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Public consultation and community awareness

Community support plays a crucial role in determining the future of low emissions coal technologies and associated research and development programs.

A key activity of the Coal Innovation NSW Fund 2009 is to increase public awareness of, and support for, the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions via low emissions coal technologies.

This will be achieved by:

  • providing valuable, accurate information to the community
  • consulting with the community where necessary regarding existing projects and programs and
  • increasing community confidence in low emissions coal technologies by leveraging the experience and data gained from research projects and drilling programs supported by the Fund.

Coal Innovation NSW has undertaken significant public consultation and raising awareness about its work in the community, primarily through community engagement for its Darling Basin Drilling program and Coal Innovation NSW funded projects.

Local Community Communication and Engagement for Stage 2 of the NSW CO2 Storage Assessment Program

To ensure local landholders are informed on the scope and progress of Stage 2 of NSW CO2 Storage Assessment Program project:

  • meetings have been held with the relevant local Councils
  • engagement with the wider local community occurred before Stage 2 exploration activities
  • details of the location, start date and estimated duration of exploration activities was published in local newspapers, and
  • collaborative work with local traditional owners was undertaken.

Managing low emissions coal technology project risk: the role of public awareness

The challenge:

To increase the public awareness and support of Low Emissions Coal Technologies (LECT) in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from coal fired power generation.

The action:

Coal Innovation NSW funded the University of Newcastle's Research Institute for Social Inclusion and Well-being to investigate public perception of LECT and how this is formed.

Grant amount:

$618,930 (EOI Round 2009)

The project:

One of the projects funded as part of the under the Coal Innovation NSW 2009 Expressions of Interest Funding Round was the University of Newcastle's Research Institute for Social Inclusion and Well-being, which received funding to investigate the level of public engagement with Low Emissions Coal Technologies.

The final report, Managing Low Emissions Coal Technologies project risks: The role of public awareness, investigated the organisational dynamics within the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industries and the question of how and why the public forms opinion around issues relating to them.

CINSW would like to clearly state that CSG is not a low emissions coal technology. The comparative study was undertaken to further social science research in the use of innovative forms of communications and their role in public awareness. Findings from this study cannot compare CSG technologies to low emissions coal technologies and carbon capture and storage.

Project: Enabling broader low emissions advocacy coalitions in the NSW coal-related sectors

The challenge:

To improve public understanding and acceptance of low emissions coal technologies as a means of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions from the use of coal.

The action:

Coal Innovation NSW funded the University of Melbourne to better understand and utilise the mechanics of ‘advocacy coalitions’ for low carbon technologies in coal and coal-related sectors to improve communication strategies and commence new coalition building.

Grant amount:

$418,828 (EOI Round 2018).

The project:

This social science project aimed to better understand and utilise the mechanics of ‘advocacy coalitions’ for low carbon technologies in coal and coal-related sectors (notably mining, electricity, and steel-making). State-of-the-art sociological research shows that coalitions (groups of like-minded people) have either core or peripheric beliefs, which determine the likelihood of them joining other coalitions or changing their interim goals.

Further, it is key opinion leaders (KOLs) in these coalitions who will largely be responsible for spreading awareness of, support for, or opposition to a technology. This study examined if it is possible to make as many NSW low-carbon advocacy coalitions as possible converge in their beliefs and goals about low emissions coal technologies. Policy proponents can leverage this knowledge for better targeting of funding and resources for low emissions coal technologies, most notably carbon capture and storage.

The project has been completed and the final report is published below.

Final report for the project: Enabling broader low-emissions advocacy coalitions in the NSW coal-related sectors (PDF, 3.53 MB)