Achieve Objectives and Success

San Francisco Energy's 240-Megawatt Power Plant

Public Outreach Strategy, Community Approval, Environmental Impact Report

When San Francisco Energy Company (SFEC) was planning to build a 240-megawatt power plant in the Bayview Hunters Point area of San Francisco, Alfred Williams Consultancy, LLC (AWC) was retained to design and implement the project's public affairs strategy. Al Williams and AWC were charged with maximizing the public participation and support needed to secure California Energy Commission certification of the project.

Winning public approval for the Hunter's Point power plant presented significant challenges. Community opposition to the project was strong, both within the local neighborhood and city-wide, particularly among environmental activists. An alliance between these groups rapidly formed to oppose the plant.

Despite these challenges, AWC successfully piloted SFEC's public relations campaign. Al Williams' experience working with San Francisco community leaders allowed him to quickly identify the key decision-makers on this issue. Initiating constructive, pro-active dialogues with these leaders helped Williams create and maintain an effective and ultimately fruitful public outreach process.

In addition, Williams' public relations expertise allowed him to devise an exceptional public relations strategy predicated on SFEC's ability to clearly demonstrate to the community's satisfaction that the new power plant would lead to an overall reduction in harmful chemical emissions, create no adverse environmental impact on the neighborhood and produce jobs for the community.

An excellent communicator, Williams was able to present these points clearly and effectively to all stakeholders, both locally and city-wide. And Williams' long-held reputation for honesty and integrity within the community allowed this strategy to receive a full and fair hearing from community leaders. As a result, SFEC's Hunters Point Power Plant proposal received a powerful community endorsement on its way to full California Energy Commission approval.

During the challenging negotiations for this project, several new community leaders came to the fore. The strong relationships and open lines of communications that resulted from Al Williams' respectful and productive interactions with these leaders have remained, and continue to benefit other AWC clients.