Press Conference with Governor Polis Reinforces Utility Company’s Leadership in GHG Emissions Reduction

To tackle the challenge of climate change, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis pledged during his 2018 election campaign to help the state reach 100% renewable energy by 2040, with aggressive targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction from power generation.

One of Colorado’s two investor-owned electric utilities is a long-time leader in GHG emissions reduction and was the first utility in the Centennial State with no coal generation in its fleet, having closed its last Colorado coal plant in 2012. Since then, the company has added three new wind farms in Southern Colorado which together deliver 150 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity, enough to power more than 70,000 homes. The company also has 11 community solar gardens in its service territory. The company is helping bring a new 200 MW utility-scale solar facility to the community, bringing the company’s percentage of power generated from renewable resources to 51 percent by 2024, reducing carbon emissions 71 percent and saving customers $66 million over 15 years.

Client
Services
Communications Strategy & Planning
Media Relations & Influencer Marketing
Leader & Employee Communications
Industry
Energy & Utilities
Awards

CHallenge

In late 2020, the company recognized an opportunity to partner with Gov. Polis and his team to announce a Clean Energy Plan, which will advance the company’s carbon reduction leadership while supporting the governor’s approach to climate policy.

Solution

Linhart PR’s utility experts developed a communications strategy for the announcement that sought to reinforce the company’s leadership in GHG emissions reduction and demonstrate support for the governor’s approach, ahead of the 2021 Colorado legislative session, by aligning with his team on messaging and outreach, generate earned media coverage to build visibility and reputation as a reliable, responsible power provider and position the new renewable energy plans as important drivers of GHG emissions reduction, local tax revenue and customer savings.

Linhart PR prepared the team and supported planning for a virtual press conference with Governor Polis. Key aspects of the virtual press conference included:

  1. Planning: With live events off the table due to Covid restrictions, we planned for a joint video news conference with company leadership and the governor to discuss the company’s Clean Energy Plan. Many of the most influential energy and environment reporters in Colorado attended.
  2. Message Development: We developed multiple drafts of carefully calibrated messaging reinforcing the company’s Colorado clean energy leadership, supporting the governor’s policy approach and addressing reliability and value.
  3. Media Relations: We conducted outreach to the media target list to seek attendance and coverage of the announcement. We engaged with all of the Colorado energy, environment and business reporters covering greenhouse gas reduction efforts in the state to secure attendance and post-news conference coverage.
  4. Q&A: We held four prep sessions, a Q&A practice and a technical rehearsal in the three days prior to the news conference to ensure our spokesperson was well prepared for questions.

Results

The company achieved its goal of signaling support for the governor’s policy approach and was positioned as a clean energy leader in a significant portion of the news coverage.

  • Coverage exceeded our goal, with 17 stories and 663,000 impressions
  • Prepared remarks for the news conference and the news release stressed the company’s history of GHG reduction steps, which were referenced in 59% of the coverage
  • More than 80% of the news coverage mentioned the company’s new utility-solar facility as an important driver of GHG emissions reduction, local tax revenue and customer savings.
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