2018 Best Practices in Public Participation for Transmission Projects
Improve Permitting Process and Reduce Stakeholder Conflicts
January 24-25, 2018
San Diego, CA

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Overview

Transmission infrastructure projects are often characterized by high perceived risk and low stakeholder trust.  A balance must be struck between the need for additional transmission development and landowner priorities, environmental impact considerations and regulatory compliance.

A comprehensive strategic public participation process is a key tenet to the success of any transmission project.  All stakeholders must be engaged throughout the process, using a wide variety of communication and engagement techniques that are tailored to the needs of each stakeholder.  But how do you tackle this daunting challenge?

As an attendee of this EUCI conference, you’ll hear best practice case studies from leading electric transmission professionals.  You’ll learn the strategies and methods they use to positively engage stakeholders and overcome project obstacles.  You’ll leave this conference with practical tools and techniques that can be immediately implemented within your own organization to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your public participation program.

Learning Outcomes

  • Analyze strategies to develop outreach plan when dealing with rural communities & local government leaders involvement
  • Examine role of a strong public involvement program in expediting environmental review through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Determine the key components necessary to successfully address project opposition and reduce permitting time.
  • Examine how to put data around experiential instincts in order to enhance your communications program
  • Compare best practice case studies on successful public participation programs

Credits

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EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer CEUs for this event.

 

Instructional Methods

Case studies, PowerPoint presentations and group discussion will be used in this event.

Requirements For Successful Completion Of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Agenda

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. :: Registration

2:00 – 2:15 p.m. :: Opening Remarks by Chairperson


2:15 – 3:00 p.m. :: Effective Public Participation in the Review of Transmission Projects

This presentation will discuss the effects and potential benefits of transparency and early public participation in siting transmission facilities and the environmental review of transmission projects. Example projects in San Diego County and Riverside County will be showcased and discussed. The presentation will highlight recent trends in how public participation is influencing transmission projects in California. In this presentation; we will look at:

  • How public participation is incorporated into the CPUC review of transmission projects
  • What are the steps to effective outreach and public participation
  • How public criticism influences transmission design
  • Good transmission design and siting can influence public support and permitting success

Billie C Blanchard, Senior Regulatory Analyst, California Public Utilities Commission

Jeff Thomas, Senior Manager & Regulatory Specialist, Panorama Environmental, Inc.

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. :: Networking Break


3:30 – 4:15 p.m. :: San Diego Gas & Electric: Customer-Focused Outreach Strategies for Permitting Infrastructure Projects

In this session, you will learn how San Diego Gas & Electric utilizes best practices and lessons learned from previous projects to engage stakeholders to gain support – or mitigate opposition – of major project development of electric and natural gas projects.  SDG&E’s goal is to be proactive, not reactive to customer complaints and issues.  Through an understanding of perceived customer value, SDG&E strives to cater the communication strategy and frame messages to exceed expectations. In this presentation, we will look at:

  • Enhancing the customer experience
  • Building trust – both internally and externally
  • Assessment and adjustment of past projects
  • “One size doesn’t fit all”

Todd Voorhees, Regional Public Affairs Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric


4:15 – 5:00 p.m. :: American Transmission Company – Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project

Using Communication Best Practices and Innovative Tools to Inform and Engage the Public for Regional Transmission Line Projects

American Transmission Co. in 2010 publicly announced the Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project to the public in an area covering a significant portion of Western Wisconsin. Three years later, ATC filed a regulatory application with project partner Xcel Energy. The application included two route options; both had significant public opposition. In 2015, the project was approved and a route was selected for the 180-mile, 345,000-volt transmission line. The line is currently being constructed from the Madison to La Crosse, Wisconsin, area. In this presentation, we will look at:

  • The Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project
  • Communications and public outreach from public involvement to project construction
  • Developing communication materials to support effective public participation for multi-year outreach projects
  • Collaborative communications for partnership projects
  • Media relations and messaging in the face of public opposition

Kaya Freiman, Corporate Communications Consultant, American Transmission Company

5:00 p.m. :: End of Conference Day 1


Thursday, January 25, 2018

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:45 a.m. :: Opening Remarks by Chairperson


8:45 – 9:15 a.m. :: Panel Discussion: Forming & Managing Communications Task Force

