Funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) announced that an initial €22 million will fund energy upgrades to 1,200 homes and 400 community and commercial buildings across 37 communities. The support underpins total investment of €52 million and means the communities will have warmer and healthier buildings, lower energy bills, and reduced harmful CO2 emissions. There are also significant employment and competitiveness benefits locally and nationally.
“Community-led electricity and energy projects offer a real opportunity for local economic growth. The community energy grants are an example of a government project that is revitalizing communities. This has brought hundreds of community groups together to take control of their energy usage and make the system work for them, with lower bills, warmer homes and local jobs. I secured €23 million for this Scheme this year, which was a significant budget increase and marked a new record level of funding for community energy.
“There are incentives for communities that focus on clean and renewable energy as every application that incorporates solely renewable energy receive bonus marks at project evaluation. Further bonus marks were awarded for those projects that met exceptionally high air quality standards. In addition, more than 100 community groups joined SEAI’s energy community network and entered a partnership agreement with the SEAI to benefit from a special fund worth €3m which supports new community projects. We must do all we can to nurture the great potential that is out there. If you can provide the local knowledge, time and people, the Government will support you with mentoring, energy expertise, and guaranteed funding to support your local energy projects.”
– Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment
“SEAI’s community grant scheme enables community-wide energy improvements across a range of buildings, achieving it more efficiently and cost effectively than might otherwise be possible. This means better value for the communities themselves and for the public monies invested. The community energy approach also builds innovative and pioneering partnerships, such as collaborations between public and private sectors, commercial and not-for-profit organisations, financing entities and energy suppliers. It also empowers the communities to determine their own route to a better energy future.
“Clean energy is vital for the health and well-being of our country and future generations. Now more than ever, we are encouraging people to act where they can, even if it is small first steps in the right direction. At the very least, we ask people to find out more about the behaviours they can change, and the supports now available, to see what might be suitable for their home.”
– Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI
For this year’s programme, SEAI emphasised the benefits for communities to use renewable energy resources. Successful projects include technologies such as; solar panels for heat and electricity, heat pumps, biomass boilers, a wind turbine and a combined heat and power unit.
The 37 projects are in twenty different counties across the country.