Paddy Phelan CKEA attended COP21 conference on Climate Change, in Paris on the 2nd of December 2015, to give a presentation at a workshop hosted by Fedarene, to highlight the excellent work done by St Canices Credit Union, Kilkenny, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and the Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency. The main aim of the workshop was to analyze outstanding international local initiatives that contribute to the fight against climate change, to the local resource economy and the development of renewable energies. Hence, highlighting and supporting such initiatives through local actions and their contribution to global goals in the fight against climate change.
The Community Energy Loans (CELs) was initiated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland with St. Canice’s Credit Union Ltd. as lead Applicant and Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency as Project Coordinator. The programme was offering a loan Rate 6.4% (APR 6.6%), 30% loan on all energy efficiency upgrades. Home Renovation Incentive Scheme (HRI), 13.5 tax credit back over 2 Years and a sale of Energy Credits at €0.075 per kWh Saved. The Credit Union had a market of over 40,000 active member accounts.
The scheme was piloted for the year 2015, in total there were 81 expressions of interest from Credit Union members, with an uptake of 41 completed projects. For the first 6 months of the project the uptake was steady, with a total loan amount approved of €191,06.50 covering 22 energy upgrade projects. However, during the month of October and the first few days of November, there was an acceleration in loan approvals. These loan amounts were for €222,351.40 equating to 21 energy upgrades. Plans for 2016, it is hoped to launch the programme for 2016 during the winter months when people are more aware of energy costs and home comfort conditions. The aim is also to allow an application for a larger project which will greater improve and facilitate applicants during the winter period and to incorporate more Credit Unions within the County. Aso the the wish is to streamline the application process with the introduction of a online application and tender system. It is local initiatives like CELs at that can be the kick start in the fight to improve climate change.