Communities putting shoulder to wheel with renewable energy projects

More communities than ever before are coming together to develop renewable energy projects in their own localities, according to a Kilkenny-based energy engineer.

Gráinne Kennedy of independent energy agency 3cea (3 Counties Energy Agency) said that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation has experienced one of its busiest years on record in terms of the growing number of community groups that they are working with to reduce their energy costs and cut down on harmful carbon emissions:

“What we have particularly noticed in recent years is a dramatic increase in community groups and organisations who are actively seeking information on how to undertake energy efficiency retrofits – be they community centres, sports clubs, parish committees, childcare centres, community health organisations such as organisations that provide accommodation and supports to the elderly, national schools …. the list is growing by the week.

“It’s a win-win situation for these groups and organisations. Through the SEAI Sustainable Energy Community programme that 3cea delivers, they’re supported with capital funding, partnerships and technical support on energy saving projects. And now with the introduction of the government’s Renewable Energy Support Scheme, communities can set up their own solar farm or wind farm and sell that power to the national grid. Given that so many communities are taking an interest in their carbon footprint, the demand for information about community renewable energy projects has never been greater.”

To meet this demand, 3cea with the support of Kilkenny LEADER Partnership has organised a two-part online webinar aimed specifically at community groups in Kilkenny who are interested in developing a renewable energy project. The event takes place at 9.30am and 10.45am on Tuesday, 22nd June through Zoom and community groups and representatives can register for this FREE online webinar at http://bit.ly/KilkennyGridStudy.

The first session, hosted by Rory Mullan of electrical engineering consultancy Mullan Grid Consulting, will discuss the findings of a recent grid study carried out in the Kilkenny area. All energy produced by a renewable energy project must be transported via the grid to homes and businesses across the country. For a community renewable energy project to be feasible there must be capacity available in the grid to take the energy produced. This session will help attendees to identify if there is an opportunity to connect to the grid in their area. They can also see where the ideal location for a renewable energy project would be.

Part two of the webinar will be presented by Tom Bruton, of BioXl, an energy consultancy with expertise in renewable energy. It will look at the key steps and considerations a community must take in the development of a renewable energy project, such as securing land rights, constraint mapping, planning assessments and submission, grid application submission, payment milestones, qualifying and tendering for auction, preparing legal structures and community investment proposals.

* For any queries on this event, please contact Mari or Patrick on events@3cea.ie

For more information on 3cea’s range of community programmes, visit our Community page here.

Kilkenny County Council

Kilkenny County Council achieve ISO 50001 Certification

Kilkenny County Council recently achieved ISO 50001 Standard for their energy use, guiding the council to the 50% energy efficiency improvement target set for 2030.

The ISO 50001 certification is a global standard for energy use and energy consumption. It recognises Kilkenny County Council‘s commitment to continuously improve their energy performance.

Kilkenny County Council ISO

Paddy Phelan, CEO for 3cea, Cllr. Andrew McGuinness, Cathaoirleach, Kilkenny County Council, and Anne Marie Shortall, Senior Executive Officer, Environment, Kilkenny County Council PICTURE: Vicky Comerford

Andrew McGuinness, Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council, welcomed the news of the ISO 50001 certification.

“I am delighted that the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) following an extensive audit have confirmed that the Council’s energy systems comply with the ISO 50001 standard,” he said.

“This is the culmination of many years of work by the staff of Kilkenny County Council, in particular the energy team who have worked hard to achieve the standard and I commend them for their efforts.”

Senior staff in all departments in the council participate in their energy team. The energy team play a significant role in the management of energy from their office buildings, to public lighting and the council’s fleet of vehicles.

We at 3cea were delighted to support Kilkenny County Council in their journey to achieving the ISO 50001 energy standard.

Collette Byrne, Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council, highlighted the role each member in the council plays when it comes to energy management.

“Our commitment to improving energy performance is reflected in our Energy Policy and in our Climate Action Charter,” she said.

“The ISO 50001 standard will help us deliver the target of 50% improvement in energy efficiency over the next 10 years as set in the National Climate Action Plan.”

In terms of energy efficiency, Kilkenny County Council have also achieved the 33% target set for Local Authorities in 2020. This achievement, along with the most recent ISO 50001 accreditation, puts the council in a great position to tackle the ambitious targets set for 2030.

To continuously improve, the council take on many tasks such as, tracking energy consumption, setting energy targets, undertaking energy audits and looking to increase energy efficiency.

Over the years, Kilkenny County Council have conducted various projects to improve their energy performance. One such project is the Public Lighting Energy Efficiency project where the council upgraded 11,000 public lights across the county with more energy efficient LED lanterns (over 50% completed to date).

