Deliver stakeholder value
TenneT plays a vital role in society. Our work makes a fundamental difference to the people living and working in the areas we serve and involves a wide range of stakeholders. These include our shareholder, local communities, our employees, regulators, investors, NGOs, politicians, the media, customers, suppliers and other European TSOs.
Because we operate in a stakeholder arena with many different, sometimes conflicting, interests at play, it is important to maintain a relationship with stakeholder groups and see where and how we can deliver value. Our goal is to live up to our values, i.e. being responsible, engaged and connected, when addressing our stakeholders’ concerns. Creating acceptance and understanding for what we do within the highly complex and relevant energy sector is very important to us.
With many stakeholders to interact with, transparent communication and constructive dialogue are vital to us. We need to properly understand each party’s expectations and be able to update them on our activities, inform them of our plans and address their concerns as best and as early as we can. As our range of stakeholders is very diverse, we need to consider each group’s questions, concerns and needs individually.
This diversity requires a proactive and coordinated approach to stakeholder management and communication – which we take very seriously. This approach can be summarised as follows:
1. Understand background context and stakeholder concerns
Before we contact stakeholders, we do our homework. We find out as much as we can about a specific situation to understand the challenges and background context.
2. Take the different interests into account
Dialogue with stakeholders at an early stage helps us understand the different interests and perspectives we need to address. It’s up to us as experts to provide insight into the effects of complex issues and the associated decisions.
3. Make every effort to create value for society and stakeholders
TenneT strives to create value for stakeholders, at a European and national level by guaranteeing security of supply and at a project level by implementing (innovative) solutions for (local) needs and issues, where possible.
4. Telling a clear story, with transparent roles and responsibilities
It is essential that all stakeholders clearly understand who we are, what we do and why we do it. We need to explain that we have a legal responsibility to perform our work – which concerns critical national infrastructure – and that our projects have a long lead time. We also aim to explain the specific purpose and importance of everything we do.
5. Reliable and responsible from start to finish
We aim to carry out our social duty with respect for the environment and taking responsibility for all our stakeholders. The consequences of our actions are central to our considerations, even when we make decisions that people may not (entirely) support.
Measuring and monitoring
To know if we are on the right track and whether we should continue or maybe change the way we work, we measure and monitor our performance, and the perception thereof, on a regular basis. We test opinions and sentiments by conducting stakeholder satisfaction surveys – with employees and customers – and we also monitor and analyse our media exposure, and make a real-time analysis of social media. We conducted a qualitative corporate reputation survey in late 2017 among our stakeholders in the Netherlands and Germany, a repeat of the one we carried out in 2015.
The survey explored our reputation in terms of performance, appeal, trust and responsibility. It examined our image and whether our brand values are recognised by stakeholders. The survey also tracked how our reputation was perceived in the Netherlands and Germany between 2015 and 2017.
We are proud of the results of this survey, which have shown that we currently have a fairly good to very good reputation. In the Netherlands, our stakeholders see an improvement over time; we have developed a stronger outward focus, have become more sensitive to the interests of others and have a more constructive attitude. We recognise, however, that this is an ongoing process and is not sufficiently embedded yet among all TenneT teams and employees.
In Germany it became clear from many survey respondents that TenneT is regarded as the country’s leading TSO. We are seen as the leading force behind innovative solutions that facilitate the energy transition. Scepticism among our stakeholders is growing, however. Some respondents fear that the planned phase-out of nuclear power by 2022 will be obstructed by technical challenges, including the grid not being ready and storage solutions still needing to be developed.
The respondents of the survey acknowledge that TSOs face multiple challenges in the energy transition. Many also described positive experiences with TenneT, where our employees are considered as friendly, competent and proactive at finding good solutions.
Although we believe we are on the right track, we need to keep improving. And that’s important to keep in mind, as the energy transition is not something we can achieve on our own; we rely on a transparent relationship with our stakeholders that is based on trust.
True Value Doetinchem Wesel
The new interconnector between Doetinchem in the Netherlands and Wesel in Germany is essential to ensure the continued development of the North West European electricity market, to safeguard security of supply and to be able to exchange sustainable electricity.
Construction started in 2015 and the interconnector is expected to be fully operational by late 2018. When completed, the interconnector will be 57 kilometres long and will have a physical transport capacity of 1,500 MW. To achieve this, we have installed 108 Wintrack pylons and carried out other construction in the region for over two years.
TenneT is fully aware of the impact, both positive and negative, that the construction of this interconnector has on society and the environment – an impact that will continue when it is up and running. Being honest about the impact of this new interconnector is crucial in our dialogue with stakeholders.
Maria van der Heijden, Director CSR Netherlands: “Infrastructure companies have a vital role to play in the transition towards a sustainable economy. Being transparent about their financial, ecological and social impact is for the benefit of companies and society as a whole".
As such, we carried out a case study last year into how to monetise the impact of one of our smaller projects in Apeldoorn, link. This year we decided to take the next step and carry out a case study into how to monetise one of our major projects, i.e. the new Doetinchem-Wesel interconnector. Because the methodology is still being developed, we are being transparent about the calculation method we are using and have posted this on our website. The outcome of this case study should not be seen as absolute truth, but as an indication of the most material impact.
Otto Jager, Chief Financial Officer TenneT: "As a company that serves society, we understand that the impact of our projects is multi-layered and not merely financial. With these studies, we aim to be equally transparent about our financial and non-financial impact."
For this case study, we focussed on the Dutch part of the new interconnector and the impact of the project on Dutch society compared to a situation with no new interconnector. The case study considered all the steps in the value chain, i.e. raw material extraction and production, the construction phase, the operation of the high-voltage connection and end of life.
In each step of the value chain, we determined the financial, social and environmental impact based on the most material aspects. The activities for each of these aspects were then translated into euros, which resulted in positive and negative social, environmental and financial volumes.
The results of the case study show that the economical impact is by far most significant. The economic impact includes the employment generated by the construction and operation of this interconnector, the price benefit of this interconnector when it is in operation and the investment costs, which have a negative economical impact for society. The societal impact is minimal, because the impact of the connection on the living environment can be seen as neutral, since the new connection is replacing an existing connection. For the environmental impact, carbon footprint, material depletion and biodiversity were taken into account. Although the carbon emissions and material depletion have some impact, this is minimal compared to the economical impact. For more information on the assumptions and conversion factors, click here.