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Balancing Act: Communicating America’s Energy Transition

America’s energy transformation is underway, and public opinion continues to shape its progress. While 67% of Americans endorse the development of renewables, there is still hesitancy towards a complete phase-out of fossil fuels.

According to Pew Research Center, only 31% of Americans support a total transition away from these energy sources. Most Americans oppose ending the production of gas-powered vehicles by 2035 and there’s limited support for steps like eliminating gas lines from new buildings.

At Avoq, we help our clients in the energy sector navigate the complex communications challenges posed by this environment through a combination of research, strategic communications counsel and innovative thinking.

We recently used our proprietary live social dashboard to track conversations of key stakeholders at CERAWeek, one of the largest energy conferences in the world. We discovered the opinions of energy industry insiders reflect the broader public. Recent discussions reflected a cautious industry stance on phasing out fossil fuels.

  • Case in point: A viral comment at CERAWeek from Saudi Aramco’s CEO Amin Hassan Nasser — “We should abandon the fantasy of phasing out oil and gas, and instead invest in them adequately, reflecting realistic demand assumptions.”  

For clean energy advocates, this context presents a challenge: They must balance the push for renewable energy and climate technology with the public’s focus on the benefits of conventional energy sources, such as lower costs and accessibility.

Though it may appear counterintuitive, the path for brands looking to maintain and grow support for a national energy transition is straightforward. They need to align with the American values of innovation and practicality.

Our experience working with leading energy companies and advocacy organizations has found the following principles are vital for effectively communicating about the energy transition:

  1. Highlight the Real-World Impacts of the Energy Transition: Beyond climate advocacy, address the public’s concerns around the transition. Focus on how renewable energy and new technology will reduce long-term energy costs, create jobs and improve public health through better air and water quality.
  1. Acknowledge the Role of Fossil Fuels: Although most Americans support efforts to reduce the effects of climate change, many see a continued role for fossil fuels. Acknowledging their short-term necessity and differentiating the most carbon-intensive resources from the less harmful, while stressing the long-term benefits of transitioning away, is essential.
  1. Demonstrate Clean Energy’s Diversity: Americans want energy diversity and affordability. Stress how integrating various renewables, such as hydro, wind and solar, along with innovative technologies such as battery storage, grid enhancements and AI, will strengthen reliability and reduce costs.
  1. Engage in a Dialogue with the Public. Don’t just broadcast messages. Partake in conversations about the news and trending topics. Participate in relevant discussions, hold town halls and engage in social media to meaningfully connect with the public.

Through strategic use of data-driven insights and proactive public engagement, companies, organizations and advocates can better lead the conversation on the energy transition. With this approach, they can craft a narrative that aligns with public sentiment and drives momentum for a clean, prosperous energy future.

About Rachel

Rachel specializes in strategic communications, public affairs and stakeholder engagement. She leads projects with a focus on energy, tech and infrastructure. Rachel leads the development and implementation of multi-faceted communications and stakeholder engagement campaigns that reach target audiences, increase brand awareness and advance critical energy infrastructure projects. She brings in-depth experience in implementing circular storytelling that leverages traditional press outreach, innovative digital and social media tactics, and owned content creation to elevate her clients and their stories.

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About Jeff

Jeff specializes in campaign management, digital communications, advertising, media relations and grassroots organizing. He has won several awards for his national work and engages with clients across industries, including energy, higher education, land use and the public sector. Jeff brings years of political and PR experience to Avoq, where he directs projects and oversees work plans. He also takes a hands-on role in developing media strategies and drafting scripts, ad copy, social media plans and other campaign materials.

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Connect with Jeff’s on LinkedIn.