The Communica team comes from a diverse background with many different experiences and passions. Whether it is travel, politics, communications, public relations, social media, marketing, public policy or law… there’s no shortage of unique ideas around the boardroom table. Below you’ll find blogs on some of our ideas. What’s got you thinking?
Communica welcomes Advisor Carlie Montgomery By Sarah Bartlett Creative, determined and perceptive. For Carlie Montgomery, these three words best sum up the young Advisor. After chatting with Carlie, you can’t help but be impressed by her knowledge and instinct as a professional communicator. Those working out of Communica’s Calgary office already recognize Carlie as a friendly and familiar face. After completing a student internship with the company back in 2014, Carlie recently joined Communica full-time as an Advisor in Communication and Stakeholder Engagement. “I had a great experience here [at Communica] with Doug and the employees. It was such a positive atmosphere that I wanted to come back. In the span of four months I developed a thorough understanding of the agency culture. I got a taste of the fast-paced environment Communica has to offer,” Carlie explained. Following her student internship at Communica, Carlie went on to complete her Bachelor of Communications degree at Mount Royal University (MRU). “I knew that I wanted to do communications at a young age. It was always a battle between journalism and public relations. Then I found the public relations program at MRU,” says Carlie. “I thought it covered all the bases as far as writing, social media, crisis communications and government public relations. It was a well-rounded program. It gave me a good foundation to handle many different projects within Communica.” While attending MRU, Carlie honed her communications skills volunteering within the University and with local charities. Volunteering with Calgary non-profit organization’s such as the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS), fueled her enthusiasm for helping others. “I love getting out into the public, engaging with them and hearing their stories,” she says. That connectivity is what drew Carlie back to Communica and more particularly, Stakeholder Engagement. During her time as a student intern, she enjoyed the camaraderie and collaboration that came from working on a small team. “There’s a great teamwork culture here. We’re all helping each other do the absolute best we can for our clients. My team is really supportive. They’ve tapped into my skill set and supported me when needed,” she says. Carlie is focused on the importance of bringing quality research and strategy to all her communication tactics. “There’s an overwhelming amount of communication in the world right now. There’s so many channels and outlets, and there’s so many people in this space,” says Carlie. “I think that if you’re not strategic, if it’s not well thought-out, if you’re just throwing content out into the world; it’s going to get washed away. There’s a whole other strategic aspect to communications that people are not aware of, and that really intrigues me.” Outside of the office you can find Carlie in the mountains, spending time with family, or volunteering at a local AARCS event. She loves the outdoors and all things creative. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, painting and traveling. “If I can choose to do anything on the weekends it would probably be hiking. I love hiking and backpacking. I’ve hiked the West Coast Trail. I’ve canoed in Bowron Lake Provincial Park. Anything outdoors is right up my alley,” she says. Carlie is eager to continue growing as a professional in Communication and Stakeholder Engagement with Communica. “I’m looking forward to building relationships with my clients and colleagues and positively contributing to their projects.” Continued
FNPA Renewable Power Development and Industry Engagement 101 Session By Eric Mohun Hosted by the First Nation Power Authority (FNPA)and First Nation leadership, members of both the government and energy industry gathered in Calgary on February 7, 2018 at the Grey Eagle Resort to share information and discuss how best to develop renewable energy projects in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Chief and councils, government officials and renewable resource companies, engaged in a multilateral conversation about opportunities for First Nations to partner with industry on developing a new economy. The welcoming comments from Chief Crowchild and Chief Standingontheroad as well as the CEO of FNPA, Paul O’Byrne, highlighted the importance for establishing positive, mutually-beneficial relationships early in the engagement process with First Nations. Stewardship, and a connection to the land, is a deeply held value within Indigenous culture. The need to play a key role in protecting the land and the continuation of ancestral lineage through education of indigenous youth were also stressed as being critical components of the overall program. An underlying theme from the session was that industry should acknowledge the benefits of Indigenous values, such as stewardship of the land, and work to find a balance between development and environmental protection. Indigenous groups are more than simply landowners, but stewards interested in sustainability. There was also recognition that renewable resources are plentiful within Alberta and Saskatchewan, but it should be acknowledged that these resources fall within the traditional lands of Indigenous communities and therefore relationships, consultations and economic-partnerships are required. The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) presented its program, which highlighted its intention to work at including First Nations in the development of renewable resources in Alberta. Government representatives and First Nation leaders also gave presentations on the Alberta Indigenous Climate Planning Program and Green Energy Development Program. First Nations leaders stressed the need to take advantage of available funding to develop solar programs within their communities and reduce the energy costs for operating buildings and houses. The capacity within First Nations is growing because of these construction projects. During the ‘wellness’ breaks and table discussions, there was a sincere, common understanding that to be successful moving forward, the engagement process and development will require “Indigenization” of the method. This includes the addition of values and knowledge of Indigenous groups across the provinces when it comes to energy infrastructure projects. All sides called for respecting each group’s differences and common goals in order to successfully partner on resource development. Continued
