Successful projects rely on clear, proactive communication to ensure that everyone involved understands how the project is progressing. This ensures that stakeholders understand risks and benefits and have the information they need to make decisions. For one university engaged in a Recovery Act-funded wind power project, this includes active communication within the project team as well as communication with the public through education and outreach.
As in many projects, the university’s project team meets regularly to address progress. These meetings are a venue for discussing technical and managerial developments, and outside factors that could impact the project. Central to these discussions is an analysis of how emerging or prospective technical and managerial challenges will affect the project’s objectives, schedule, and costs- a process known as project risk management.
However, the university also chose to expand its communication efforts beyond the usual cadre of engineers, project managers, monitors, and other project-insiders. The university installed a demonstration-scale wind turbine in a prominent place on campus. The 8kW demonstration-scale system produces roughly enough electricity to power a home. It’s also the most visible wind turbine in the surrounding city, and will be used for research, education, and public awareness about renewable energy. The university recognizes that its Recovery Act-funded investment in wind power will have lasting benefits, not only producing electricity, but also helping students and members of the community understand emerging technologies.
With the aid of its Department of Energy Recovery Act financial assistance award through EERE’s Wind and Water Power Program and in cooperation with EERE staff, the university is using impactful communication to help harness renewable energy and empower the next generation of scientists and engineers.