3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) welcomes Government’s announcement on Tuesday, 23rd March to approve a revised Climate Action Bill which includes specific targets on reducing carbon emissions over the next 30 years. The Climate Action Bill commits to a carbon neutral status for Ireland by end 2050 and halving the amount of greenhouse gas emissions within the next 10 years.
3cea sees the announcement as an opportunity to build on progress it has made in the region since it was established in 2002. The one-stop-shop is committed to driving social and behavioural change in the South East towards a low carbon economy. The non-profit agency drives sustainable energy projects offering commercial and business grants and supports, the Greener HGV Programme, National Home Retrofit Scheme, community and public sector projects working across homes, commercial properties, community, transport and agriculture and advice in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford.
Paddy Phelan, CEO of 3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) says it is the responsibility of each individual, business owner and community to come together to achieve Government’s ambitious targets and 3cea will be there to help. He explains,
“Whilst the Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford local authorities will be closely examining its strategic plan to facilitate and steer climate action in the area, everyone in the county has a role to play in achieving the ambition of the new Bill. In the south east region, we are in excellent position to develop an all-inclusive decarbonising plan in line with the requirements set out in the Climate Action Bill. There are some outstanding examples within local communities and industry, for example the Danone Plant locally has achieved zero carbon emission in its manufacturing. Likewise the local community groups taking energy action illustrate how each home, local business and individual can help contribute towards a carbon neutral Ireland. Small changes in our individual behaviour can change our carbon footprint and it all adds up.”
Tullow pioneer Climate Action in Carlow
Tullow Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) was formed with a vision for Tullow to become an energy efficient community that reduces its carbon footprint and have a positive impact on the local community, farms and businesses in the town. With the assistance of 3cea and Carlow County Development Partnership the town secured grant-aid to carry out an energy master plan for Tullow. Earlier this year a study of energy use across residential, farm, businesses and community buildings has been commissioned. Tullow joins more than 500 sustainable energy communities across Ireland, and is set to put in place energy efficiency and renewable energy actions to deliver cleaner and greener energy across Tullow.
Callan Community Energy Company pioneer Climate Action in Kilkenny
The Callan Community Energy Company (CCE) is set to re-energise Callan, with an ambitious plan for the town to transition to producing all of its own carbon-neutral energy by 2030.
CCE signed up to the National Energy Communities programme with SEAI in 2016 and work is ongoing on its energy masterplan to measure how much energy Callan uses, its potential to generate energy from renewables as well as exploring opportunities for saving energy reducing emissions.
With 3cea’s assistance the Callan Community will benefit from the potential of grant aid for energy upgrades, lower energy bills, lower carbon emissions and envisions creating direct and indirect jobs and economic benefits as a result of the activities of the company. Other activities include workshops and energy training courses for all community stakeholders and a point of contact for all energy related ideas and energy related enquiries locally.
Kiltealy Community Centre and Enniscorthy Sustainable Energy Community pioneer Climate Action in Wexford
With the assistance of 3cea, Kiltealy Community Centre in County Wexford benefitted from the ‘Better Energy Communities Grant Scheme’. The project resulted in clear efficiencies in its energy consumption. Built in the 1950s the community centre was in need of attic insulation, a boiler upgrade, cavity wall works, window and lighting upgrades and high efficiency heating devices which were all installed with 3cea’s guidance. The energy agency oversaw the entire project, assisted with grant approval, securing contractors and ensuring that the work was carried out to the highest standard. A grant was approved in the amount of €45,000 for the project and the saving for Kiltealy Community Centre are €680 annually.
Another example is Enniscorthy Sustainable Energy Community whose vision is to create a sustainable town that prioritises the health and wellbeing of the community, now and for future generations. The Air Quality Index for Health* has been recorded as “poor” and “very poor” in Enniscorthy, especially during certain weather conditions.
The goals for Enniscorthy to improve the air quality through the reduced use of fossil fuels, reduce the health impacts caused by poor air quality and increase the use of renewable energy to increase efficiency and comfort levels in homes, community centres, schools and parish buildings.
Clashmore and Kinsale Beg Community Council SEC pioneer Climate Action in Waterford
Clashmore and Kinsale Beg Community Council SEC with the support of the SEAI and 3cea has produced an Energy Masterplan to look at ways the community can reduce its use of energy and ways in which it can produce energy. Using the priorities of the Master Plan it has held public meetings to explain what grants are available and demonstrated the benefits of electric cars for the community. During Covid, a Zoom seminar for farmers on the benefits of solar power was held. Two local organisations receive insulation and lighting upgrades for their buildings under the Better Energy Community scheme. Its next project is to explore the possibility of a Community Solar Farm under the Government’s RESS auction scheme and it has identified land for this venture.
John Carley Chairman, 3cea commented,
“3cea looks forward to supporting the Government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions across the nation. In particular we will support people throughout Wexford and the local authorities to implement their plans within the region.”
3cea is the regions one-stop-shop for achieving sustainability across industry, community and agriculture in Wexford delivering low carbon homes, jobs and enterprise. The agency project-manage the entire works through from initial funding application to final sign-off ensuring a quality project is delivered. 3cea is proud to have achieved a carbon reduction of two percent in 10 years across the South East and beyond and continue to work to reduce it in the years ahead.
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