Imperial Valley to San Diego
San Diego Gas and Electric partnered with Southwest Strategies to form the Community Alliance for the Sunrise Powerlink, a coalition of 100,000 residents, elected officials, businesses and labor leaders in support of the Sunrise Powerlink project.
Project: Sunrise Powerlink
Expertise: Coalition Building
Location: Imperial Valley to San Diego
“Southwest Strategies played a critical role in developing a targeted and effective public outreach strategy and message platform that helped us build a broad-based third party coalition that was instrumental in securing regulatory approvals for the Sunrise Powerlink.”
Project Manager, Sunrise Powerlink Transmission Line, SDG&E
San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E), the public utility that provides energy service to 3.6 million people in San Diego and southern Orange counties, hired Southwest Strategies to build support and secure approvals for the Sunrise Powerlink, a controversial 117-mile transmission line designed to transport renewable energy from the Imperial Valley to San Diego. Considered one of the most contentious infrastructure projects in California’s history, the Sunrise Powerlink project generated considerable opposition that required extensive community outreach and coalition building efforts.
SWS planned and launched a comprehensive community outreach campaign that included community engagement and the formation of the Community Alliance for the Sunrise Powerlink (CASP), a coalition of 100,000 residents, elected officials, businesses and labor leaders in support of the project.
Our team developed CASP fact sheets, newsletters, a website and brochures, as well as an advertising campaign. Specific activities included a series of open houses, one-on-one briefings, sponsorships at key community events and a business door-to-door walk. These activities also included developing fact sheets, maintaining a website, distributing newsletters and forming Community Councils to establish a two-way dialogue with residents.
Results – CPUC, USFS, BLM approvals
After helping to win project approvals from the CPUC, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, SWS also conducted construction outreach and continued to mobilize CASP at key milestones. Due in large part to the public affairs effort, the project was completed on schedule and energized in June 2012. Southwest Strategies’ community outreach program for the Sunrise Powerlink also netted four local and national awards from the Public Relations Society of America.