We are on Instagram! The social media landscape is changing and having an Instagram account allows us to be more cutting edge and connect to a broader target segment. By connecting with our clients, current employees, and future employees on Instagram we are hoping to expand our social media influence and connect to people and companies on the platforms that matter most to them. We have a company culture we’re proud of, and we want to show you all the fun and innovative things we’re up to at Communica every day. Check out our page and if you wish to continue seeing what we are up to, please give us a follow! We would love to hear from you and share our thoughts and ideas. shannn Continued
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 is National Aboriginal Day. A variety of celebrations are happening throughout Canada to celebrate Inuit, Metis and First Nations. National Aboriginal Day was established in 1996 by former Governor General Roméo A. LeBlanc. It is a day devoted to the recognition of Indigenous groups and their historic and current contributions to Canada. Celebrating Aboriginal Day is an important step forward in furthering the relationship between Aboriginal groups and other Canadians. It is a day to remember the shared history and recognize that moving forward together will create a stronger and more unified country. “Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem; it is a Canadian one” the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report states. Residential school survivor and Gwawaenuk Elder Chief Dr. Robert Joseph explains: “As Canadians, we share a responsibility to look after each other and acknowledge the pain and suffering that our diverse societies have endured—a pain that has been handed down to the next generations. We need to right those wrongs, heal together, and create a new future that honours the unique gifts of our children and grandchildren. How do we do this? Through sharing our personal stories, legends and traditional teachings, we found that we are interconnected through the same mind and spirit. Our traditional teachings speak to acts such as holding one another up, walking together, balance, healing and unity. Our stories show how these teachings can heal their pain and restore dignity. We discovered that in all of our cultural traditions, there are teachings about reconciliation, forgiveness, unity, healing and balance. Reconciliation calls for personal action. People need to get to know each other. They need to learn how to speak to, and about, each other respectfully. They need to learn how to speak knowledgeably about the history of this country. And they need to ensure that their children learn how to do so as well.” You might be wondering what’s going on in your community to celebrate this day. We’ve got you covered! Here is all the information you need: BC Vancouver: At 9:00am, the Vancouver event begins at the Friendship Centre (1607 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V5L 1S7). Events and performances will take place until 11:00am and be followed by the Friendship Walk to Trout Lake Park (3300 Victoria Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4M4). Events and performances will continue at the park until 5:00pm. Click here for more information (including the full performance list). Fort Langley: National Aboriginal Day at The Fort celebrations commence Saturday June 17, 2017 and finish on Sunday June 28, 2017. The event will be held at the Fort Langley National Historic Site and admission will be free compliments of Canada 150. Come out and listen to some First Nations stories and partake in some celebratory activities. For more information click here. Victoria: From 11:00am -5:30pm, Friday June 16, 2017 through Sunday June 18, 2017 join the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations for National Aboriginal Day celebrations. This weekend event is free and will be held at the Royal BC Museum. Enjoy stage performances, an authentic indigenous marketplace, storytelling, cuisine and more! For more information click here. Alberta: Calgary: Aboriginal Awareness week is taking place June 19 -24, 2017. The event is promoting pride understanding and awareness of Aboriginal cultures, traditions, contributions and achievements to Canadian society. This year’s theme is “Keeping the Circle Strong”- “Sharing Our Culture: Celebrating Canada’s 150th Birthday”. “Living the truth is living the seven sacred teachings, living from the heart.” For more information, click here. Edmonton: From sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in Victoria Park, celebrations will occur for Aboriginal Day. Enjoy the sacred fire ceremony, a pow wow, and many other traditional experiences. For more information, click here. Fort Macleod: On Wednesday, June 21, 2017 also known as the “Moon of the Longest Day”, partake in First Nations celebrations. Enjoy storytelling, guided tours, a live display of Alberta Birds of Prey, Indigenous food, interact with performers and try ancient hunting techniques. The event is located