SEAI Energy Community Network has Potential to Influence Up to €500 Million Energy Spend

Network Has 55 Members and Rapidly Gaining Momentum

Media Release

30th November 2016:  The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s (SEAI) sustainable energy community network now has 55 member organisations from across the country, committed to working together as a national movement towards a low carbon future.  The sustainable energy communities (SECs) aim to influence a collective energy spend of approximately €500 million within their communities, making them more sustainable through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD spoke at the first national meeting of the network in Longford on Saturday and heard first hand of the work of network members to date.  Many of the communities have already completed energy upgrades to homes, schools, sports and parish facilities and business premises. The more advanced members are investigating options for community led renewable energy projects at small and larger scales.

Speaking at the event Minister Naughten said: “The Energy White paper firmly positioned the citizens and communities at the heart of Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy.  With Ireland currently spending €4.6 billion a year on fossil fuel imports, SEAI’s sustainable energy community network is an opportunity for those communities willing to take early action and lead on the climate and energy agenda. It puts the power firmly in the hands of communities by providing them with the support to take control of lowering their energy use and availing of local renewable energy sources.”

Commenting on the benefits, Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI said: “It’s great to see more and more communities join what is now truly a national movement. Individual groups are benefitting from more efficient, warmer homes and businesses and cleaner energy sources. The real power of this network comes from within. The shared experiences of the members are invaluable, given that opportunities and challenges are often very similar across the communities. We want to build knowledge and confidence in citizens and communities across the country so that they can have a more determining control of their sustainable energy transition. The SEAI sustainable energy communities network provides a platform where people can learn from one another, and have open and rational discussion around both energy efficiency and renewable energy as it applies to their own community.

SEAI provides a mix of advice, expertise and financial assistance to support individual communities with what can seem like a daunting challenge. We have a panel of expert mentors to support communities throughout their journey. In the early stages this might be helping them understand their energy needs, and then as they grow in confidence and capacity helping them take actions to use less and use clean”.

Further details on the Sustainable Energy Communities Network can be found atwww.seai.ie/sec

ENDS

For further information:

Luke McDonnell, Drury | Porter Novelli

01 260 5000 /luke.mcdonnell@drurypn.ie

Notes to editor

Notable Energy Communities

Camphill

Camphill are a lifesharing community of about seventy-five people, some of whom have special needs, and who live together with volunteers of all ages and nationalities. Ballytobin was established in 1979 in the South East of Ireland as a therapeutic community for children and adults with multiple disabilities. In 2015 Camphill Communities of Ireland co-ordinated sustainable energy projects which involved energy upgrades to 78 buildings including commercial, residential and community buildings. The measures included biogas electricity generation system, biomass boilers, solar panels and a wind turbine. The annual energy savings are estimated at €300,000 which is equivalent to a 20% reduction in energy use.

Aran Islands

The island community has partnered with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to deliver a range of community-led action and supporting analysis by SEAI has verified that the goal of carbon neutrality by 2022 is entirely achievable. Three hundred and fifty three homes and community buildings, representing two-thirds of buildings on the Islands, have completed energy upgrades with support from SEAI, improving insulation levels and installing efficient heating systems. This is resulting in more comfortable homes and lower energy bills with annual energy savings of €250,000 accruing to the Islanders. A trial of electric vehicles in partnership between the community and SEAI also demonstrated how transport fuel needs can be dramatically reduced.  Analysis shows that energy imports could be reduced even further by replacing Aran Islands heating systems with electrified heating systems powered by wind or wave energy in the future.

Full List of Sustainable Energy Community Network Member Organisations

Aran Co Op    D21
Transition KerryCoiste Cultur Teanga Agus Forbatha Thuar Mich Edaigh Teo
Claremorris & Western District Energy Co OpCloughjordan Ecovillage
Inishbofin IslandBallyhoura Development Ltd
St Catherines Cultural Centre, Kinsale, CorkLárionad Acmhainnt Nádúrthallanteo
Lanesboro Village, LongfordShrule Community
Udaras Community ProjectCarbery Housing Association, Skibbereen
Galway City CouncilCRES Templederry
Polecat Group Roscommon Water SchemeKerry County Council
TerenureBlackwater Garden Centre, Youghal
Forbairt Chonamara Láir TeoCurry Community Hydro Co Ltd, Sligo
Carrigaline Tidy TownsCluid Housing Association (Nationwide)
ECTC - DUETNorth Leitrim SEC
Collaborative Ways Forward GalwayAbbeyleix Tidy Towns / Abbeyleix ABC
Drogheda energy groupEnergy Cork
Wicklow SECKerry  Sustainable Energy Coop
Ecomerit, WexfordDungloe Community Network
Valentia IslandCaherconlish Caherline Community Council Ltd
NUIGRailway View, Monaghan
Dunleer Community Development BoardGMIT Mayo Campus
Tipperary COMWESCO - Westport Environmental Sustainable Community
Galway CoOp Housing Development Society GCHDSMaghera Development Association
Clashmore & Kinsale BegMulranny Green Plan Group
Athlone Tidy TownsColpe Cross, Drogheda
Knocklyon NetworkCastleblaney Sustainble Energy Group
Mohill Community Development Association LtdLaurencetown Community Development Company
Comhchoiste Ghaeltacht Uíbh RáthaighSustainable Clonakilty Ltd.
Tallaght Renewable Energy Coop (TREC) 
 
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