Public outreach and education involves both the transfer of information and a means to gauge the success of the information transfer. Public outreach begins at the onset of the project, continues through the close of the project, and involves each individual on the project team. In addition, public outreach encompasses an array of activities through which information about CO2 storage projects is exchanged with stakeholders. Stakeholders for a particular project are defined based on the project specifics and include those parties who believe they are most affected by CO2 storage project decisions. Early CO2 storage projects have been highly visible and their success will likely impact future CO2 storage projects. When done effectively, public outreach can be used to help identify the main values and concerns of a host community, as well as the perceived benefits of a proposed project. This understanding can help a project team to foster public acceptance by addressing the relevant issues in a particular community. Public outreach can lead to a mutually beneficial outcome where project developers move ahead with the support of well-informed stakeholders who are comfortable with the project benefits and potential risks and trust the project team. The primary lesson learned from the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSP) experience is that public outreach should be an integrated component of project management. Conducting effective public outreach will not necessarily ensure project success, but underestimating its importance can contribute to delays, increased costs, and community ill will. Effective public outreach involves listening, sharing information, and addressing concerns through proactive community engagement.
NETL realizes the importance of Public Outreach and has published a Best Practice Manual summarizing the lessons learned from the seven RCSP Characterization and Validation Phases of research during which sites were characterized and validated for CO2 storage potential and assessed for CO2 injection. Public outreach plays a significant role in each RCSPs' activities since they continue to perform extensive field-related research in carbon storage. Each RCSP has an outreach coordinator whose role is to lead the development and implementation of detailed outreach plans during each phase of research. Physical Model Demonstration at a Midwest Geological Sequestration
Consortium (MSGC) Open House (Image courtesy of MSGC)
The RCSP Development outreach efforts, which are based on the development and deployment of large-scale (greater than 1 million metric tons) CO2 injection projects, are designed to employ the best practices learned during the first two RCSP phases. These efforts are expected to yield further best practices as large-scale projects are undertaken. As part of the outreach effort, each partnership has developed information relating to the geology and sequestration projects within its region. This information includes providing:
Core Sample Demonstration (Courtesy of Battelle)
- General information about the RCSP and its region; the project team, its partners, the RCSP's lead organization; announcements and technical reports as they are published.
- General information about carbon storage, climate change, and CO2.
- Access to the national or regional atlas of CO2 sources and emissions in the region; information on geologic CO2 storage potential in the region; and regulatory and permitting information.
- Detailed information about the Validation and Development Phase storage projects.
- Information and educational products developed by the RCSP, including fact sheets, briefing materials, links to the latest carbon storage news stories, and links to scientific topical reports.
- Links to photographs, video clips, and other multimedia resources.
- Access to a "Frequently Asked Questions" page.
- Links and resources with additional information.
- Links to educational resources and pages to help school-age children learn more about the climate and the weather, potential climate change, and the greenhouse effect through online games, climate animation, and other activities.