Panelists:

Drew Kramer, Senior External Affairs Advisor, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

Tama Davis, Project Outreach Manager – Transmission, American Electric Power

Michael Huynh, Manager, Local Public Affairs, Southern California Edison

Shauna Laber, Commissioner, City of Mandan, ND | Senior Property & Right of Way Specialist, Basin Electric Power Cooperative


9:15 – 10:00 a.m. :: CapX2020 Project: Building Trust to Build Regional Transmission Systems

This is an in-depth case study of the CapX2020 project in the Upper Midwest, examining how 11 utilities built 800 miles of high voltage transmission lines through four states and allocated costs of $2.1 billion. This study highlights how a trust-based approach driven by mutual goals, regular communication, and mutually supporting activities lead to internal cohesion among utilities, and that internal cohesion led to successful interactions with external stakeholders, and, therefore, project success. In this presentation, we will break up the CapX2020 project into 3 phases, and in each phase, we will examine:

  • Governance and Infrastructure: Developing internal coalitions and governance structures in ways that translate to external success.
  • Strategic Planning: Creating and supporting common goals leads to unified strategies across multi-jurisdictional projects.
  • Stakeholder Involvement: Understanding your audience; local representation matters.
  • Evaluation and Improvement: Gathering baseline data, establishing shared metrics, sharing of best practices, and the importance of mid-project evaluations. 

Marta Monti, Lead Author, “Transmission Planning and CapX2020: Building Trust to Build Regional Transmission Systems”, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

10:00 – 10:30 a.m. :: Networking Break


10:30 – 11:00 a.m. :: Basin Electric Power Cooperative: Effective Outreach Strategies to Reach Rural Communities & Local Government Leaders Involvement

This presentation will discuss some of the unique challenges faced in rural communities for transmission line projects. Through a case study speaker will address how to manage landowners’ concern on transmission line route, about the impact that the line would have on soil, native wildlife, historic trails etc.

Shauna Laber, Commissioner, City of Mandan, ND | Senior Property & Right of Way Specialist, Basin Electric Power Cooperative


11:00 – 11:30 a.m. :: Southern California Edison: Managing Stakeholder Opposition

It is inevitable that community and/or utility will have to make changes to a transmission projects throughout the project phase. Emotional challenges to a project can cause projects sponsors to respond with facts, but those facts are often drowned out if the parties are unwilling to compromise. In this presentation, we will have an in-depth analysis of how to respond to exaggerated or false claims and how to manage project opposition explained with real-life case study/scenarios.

Michael Huynh, Manager, Local Public Affairs, Southern California Edison


11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. :: The Great Northern Transmission Line and the Northern Pass Transmission Line

The Role of a Strong Public Involvement Program in Expediting Environmental Review through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

Ecology and Environment served as third party contractor to the US Department of Energy helping to write Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) for two large, international transmission lines under the guidelines of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The Great Northern Transmission Line and the Northern Pass Transmission Line each had a different level of public involvement prior to NEPA review, and that public involvement effort had a direct link to the length of the environmental review process. In this presentation, we will look at:

  • Great Northern and Northern Pass Transmission Line EISs
  • Public involvement and its relationship to NEPA scoping
  • Importance of early engagement and issue identification
  • Length of NEPA review relative to public controversy

Daniel Belin, Director of Electric Transmission, Ecology & Environment Inc.

12:15 – 1:30 p.m. :: Group Luncheon


1:30 – 2:15 p.m. :: Tampa Electric Co. (TECO) – Project Polk Combined Cycle and 40 Miles of 230kV Transmission

Benefits & Challenges of Stakeholder Involvement in Transmission Projects

Today’s transmission infrastructure projects require a higher level of public outreach and engagement than in the past. It now takes more than a discussion about “measures to mitigate opposition” to understand how dialogue between stakeholders and the public can lead to a better decision-making process and more sustainable transmission infrastructure deployment. In this presentation, we will look at:

  • What are stakeholders’ concerns about new transmission line infrastructure?
  • What are some successful actions to address these concerns?
  • What levels of participation are required?

