A special €3 million fund to nurture new community investments is being established
Thirty-seven communities in 20 counties across Ireland are set to benefit from Government funding for energy upgrades.
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.
Denis Naughten, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, said the community energy grants are an example of a government project that is revitalising communities. It 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. The Minister secured €23 million for the 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,” he said.
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.”
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.
“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,” said Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI. “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.”
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