Similar projects include the upgrading of their buildings with improved heating systems and upgraded building fabric; energy saving controls and sensor systems installed in council offices and for their transport fleet, the council implemented an eco- driver training programme.

To learn more about how we support Local Authorities, visit our Public Sector page here.

ISO 50001

ISO 50001 Certification for Wexford County Council

Supported by 3 Counties Energy Agency, Wexford County Council has achieved the globally recognised international energy management standard, ISO 50001, becoming more advanced in optimising their energy efficiency.

The ISO 50001 standard was developed to support public and private sector organisations committed to efficient energy management providing the most robust framework for achieving cost and carbon emission reductions. It demonstrates that Wexford is taking a systematic and logical approach in its responsibility to continually improvement energy management as part of Climate Action goals and commitments.

Commenting on the council’s energy management and ISO50001 certification,Councillor Ger Carthy, Cathaoirleach, Wexford County Council said ‘We are very proud to achieve this standard. In achieving this international accreditation energy performance improvement is on the top of the agenda for the organisation and I commend all involved for the great work done to date. Wexford County Council has committed to effective energy management and will meet 2020 public sector energy efficiency targets and has improved performance by 29% in 2019 when compared to the 2009 baseline period. The ISO50001 certification will be the basis of formulating a pathway to reach energy efficiency and carbon target for 2030 and beyond’.

Tom Enright, Chief Executive of Wexford County Council said ‘achieving this standard is a significant accomplishment given the diversity of services that local authorities offer. We are focused and fully committed to continuously improving energy performance in all our operations. This year will see the completion of an extensive public lighting upgrade resulting in significant energy and operational costs savings. Upon completion approximately 97% of the public lights within the county will have been converted to high efficiency LED technology.’

Read more

STEPS First Voucher Applications Being Considered

STEPS First Voucher Applications are currently being considered and the Irish SMEs are expected to be announced later this month. STEPS (STORAGE OF ENERGY & POWER SYSTEMS) is an Interreg NWE funded project that will assist 3cea to identify small-scale energy storage systems suitable for two testbeds in our region. The project gives funding and testbeds to SMEs to allow them to develop their products and increase their Technology Readiness Level (TRL). To read more about 3cea’s activities in STEPS, see here.

The project started in 2020 and in March 2021, over 60 SMEs across Europe applied to access the support vouchers that the scheme offers. The first voucher support will initially give the SMEs €12K of support to develop their products. The Irish SMEs are being selected and will be matched with supporting universities, both NUIG and elsewhere in Europe. 3cea will be in the position to confirm the successful STEPS first voucher applications from our region within the next month. Those SMEs that are not selected for the 1st Voucher Support are invited to apply again for the second call opening in June 2021. To learn more about the STEPS project and how you can apply, see the STEPS Business Support Programme on Interreg NWE’s site.

Irish Local Authorities advised to prepare for EUCF 2nd Call

Irish Local Authorities are being asked to prepare for the second call of the European City Facility initiative (EUCF) which will open later this month. The second round of this European project will see a greater number of selected applicants benefit from the support and grant funding of €60,000 available to develop their sustainable energy project.

The call for applications will open from 29th March – 31st May.

For further information, including the revised guidelines for applicants and the eligibility criteria, visit the EUCF website for updates.

The EUCF team encourages Irish Local Authorities to identify their sustainable energy projects, get in touch with Ireland Country Expert, Siona Daly of Tipperary Energy Agency, and consult the EUCF website and / or helpdesk for any questions regarding the eligibility of their application.

For those in attendance, Siona Daly will be presenting the EUCF Second-Call at the AIEA webinar on April 13th. You may also register for our webinar on April 23rd 2:30 pm where Siona will discuss the EUCF and its application process. Registration for that webinar is available here. Finally, Siona will also be hosting one-to-one sessions for those that require assistance with their applications. To register your interest for this please email chealy@3cea.ie.

The EUCF project kicked off last year with great success. Over 250 applications from Local Authorities across the EU and the UK applied for the grant funding for their sustainable energy projects.

In June of last year, Irish Local Authorities were advised to join a webinar highlighting the benefits of applying for the initiative. Catch up on last year’s introduction to the EUCF initiative here.

To get advice on applying for the EUCF initiative, please contact Siona at ce.ireland@eucityfacility.eu.

500 Communities

Over 500 Communities engaging in SEAI Sustainable Energy Community Network

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) announced an increase in community groups joining their Sustainable Energy Communities Network.

SEAI recently reported that there has been higher engagement with their Sustainable Energy Communities Network as many new communities across Ireland have become Sustainable Energy Communities (SECs) this year.