Arlee Jones, Project Manager II, Tampa Electric Co. (TECO)


2:15 – 3:00 p.m. :: Salt River Project: After the Permits: What Utilities Wish their Consultants Knew About Utilities

In this session, we will review components of the utility / consultant relationship.  We will discuss and gain insight from a utilities survey regarding the strengths and weaknesses of utility-consultant collaboration throughout the siting process.  Ultimately, we aim to provide several thought worthy insights and useful tools for increasing project success via productive team work.  We surveyed thousands of utilities, come listen to what they had to say. Reviewing this process will work to spark discussion around these intimate topics:

  • Demystifying the RFP process
  • Achieving success when team roles are not clear; striking the balance
  • Putting the public needs ahead of our individual goals
  • The new look of project team communication; is face to face being replaced?

Janeen Rohovit, State & SR Gov’t Relations Representative, Rural Counties, Salt River Project

3:00 – 3:30 p.m. :: Networking Break


3:30 – 4:15 p.m. :: American Electric Power: Keeping it Neutral – Formulate a Strategic Stakeholder Communications Plan for Transmission Projects

Effective strategic communication planning and messaging can neutralize opposition and gain acceptance of transmission line projects. Project Outreach serves as a clearing house for landowners, gathers stakeholder input for use in the route development process, and ensures stakeholders and decision makers are informed. This approach promotes transparency and two-way communication.  The level of outreach is scalable depending on the scope and challenges of a given project. In this presentation, we will look at:

  • Communication planning
  • Clear, concise messaging
  • Supporting the siting and regulatory process

Tama Davis, Project Outreach Manager – Transmission, American Electric Power


4:15 – 5:00 p.m. :: PSE&G: Looking Forward – Role of Public Involvement in Renewable Transmission Projects

Although vital for the functioning of future grid development projects, public opposition can increase costs and lead to lengthy planning processes. This presentation will discuss in detail the need for a better engagement with local communities at an early stage of future renewable transmission projects. This requires greater stakeholder engagement and addressing community concerns during the planning phase.

George Sous, Director – External Affairs North, PSE&G

5:00 p.m. :: Closing Remarks

Workshop

Effective Environmental Communication for Transmission Projects

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. :: Workshop Timing

Overview

A half-day hands-on workshop on how to identify, develop and coordinate delivery of overall outreach strategies to support your project goals, organization’s policies and requirements from all stakeholders of the project. The workshop attendees will be given a case-scenario to work in a group for brainstorming, planning and develop a public outreach strategy. Workshop instructor will be working with and guiding each group at developing the outreach plan. The workshop also consists of lecture session where instructor will provide insights on how to best work closely with project management, right of way, and external affairs to identify opportunities to improve success in siting and permitting.

Learning Outcomes

  • What is environmental communication and the common pitfalls to successful communication;
  • The different roles of the utility and the permitting agency in environmental communication;
  • Methods for gauging public and stakeholder interest and concerns on a transmission project;
  • How public concerns influence environmental review of transmission projects;
  • The types of environmental information we communicate about with a focus on the California Environmental Quality Act; and
  • Methods for effectively communicating environmental information and analysis for transmission projects.

Workshop Format

Workshop participants will be divided into groups for brainstorming activity and communication plan development, based on a case-scenario provided by the workshop instructor in class.

Instructor

Jeff Thomas, Senior Manager & Regulatory Specialist, Panorama Environmental, Inc.

Mr. Thomas is a senior manager and regulatory specialist with over 24 years of combined consulting and city government experience in environmental and land use planning including CEQA and NEPA compliance, regulatory compliance strategy and permitting, and biological resources management.

Mr. Thomas has directed and participated in the preparation of numerous environmental documents and resource evaluations supporting NEPA; CEQA; NHPA (Section 106); regulatory permits through the CWA (Sections 401 and 404), Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10, California Fish and Game Code (FGC Section 1600), federal ESA (USFWS and NMFS Section 7), California ESA (CESA Section 2081), and Marine Mammal Protection Act; environmental compliance monitoring; habitat restoration planning and implementation; and conservation planning (ESA Section 10, Natural Community Conservation Planning Program). Jeff’s depth of project experience includes electrical transmission; geothermal energy supply; municipal water and wastewater pipelines, pump stations, and related appurtenances; transportation improvements with Caltrans Local Assistance Program; flood protection and channel maintenance; in-stream and off-stream agricultural water supply reservoirs; landfill expansion and green waste composting; microwave communication facilities; flood control levees; commercial and industrial development; residential master planned communities; urban parks; HCPs; open space and marine preserves; and habitat restoration.