at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (18km north and west of Fort Macleod, AB on secondary highway #765) from 10:00am until 4:00pm. For more information, click here. Lethbridge: National Aboriginal Day is being celebrated at Fort Whoop-Up on June 21, 2017 from 1:00-4:30PM. Admission is free for all ages. There will be storytelling, a mini pow wow, children’s activities, and food. For more information click here. As the celebrations near, reading is a great chance to broaden your perspective and come to a better understanding of aboriginal history and culture. It is an easy way to take a few steps in someone else’s shoes and become more educated on the challenges and issues aboriginals have and continue to face. As Canadians, it is increasingly important understand how our history has shaped the world today. Here are some of our favorite Aboriginal book recommendations: Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse This story explores the life of a young man who grew up living a traditional lifestyle in the wilderness, attended a residential school and then left to navigate 1960s Canada on his own. Harry Swain, Oka: A Political Crisis and Its Legacy Harry Swain writes about his experience as a former federal official during the Oka crisis in the summer of 1990. The Mohawk warriors barricaded a road near Oka, Quebec to stop golf course expansion into their traditional burial ground. Calvin Helin, Dances with Dependency: Out of Poverty Through Self-Reliance This narrative provides insight into the current socio-economic state of many First Nations in B.C. and how the socio-economic gap between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals can be decreased. Joseph Boyden, Three Day Road This historical fiction explores the lives of two Cree men who enlist voluntarily to fight for Canada in the First World War and the struggles they face post war. Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America This narrative is based on stories, experiences, facts and personal beliefs. It delves into examples of Aboriginal media portrayals to examine relationships between nonindigenous and the indigenous populations of North America. Continued
For the past two months, Rachel Chapman has been the eyes on the ground for Pulse Check, Communica’s bi-monthly newsletter focusing on activities of supporters and critics surrounding Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP). Rachel has attended numerous rallies and events. Being at the forefront of the discourse on TMEP gives her a unique opportunity to access the people driving the conversations surrounding TMEP. Q: What perspective does being on the ground give you vs. reading information online? A: Attending the events allows me to make a more informed analysis, as the activities related to the project are far more nuanced than what is reported on in traditional media. I am able to see the whole picture and provide my own interpretation and analysis instead of reading others’ interpretations online. As an advocate for industry, I find I have a different perspective than much of what is reported. I am also able to ask questions and receive in-depth answers. Sometimes I act as a silent observer and other times I directly engage with speakers and attendees. It is really interesting to hear their personal motivations for being so active in opposing the project. Being on the ground also gives me a better sense of the mood surrounding the event. For instance, following the BC election, the atmosphere of the events felt increasingly optimistic as leaders who opposed the project hold the balance of power. Being able to incorporate that perspective in Pulse Check offers great insight that you just can’t glean from online sources. Q: What is the most challenging aspect of working on Pulse Check? A: The most challenging aspect of working on Pulse Check is doing the analysis. It’s not enough to just summarize what I’ve seen. I want to consider how what I am seeing affects the project and the opposition’s discourse on TMEP, and more importantly, what the subscribers of Pulse Check need to know. It is important to focus on the needs of my audience so I can provide an analysis that will be a useful tool for them. Though it is the most difficult part of my job,the analysis is what differentiates Pulse Check from other news sources and is therefore the most rewarding aspect of my work. Q: What role has social media played surrounding the TMEP? A: Social media has played a critical role for the project’s opposition. It is a platform for people to express their views and makes it free and easy to promote events. Hundreds of people showed up at the Walk for the Salish Sea [from May25 to 28], and during the walk people tweeted live updates of where they were so that others could join in. Another way it has been important is in the spreading of information. A lot of what is posted on social media demonstrates the power and influence of false information. We live in an era of alternative facts, and there is a great need for more significant balanced and neutral voices on social media. The issue of pipeline safety is a perfect example. There are numerous concerns about an oil spill, but as we know this will be one of the safest and closely monitored pipelines in the country. We, as industry representatives, should consider how we can do more to educate people about the measures that will be in place. Q: What has been the most surprising thing you have witnessed on the ground? A: I often hear protestors saying that we need to switch to renewable energy sources. I agree, renewable energy is an important option for Canada to meet its climate action targets. However, a lot of people fail to recognize that we cannot make this switch overnight. This pipeline fits into Canada’s long-term energy transition strategy and will allow us the time and revenue to invest in energy alternatives. I also find it