Over 500 communities have become SEC members, with up to 25,000 citizens making a difference in their locality. Each of these SEC groups are progressing towards a low carbon future by implementing energy efficient measures in all aspects of the community, including their homes, shops, sports clubs and community buildings. Read more from SEAIs announcement here.

Of the 500 communities engaging in the SEC Programme, we at 3cea are delighted to see that over 60 of the communities are from the South East Region. Take a look at the SEC Map on the SEAI website to find your community.

For more information on community programmes and successful projects, visit: https://3cea.ie/sectors/community/

 

carlow Kilkenny Wexford energy performance

Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford on Track to Achieve 33% Energy Reduction Target by 2020

  • Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford County Councils are 30.8% more energy efficient than in 2009
  • The three counties avoided 22,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the decade 2009-2019

The recently published Annual Report on Public Sector Energy Efficiency Performance covering 2019 shows that the public sector was 29% more energy efficient and on course to achieve its 33% energy efficiency target in 2020, up from 27% the previous year. This is the third year of improved performance in a row, following the introduction of the Public Sector Energy Efficiency Strategy in 2017. The 2019 Climate Action Plan has increased the level of ambition for the public sector for the period up to 2030 by establishing two new complementary targets, a 50% improvement in energy efficiency and a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions.

Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford County Councils have committed to effective energy management to making energy savings and playing their part in meeting the public sector energy efficiency targets by 2030. Local Authorities in Ireland Account for 11% of the total public sector energy consumption. Read more

STEPS Business Support Programme February Update

Successful take-off STEPS Business Support Programme

In March 2021 energy storage technology in North-West Europe will get a boost as the Business Support Programme of STEPS begins. Up to 20 SMEs will each receive €12.5k worth of support from world renowned universities to further develop their energy storage solutions. We are excited to see the great interest in the programme as more than 55 SMEs have applied during this first open call.

Currently, the SMEs are being carefully selected and matched with the supporting universities. Applicants will be informed of the outcome in the beginning of March. SMEs that are not selected for the 1st Voucher Support are invited to apply again for the second call opening May-June 2021. Learn more about the programme and how STEPS can support you here.

To learn about 3cea’s involvement in STEPS and the project activities in the Kilkenny, Carlow, and Wexford region, click here.

STEPS is a collaborative initiative which aims to strengthen the competitiveness of innovative energy storage providers across North-West Europe.

 

sustainability tour

Engineers Ireland Sustainability Grand Tour – Design for Manufacture & Assembly – a digitised solution to low carbon modular homes

As part of the Sustainability Grand Tour series, this webinar will examine a digitised solution to low carbon modular homes for the Irish housing crisis and their delivery through Interreg Housing 4.0 Energy. In this session we will be joined by the 3 Counties Energy Agency who will outline H4.0 technologies and materials and provide information on pilot projects from Carlow, Wexford and Kilkenny County Councils. 3 Counties Energy Agency is a non-profit, independent energy agency working primarily in Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford. The event will conclude with a short Q&A session with the panel of speakers.

Event details

Date: Thursday, 25 February 2021 from 13:00-14:00

Location: Online event – Zoom

Register your attendance: https://www.engineersireland.ie/Events/event/7334

Agenda

  • 3 Counties Energy Agency’s Regional Energy Transition Strategy to 2030
  • Introduction to low carbon and innovative H4.0 technologies and materials
  • H4.0E Pilot projects from Carlow, Wexford & Kilkenny County Councils – The Challenge and Ambition
  • Q&A

CPD Details

  • CPD Award Hours: 1
  • CPD Organisation: Engineers Ireland
  • CPD Type: Prof Body Act
  • CPD Subtype: PB/Lecture
  • CPD Competences: T4. Personal and professional responsibility
Home Retrofit

3cea partner with ERI to provide home retrofit service for homeowners in the South East

3 Counties Energy Agency have partnered with ERI Managed Energy Solutions to deliver SEAI’s National Home Retrofit Scheme.

Homeowners in the South East of Ireland who wish to improve their home’s BER rating are being advised to apply for a new retrofit scheme which offers 35% grant aid.

Stephen Harte, Managing Director of ERI, offers his expertise on the new retrofitting scheme.

Stephen, the founder of ERI, has an Engineering qualification from University of Limerick with 30 years’ experience in the building and commercial sectors.

ERI specialises in helping homeowners with deep energy retrofits. Since starting in 2007, ERI  have carried out over 1,000 building energy assessments and consulted on hundreds of low energy construction projects.” 

In the last five years Stephen has spent three years as Project Manager for the deep retrofit scheme from its inception as a pilot in 2015 through to 2018. Stephen has also been involved in the management of over 150 end to end whole house retrofits in that time.

What is the National Home Retrofit Scheme?  Read more