REN - Redes Energéticas Nacionais was distinguished today by the Renewables Grid Initiative, with the Good Practices of the Year award, for the innovative way its project titled 'Environmental impact assessments: virtual visit' allowed for the improvement of the company's communication with its stakeholders despite the pandemic. REN's project was selected as one of the top four in the Communication & Engagement category, and the announcement was made at the Copenhagen Energy Infrastructure Forum, which will be taking place in an entirely virtual way this year.
As part of the environmental impact assessment phase of the electricity projects, and in a spirit of transparency for the whole process, REN decided to produce videos, using a drone and Google Earth, illustrating the areas where new power transmission lines will pass through. A need that was felt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has conditioned the field visits by the entities that form the Evaluation Committee.
For Francisco Parada, head of Quality, Environment and Safety at REN, 'this project is the result of a joint work of this Department with the Department of Communication and Sustainability. As is almost always the case, necessity is the mother of invention, and that is what has happened here. Faced with the difficulty of in-person visits by stakeholders to areas under environmental impact assessment, we kicked off this project. The video seeks to reach all interested parties, enabling an effective visualisation of the territory and facilitating the decision-making process of evaluating this type of projects, becoming an even greater tool for promoting the transparency of the process.
So far, REN has produced two videos. The first using images from Google Earth as geographical support, and the second using real images, captured using a drone. In both, a journey is carried out through the project's crucial sites, with special emphasis in the territory's main environmental constraints. This tool makes the choice of the path to be followed by the entities that approve the project more transparent and encourages the participation of all interested parties in the public consultations, serving as another tool throughout the licencing process of a power transmission line.
Accomplishing this task required the work of several REN teams and a team from production company BOX Produções and from Screen, to shoot and edit the videos. The videos were then made available to the Project's Evaluation Committee, used in clarification sessions requested to REN by all interested parties, and sent to the stakeholders who requested them.
Renewables Grid Initiative is an entity that seeks the collaboration of non-Governmental Organisations and Transmission System Operators across Europe, promoting the development of transparent and environmentally sustainable networks in line with the Paris Agreement. Since 2014, it awards the Good Practices of the Year award, intended for initiatives that demonstrate good practices in the areas of Communication, Technological Innovation and Environmental Protection.