interesting that while people are so opposed to it,there is little regard for how integral fossil fuels are to our society and day-to-day life. Everything from our cell phones we use to Tweet about these opposition rallies to the sunscreen we use in the summer to our bikes we ride to lessen our environmental footprint – all are made using petroleum products. Q: Based on your research, what do you think will happen to the TMEP moving forward with the new BC government? A: I believe the TMEP will still move forward. The political environment is very unsettled in BC right now but the project is under federal jurisdiction and has already received a number of the necessary permits and approvals. I think if the pipeline was really as dangerous as the opponents say, it would not have gotten this far in the approval process. The new provincial government could impede the project by withholding permits and dragging out the process, but ultimately I believe the project will move forward. RACHEEEL To continue to follow Rachel’s attendance at TMEP events and see her analysis, stay tuned to Pulse Check. You can signup here for your monthly subscription. Her fresh perspective and bird’s eye view will provide you with the in-depth information about the supporters and critics shaping the conversation about the project. For a peek at what she’s done thus far, check out the May first and second and editions. Continued
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” –Peter Drucker, management consultant, educator and author. In order to be successful communicators we must first be successful listeners. Last month I attended the Sauder School of Business’ Unlimited Leadership conference. Darrell Kopke, former Lululemon General Manager and Kit and Ace CEO, spoke about how important it is for leaders to really listen. We are all guilty of it: Your co-worker is telling you about her recent trip to Hawaii and suddenly you remember a story from your trip to Mexico last spring that completely relates! You are like a cat stalking a mouse, waiting excitedly for your chance to pounce. While you wait, you are not actually focused on the story being told but instead listening for your own opportunity to speak. This is not actively listening. Your partner is telling you about his/her day at work and you are scrolling through your social media and screening emails while also watching the hockey game. This is not actively listening either. Actively listening, as Darrell Kopke described, is making the other person feel heard. When someone is talking to you, it is not about what you are getting out of the conversation, it is about satisfying the speaker’s need to be understood. Imagine if you were speaking to someone about a project that was proposed to go through your backyard, or about land that had belonged to your family for generations and carried immense sentimental value which was about to be developed. At the very least, you would want to be heard. You would want to be understood. At Communica listening is one of the most vital components of what we do. To best serve our clients we must first understand what they want, and how that relates to the wants and needs of others. The importance of listening to others applies to all engagement scenarios: a project open house, a conference, a meeting with Chief and Council, or any other landscape in which we operate. Actively listening means not only allowing engagement participants to express their thoughts and concerns but actually being an engaged listener. As consultants and communication professionals, actively listening is our duty. Listening is one of the necessary components of communication. Another key component is relaying our own message. Often when it is our turn to be the speaker, we are completely focused on the verbal aspect of sharing our views. In reality, verbal communication is a very small fraction of what communication encompasses. The majority of a message – 93% is the commonly used statistic – is delivered through nonverbal means. With nonverbal means being the major transmitter of a message, the importance of first impressions is magnified. Forbes magazine states that first impressions can be made within the first seven seconds of meeting someone. First impressions, especially in engagement are exceedingly important. They remain with us for lengthy periods and can be difficult to overcome. In our line of work we might only get one shot at building a relationship and it can be difficult to make a strong first impression. Within seven seconds of meeting someone, it is unlikely you are going to able to share a fascinating story, an insightful remark or communicate all the necessary information about a project, but your body language says it all. So adjust your attitude (yes people can pick up on this in 7 seconds!), straighten your posture, make eye contact, raise your eyebrows in acknowledgment , shake hands, lean in slightly and smile! Body language is the global language. It speaks without words and accounts for the majority of our conversations. As digital communication grows, it is imperative that we remember how to have face-to-face conversations. Social media has increased the ways we can communicate but it has also allowed the importance of nonverbal communication to be swept under the rug. Online, we are bombarded with information and it is easy to bring those blinders into our reality. Moving forward I challenge you to listen, to really truly listen to what those around you have to say, to be aware of your body language and realize the importance of nonverbal communication. There is power within silence and how we choose to handle silence directly reflects how well we communicate. Continued
Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) is currently one of the most closely watched infrastructure developments in Canada. The Project has been approved by the federal government and Kinder Morgan has indicated that construction is scheduled to commence in September 2017. As we enter the province of BC’s post-election phase and closer to potential construction, this Project will become increasingly controversial. For many, the TMEP represents virtually the only opportunity for Canadian production to access Pacific coastal tidewater for export to Asian markets. For many others, the TMEP represents environmental, safety and lifestyle disruption that needs to be prevented. Communica’s team in Vancouver has been following developments related to TMEP and other major infrastructure projects in BC, and Pulse Check represents intelligence gathering and analysis on what is occurring on the ground, beyond media headlines. We have firsthand exposure (and access) to the narrative surrounding the TMEP and we want to share this insight with you. This May, we have launched Pulse Check. Pulse Check is a bi-monthly newsletter that offers an exclusive all-encompassing view into the activity surrounding the TMEP. At Communica, we are on the front-line every day in British Columbia and Alberta helping clients make sense of these highly dynamic times. From this vantage point, we are able to sift through the traditional and social media noise for what actually matters and marry that with what we are seeing directly in the field. We use this information to interpret what is going on, and Pulse Check will deliver the reality assessment you need to truly understand risk and assess opportunity. To give you a taste of what’s to come, we’re offering our first edition free for you to read, absorb and determine whether you would find the information useful to you on a regular subscription basis. Commencing June 2017, a subscription for Pulse Check will be available for a monthly fee. We intend to continue publishing the newsletters until construction is complete and TMEP in is service. If you wish to subscribe, please visit our website and fill out our subscription form. A member of our team is also available to answer any questions you have at email@example.com. Continued
Fourcomm We stand at a very interesting time in terms of resource project development in British Columbia. The Province of BC has approved or is actively encouraging the development of major projects such as the Site-C Hydro Dam, the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and multiple Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals on BC’s coast. These projects are not only capturing headlines provincially, but globally. Communities, Indigenous groups, Industries and Governments are seeking more effective and collaborative ways to work together on shared interests. There is an understandable desire for all parties to be at the table at the onset on development, building a foundation based on mutual commitment, transparency and respect. Project teams require a recognition that success is directly linked to local community aspirations. Communica and Four Directions Management Services (FDMS) have worked alongside one another in various community engagement settings for many years. This year, we are taking our relationship to the next level and are proud to announce a new partnership, FourComm. FourComm provides a fresh approach to community engagement and consultation, one that goes beyond meeting the minimum regulatory requirements. We represent a strong, experienced team, with long-standing, positive relationships in BC. FourComm applies strategic techniques deeply rooted in First Nations practices, customs and traditions, while incorporating innovative stakeholder engagement and communication strategies designed specifically for each community. Understanding the landscape in which you operate is critical in risk management and risk reduction. FourComm can help build an enhanced understanding between various interests to develop long-term success for your project. Good engagement process design will make space to have a respectful dialogue without telling people how to think or feel, to find common ground and identify the “sweet spot” of creating knowledge and forging a path forward together, not in isolation. FourComm’s distinctive service offerings include relationship management, skilled facilitation and mediation, strategic stakeholder and Indigenous engagement and consultation, unique communication program development, and information management services. Guided by principles of respect and integrity, at its core, FourComm will support teams in reaching true collaboration and potential. We’re better together. Let’s talk. Visit FourComm.com Continued
What did we learn in 2016? Engaging against the backdrop of reduced budgets 2016 was a tough year. Few would disagree. We lost some of the world’s greatest music icons, a united European Union and certainty for Canada’s trade relationships under the new Trump administration. We also lost CapEx, and a lot of it. Canada’s oil industry reportedly lost an estimated $10billion. The economy dipped and many companies, and projects alike moved into survival mode. Jobs were slashed, budgets squeezed and energy proponents became increasingly apprehensive about spending at the local level on engagement and communication initiatives. We can’t blame them, after all, with all the uncertainty what if something changed and their project was shelved? Our clients know better than to over-promise and under-deliver. From our perspective, adaptation became the name of the consultation game. At Communica, we know you can’t shelve relationships because a project slows down or a budget is cut. In fact, in the somber financial forecast for many of the projects that came across our collective ‘desk’, we saw opportunities to strengthen relationships with stakeholders. Open houses, workshops and the suite of innovative communication tools that our team delivers on a regular basis didn’t fit within some of our budgets. So we asked ourselves: how can we meaningfully