Energía Enhances Social Licence for Wind Farm Projects by Centralising Management of All Stakeholder Relationships in Consultation Manager

ACCIONA Energía, the world’s largest renewable energy company without a fossil fuel legacy, develops, builds and owns renewable energy assets in Australia. They collaborate with communities to produce sustainable energy, create jobs, and contribute to establishing Australia’s low-carbon economy. The company’s Community and Stakeholder Engagement team in Australia relies on Consultation Manager as a single source of truth to track stakeholder interactions to foster better community relations.


Key Highlights:

Centralised information on nearly 9,000 stakeholders
Relationships with 9,000 stakeholders about dozens of projects across Australia have been tracked.
Over 12,000 events and interactions captured
42 Consultation Manager users have captured stakeholder interactions and events for 8 years.
Automated, custom reports streamline compliance
Automated reports streamline regulatory reporting to help keep renewable energy projects on track.

About ACCIONA Energía

ACCIONA Energía, the world’s largest 100% renewable energy company without a fossil fuel legacy, has been operating in Australia for over two decades. Their unique ‘build, own and operate’ model demonstrates a long term commitment to the regions where they work. 

ACCIONA Energía’s long-standing use of Consultation Manager, with records dating back to 2009, is a testament to the company’s early recognition of the need for a stakeholder relationship management (SRM) platform. This commitment to centralising information and managing stakeholder data underscores ACCIONA Energía’s proactive approach to stakeholder management and community engagement.

Erin Mulquiny, Community Benefits Lead at ACCIONA Energía shared with us the key elements for the organisation’s success in building its social licence. She also explained how the team is using Consultation Manager as a single source of truth to help foster trust and build stronger community relations.  

The Goal

Protecting ACCIONA Energía’s social licence to keep renewable energy projects on track.

Fostering healthy communication and building goodwill with a large ecosystem of interconnected stakeholders is not always easy, but a key element of gaining and maintaining social licence with project communities. Erin explained the critical importance of social licence to keeping projects on track.

“It’s essential that we work with communities when developing projects to achieve positive outcomes. Achieving social licence is a very important part of the overall project success and ACCIONA Energía are very aware of the risks low social licence pose to not only individual projects, but the renewable energy transition as a whole.

Without a robust SRM system in place, there are significant risks to any major infrastructure project, including miscommunication, overlooked compliance issues, and costly delays. Organisations can struggle to capture community interactions, track complaints, and confirm resolution. If stakeholder data is scattered in email inboxes, paper notes, and dispersed spreadsheets, reporting can be challenging. Historical, regional, and institutional knowledge can be lost when a team member leaves, potentially resulting in a lack of continuity with community members who typically reside in their area for decades and sometimes generations. It’s easy to see how the risk of upsetting people and losing trust can increase when relationships are not managed with long-term continuity in mind.

“Imagine approaching a stakeholder who’s quite upset and has potentially dealt with someone previously,” Erin contemplated performing her role without access to Consultation Manager. “We would be going in completely blind to that interaction. This doesn’t just apply to local residents but also our engagement with our landowners, who will typically be hosting our turbines for 25 to 30 years.”

By maintaining comprehensive and accessible records, ACCIONA Energía is successfully mitigating these risks, ensuring that all stakeholder interactions are documented and that the company remains transparent and compliant. The Community and Stakeholder Engagement team relies on Consultation Manager to centralise its stakeholder relationship management activities, monitor complaints, ensure timely response, and streamline internal and regulatory reporting, significantly enhancing operations. ACCIONA Energía’s strategic decision to adopt Consultation Manager nearly a decade ago has proven to be worthwhile.

“All the information I need is stored in Consultation Manager. That’s really important for the team because we have an ongoing relationship with all of those landowners. So if there is a change in staff, the history is stored in there, and we can see everything that’s going on with those people. It just gives us in-depth insight into any previous engagement with that community. Consultation Manager has been there from that get-go point and has been used by the community team and operations team in a way that we have those interactions in there, potentially for the duration of the entire project.”

The Approach

Regional regulatory knowledge and local engagement supported by a centralised stakeholder relationship management platform that serves as a single source of truth.

ACCIONA Energía strives for continuous success by having the right local representatives in place who are well-versed in state regulations and proactive in managing stakeholder relationships. This regional approach enables the timely resolution of community concerns before they escalate.

With access to Consultation Manager anywhere, local representatives can easily track interactions in the field, monitor changing sentiment, and look up historical information, arming them with knowledge of prior activities, events, and people’s opinions in the community. The platform is an important tool that empowers local representatives to engage effectively and improve trust with stakeholders.

