1.2 Getting key stakeholders on board

The business drivers and benefits of energy management vary from one mine site to another. Business drivers, such as energy prices and government legislation, also change over time. In order to establish the support of site management and staff (referred to as 'site stakeholders’ throughout this handbook), it is important to establish the business drivers and benefits that are particularly relevant to an operation and then to refine the communication of messages to match their particular interests. It is also important to understand what energy management activities have been undertaken in the past.

To establish how best to communicate the business case to engage site stakeholders, consider the following questions:

  • What business drivers and issues are currently site management’s priority?
  • How has the site performed from an energy productivity perspective (the ratio of energy input to tonnes of output) and what are the projections for future performance?
  • How have energy prices changed over the past few years and what are future price projections?
  • What impact will energy prices have on future site profitability?
  • What energy-efficiency or greenhouse gas regulations are relevant to the site?
  • Are there opportunities to access government funding for energy-efficiency or greenhouse gas reduction projects?
  • What energy-efficiency projects have been successfully introduced and what benefits have those projects delivered?

Once the site-specific business drivers and benefits are established, it is useful to consider the range of site stakeholders who can influence energy performance on the site. Each will have particular interests. To gain their support for energy management, it is important to consider the drivers and benefits that are most relevant to particular stakeholders and to modify communications with them to reflect this. Consider the following strategies that can be used to engage particular internal stakeholders:

  • The mine manager is the most senior executive at the site and has overall responsibility for mining and processing operations. Their main concerns are likely to be safety and meeting production and expenditure targets for the site. To obtain their support, it can be useful to relate energy management to production, safety and cost-reduction targets. Use positive examples from other sites to explain the major benefits and the risks that have been managed at those sites.
  • The mine superintendent, process superintendent or a similar supervisor has an executive role with responsibility for mining or processing operations. Their main concerns are likely to be safety and meeting performance and expenditure targets for the site’s operations. It is important to get to know their priorities and to identify any energy issues that are currently having an impact on operations. Explore with them how energy-efficiency projects will enhance the reliability of production, increase output, reduce site operational costs, reduce or defer future capital costs, or achieve any combination of those aims.
  • Finance managers have an executive role with responsibility for managing site expenditure. Therefore, their main concern relates to cost control. Get to understand their current investment priorities and challenges and describe how energy management can address them. You may also be able to highlight opportunities for R&D tax concessions or other government funding.
  • Environmental officers have responsibility for environmental planning and technical standards. They are concerned about environmental compliance and demonstrating environmental and energy-efficiency outcomes. To get their support, identify links between energy management and environmental issues on site (such as greenhouse gas emissions, water and waste). A focus on energy management may also help improve the data needed to meet compliance requirements.
  • Business improvement managers can play an important role in energy management because they typically have responsibility for identifying and implementing business improvement projects across the site. It can be useful to find out about their current priorities and projects, as there can be a strong alignment between energy management and the outcomes they are trying to achieve through business improvement and asset management planning.
  • Corporate affairs managers are responsible for creating and communicating the public image of the organisation. They can have good connections to external stakeholders, including government personnel, communities in general and the media. Corporate affairs managers will be interested in understanding both the risks and the opportunities associated with energy management. They can help to promote the positive outcomes achieved through energy projects, which can create greater interest and support for improvement both within and outside the organisation.

While this is not a complete list of site stakeholders, it does provide an indication of key stakeholders and the importance of understanding their perspectives and communicating the value of energy management in ways that align closely with their own priorities and projects. In this way, support for energy management can be built up over time—helping to build the number of people who have an eye out for energy-efficiency opportunities. They are far more likely to support implementation when there is alignment with their own goals.

Communicate clearly and regularly

The importance of energy management can be communicated in many different ways:

  • Establish regular opportunities to brief the site management team on energy management. Briefings may correspond with particular activities, such as the development or review of an annual energy management plan or the pending release of reporting data.
  • As you develop and integrate key performance indicators and targets for energy management, that information can be presented and reviewed at regular production meetings.
  • Involve staff in energy management teams and site assessment processes (as described in Part 2).
  • Use existing forms of communication, such as site or company newsletters, intranets, noticeboards and public reports.
  • Ensure that information on energy management is incorporated into site induction training

A senior environmental officer at New Hope Coal has described the approach they took to getting management support for energy efficiency projects (Box 1).

Box 1: A considered approach to obtaining management support for energy efficiency

'In planning our energy efficiency assessments we recognised the importance of involving senior site managers but knew that we had to do that in a way that didn’t draw too much on their time. First we conducted workshops that were aligned with our Lean Business Improvement Program in which we identified both energy efficiency and business improvement projects. Following those workshops we brought together the site General Manager with the Mining, Technical Services, Coal Preparation and Maintenance Superintendents.

'By having the key decision-makers together in one room for three hours we were able to quickly review and prioritise the projects that had been identified and identify new ones. Following the workshop formal capital expenditure proposals were developed for the prioritised projects. By involving senior site management early in the decision-making process, rather than waiting until after the business case is developed, there was greater awareness, buy-in and support from senior site management.

'One example of a successful project is an increase of the tray size and payload on the 785 dump truck fleet at New Acland Coal Mine which is located to the north-west of Oakey in Queensland This has led to an energy saving of approximately 3.685 TJ and $4.9 million per annum.'

—Senior environmental officer at New Hope Coal

Source: Department of Industry (2010), Driving energy efficiency in the mining sector, Canberra, 2010. p. 12.

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