engage on a project and enhance our clients’ relationships with stakeholders while operating with minimal financing? Here’s a few engagement tools and tactics we found to be effective: Piggy-Back on the Initiatives of Local Community Organizations Keeping up a community presence and remaining accessible to stakeholders is crucial in a ‘lull’ period of a project. Local organizations and their events in the community offer great avenues to ensure people are informed of a project and allow for informal engagement and relationship building. Communica and our clients have volunteered at local festivals and food-drives, sat on committees, and have provided boardrooms and venue space for community organizations and helped out at their events. Pop-Up Engagement People have routines and busy lives, so why not go to them instead of inviting stakeholders to your event? We see value in making it easy for people to engage on a project. In Prince Rupert alone, we hosted numerous pop-up coffee chats at the local cafes frequented by First Nation community members and Rupertites alike. To target marine users, we even handed out coffee and muffins to local fisherman at 5:00am on the docks. This engagement is inexpensive, unexpected and effective in reaching the traditionally hard-to-reach. Online Polling Surveying individuals can be challenging outside of an open house setting or a door-to-door campaign. Last year, we leaned on online polling on existing project websites as a great tool to gather feedback about project details, what topics stakeholders would like to know more about, or how they wish to be engaged in the future. Polling is also handy because it can be sent out to stakeholders via e-blasts. Continued
How to take advantage of the new Renewable Electricity Program (REP) in Alberta The much-anticipated REP was released in November, when the Government of Alberta endorsed the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) and its recommendations. The plan is meant to spur the development of 5,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity generation between now and 2030, increasing capacity from 11 to 30 per cent in the province. In order to develop the program, the AESO posted a questionnaire on www.aeso.ca and sought feedback from developers/investors, associations and other interested parties in March 2016. What does the AESO have in mind? The REP is a series of competitions to stimulate development of renewable energy through the purchase of renewable attributes, otherwise known as Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). The successful bidders will be allowed to sell both their electricity production and renewable attributes, and will be granted a 20-year Renewable Electricity Support Agreement (RESA). The first “bid” is intended to procure up to 400 MW of renewable electricity in 2017. However, the AESO has outlined some rules for the first competition. To be eligible to participate, a project must: Be equal to or greater than 5 MW Be developed at the lowest renewable attribute price per megawatt hour (MWh)* Fulfil the Natural Resources Canada definition of renewable energy Be a new or expanded project in Alberta Reach an in-service date of 2019 Make use of the existing transmission and/or distribution system * For the first competition, the AESO has proposed an Indexed REC where bidders will submit an “all-in” price per MWh that they need to construct and operate their proposed project. The three-stage competitive bid process will unfold in 2017 and run for approximately seven to 11 months. Here’s what you should expect: Request for Expression of Interest (REOI): This first stage in the process is intended to attract market interest and provide relevant information regarding the bid process, expected to occur in Q1 2017. Request for Qualifications (RFQ): At this stage, bidders will submit their qualifications, including project proposals and structure of project teams, and the AESO will determine those who are eligible to participate in the REP – Q2-Q3 2017. Request for Proposals (RFP): Essentially, this is a pricing stage where bidders will provide their final offer to the AESO and the winners will be given the opportunity to enter into an RESA. Qualified bidders from the RFQ stage will confirm their initial proposals and the AESO will determine which bidders will be entitled to receive support payments in exchange for renewable attributes. This final stage is anticipated to last two to three months in Q4 2017. In a recent Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP analysis of AESO, the authors noted that there are still components that require clarification and potential challenges to anticipate: Fees: The Renewable Electricity Act specifies that the AESO will charge “reasonable fees” on both participants and generators that enter into RESAs for the purpose of recovering costs and expenses incurred in developing a proposal under the REP. The price of these fees is still unknown. Deadlines: Developers and regulators such as the Alberta Utilities Commission and Alberta Environment and Parks may face challenges in achieving the 2019 in-service deadline if a large number of projects are approved in this first competition. Delays: There is a significant potential for delay, considering that eligible projects need to use the existing transmission or distribution system in the province. New projects may struggle to complete requisite environmental studies, obtain regulatory approval and complete construction prior to 2019. The eligibility criteria favours projects that have already received regulatory approvals and that are located in proximity to pre-existing transmission infrastructure. Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the Renewable Electricity Program as it currently stands, what are your thoughts? Share your ideas with us below. Continued
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