“I have to go out to these communities and know what’s going on. The ability to be able to jump on Consultation Manager and look at the history for the project, it’s just completely invaluable,” shared Erin. “It’s all about an individual relationship with that person you’re talking to in the community. If you look like you don’t know what’s going on or don’t know the history of previous engagements, you’re very unlikely to build trust with that person, and it’s very unlikely that they’re going to be willing to engage with you. Whereas if you do that quick search on Consultation Manager beforehand, you’re in a much better position.” 

For ACCIONA Energía, success also means informing the community. Local representatives are acutely aware of some negative attitudes towards renewables and recognise that their projects may not always be met with enthusiasm by every stakeholder. Sometimes, the goal is to inform and educate, while demonstrating that ACCIONA Energía is committed to doing the right thing for the community.

Easy and convenient data capture with inbound email functionality.

ACCIONA Energía has also leveraged Consultation Manager’s inbound email function to streamline their process. This feature allows users to log emails without worrying about data entry, saving significant time and ensuring continuous data capture. Erin expressed her appreciation for Consultation Manager’s convenient BCC email function.

“I love the fact that you can just BCC the project inbox and it just all gets stored in there. I’ve had to do that manually before using a different provider where I previously worked. It was really hard to use the email add-on feature that they had. Emails had to be attached in Outlook, there was a pop up, and the process was really clunky. Consultation Manager’s email capture is really good. And, if I’m busy, I can go back and categorise emails later, which is really convenient.

Internal reporting streamlined on a global scale.

Currently, 42 staff are actively using Consultation Manager to manage relationships with thousands of stakeholders across Australia. To empower local ACCIONA Energía representatives, state-level lead roles are assigned in the platform, with stakeholders categorised by state and project. Team leads are then responsible for reporting on those states across local projects. This approach allows ACCIONA Energía to assign varying levels of access to individuals based on privacy needs, ensuring the security of sensitive data. 

ACCIONA Energía’s Australian team must report back to its head office in Spain on their progress surrounding projects. By logging into Consultation Manager, the team can easily generate the necessary reports, simplifying the reporting process and saving time.

“Being able to pull those reports from Consultation Manager is really key to making that process easy,” shared Erin. “Otherwise, I don’t know how we would do it. We don’t have a standardised spreadsheet that people would use, and it would just be a mess. Consultation Manager reduces the risk and it also reduces the amount of time that we spend thinking about that. We’re travelling all the time. So, some weeks we have very limited desk time. I couldn’t imagine doing the reports without Consultation Manager.”

Access to an engagement history also enables staff to review past communications with stakeholder groups at any time. This ensures the team is informed to make better decisions about which stakeholder groups to prioritise and the history on prior engagements, regardless of any change in staff through the years.

“It gives us that insight into our stakeholders, and when staff change happens, if you go into another state for a while, whatever happens, you’ve got that source of truth,” said Erin, reassured. “Having that source of truth of any engagement history is fundamental to building trust with any and all of our stakeholders.”

Real-time dashboards and streamlined regulatory reporting demonstrate compliance.

By having all stakeholder data in one centralised location, it allows the team to accurately report on the number of people engaged, emails sent, event incidents, and information sessions held for all of their projects. Live dashboards and automated reporting assists the operations team in distinguishing between every type of interaction they’re having with landowners. 

ACCIONA Energía staff have access to a comprehensive overview of each project’s progress for regulatory reporting. The use of Consultation Manager is reducing legal risks by providing thorough and reliable documentation of their engagement efforts, including EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) and EES (Environmental Effects Statement) reporting. For instance, if the government is interested in the extent of their community engagement or requests specific details, ACCIONA Energía can confidently demonstrate their compliance.

This comprehensive reporting helps to prevent potential delays or rejection of projects, thereby mitigating significant implications for the project’s timeline and success. By using the Tasks tools within Consultation Manager, ACCIONA Energía is able to follow up on any complaints and resolve issues in a prompt and effective manner to strengthen their community relationships.

“We have complaint management policies for all of our wind farms, and they’re published on the websites. That’s a requirement for us“, explained Erin. “If we were to be approached by the commissioner as to how we responded to that complaint, it’s really important for us to be able to document it and put some structure around it in case there is further questioning.”

Through proactive community engagement, robust stakeholder relationship management, leveraging advanced tools like Consultation Manager and Social Pinpoint, ACCIONA Energía is exemplifying best practices for fostering trust and building stronger community stakeholder relationships. Their commitment to a hybrid engagement approach, combining both in-person and online methods, ensures that they effectively reach and involve all community members. This dedication to creating an informed and inclusive community underscores their mission to achieve sustainable development and operational excellence.

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