Over the past four years, Mr. Thomas has supported the California Public Utilities Commission with oversight of multi-consultant teams on controversial and complex transmission planning projects, providing technical direction, QA/QC, and client representation at public and stakeholder meetings.

Forum

Public Outreach – Executive Forum

Friday, January 26, 2018

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. :: Forum Timing

Agenda

Shape Organizational Culture, Policies and Practice in a Public Centered Organization

  • How can you assess project team’s understanding for the need of public engagement?
  • What are the critical elements for integrating public participation in a cross-border infrastructure projects?
  • How to facilitate improved community engagement for underserved population?
  • What does it take to reduce permitting delays?
  • What tools have proven to be more successful in initiating meaningful public engagement?
  • How to utilize research, collaboration and communication for public outreach?

Panelists

  • Todd F Burns, Director, Transmission Project Outreach and Right-Of-Way, American Electric Power
  • Daniel Belin, Director of Electric Transmission, Ecology & Environment Inc.
  • Shauna Laber, Commissioner, City of Mandan, ND | Senior Property & Right of Way Specialist, Basin Electric Power Cooperative
  • Janeen Rohovit, State & SR Gov’t Relations Representative, Rural Counties, Salt River Project
  • George Sous, Director – External Affairs North, PSE&G
  • Billie C Blanchard, Senior Regulatory Analyst, California Public Utilities Commission

Speakers

Daniel Belin, Director of Electric Transmission, Ecology & Environment Inc.

Billie C Blanchard, Senior Regulatory Analyst, California Public Utilities Commission

Todd F Burns, Director, Transmission Project Outreach and Right-Of-Way, American Electric Power

Tama Davis, Project Outreach Manager – Transmission, American Electric Power

Kaya Freiman, Corporate Communications Consultant, American Transmission Company

Michael Huynh, Manager, Local Public Affairs, Southern California Edison

Arlee Jones, Project Manager II, Tampa Electric Co. (TECO)

Peter L. Kelley, Vice President – Public Affairs, American Wind Energy Association

Drew Kramer, Senior External Affairs Advisor, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

Shauna Laber, Commissioner, City of Mandan, ND | Senior Property & Right of Way Specialist, Basin Electric Power Cooperative

Marta Monti, Lead Author, “Transmission Planning and CapX2020: Building Trust to Build Regional Transmission Systems”, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

Janeen Rohovit, State & SR Gov’t Relations Representative, Rural Counties, Salt River Project

George Sous, Director – External Affairs North, PSE&G

Jeff Thomas, Senior Manager & Regulatory Specialist, Panorama Environmental, Inc.

Todd Voorhees, Regional Public Affairs Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric Kaya Freiman, Corporate Communications Consultant, American Transmission Company

Location

The Westgate Hotel
1055 2nd Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

To reserve your room, please call 1-619-238-1818
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.

Room Rate:

The room rate is $199.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

Room Block Dates:

A room block has been reserved for the nights of January 23 – 25, 2018.

Rate Available Until:

Make your reservations prior to December 23, 2017. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.

 

Register

Please Note: Confirmed speakers do not need to register and are encouraged to participate in all sessions of the event. If you are a speaker and have any questions please contact our offices at 1.303.770.8800

EventEarly Bird Before
Friday, January 05, 2018
Standard RateAttendees
2018 Best Practices in Public Participation for Transmission ProjectsUS $ 1195.00 US $ 1395.00

This event has the following workshops:

Effective Environmental Communication for Transmission ProjectsUS $ 495.00
US $ 595.00
Public Outreach - Executive ForumUS $ 495.00
US $ 595.00

Take advantage of these discounts!

  • Attend the Conference and both workshops and pay US $ 1,995.00 per attendee (save US $ 190.00 each)
  • Attend the Conference and workshop and pay US $ 1,595.00 per attendee (save US $ 95.00 each)

Register 3 Send 4th Free!

Any organization wishing to send multiple attendees to these conferences may send 1 FREE for every 3 delegates registered. Please note that all registrations must be made at the same time to qualify.

Cancellation Policy

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before December 15, 2017 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800