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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.

Easter

Happy Easter!

10 ways to be sustainable this Easter weekend

Switch off!

Remember to turn the TV off after use. Leaving devices on standby wastes energy and can increase your electricity bills. A simple tip to reduce your energy consumption: if it’s not being used, switch it off. The same applies to lights, other household appliances and even your car. Switching off your car when you stop or pull over can reduce your carbon emissions, as leaving your engine idling can have an impact on your environment.

Open up your blinds

Opening up your blinds or curtains can brighten up your home. Use as much natural light as possible before switching on lights or lamps. Plus you can enjoy some more sunshine (while we have it!).

Turn down the heating

Try to keep your heating switched off for as long as possible. When you do get cold, try wearing an extra jumper or wrap up in a cosy blanket.

Recycle those Easter Eggs

After you’ve eaten all of your Easter eggs, you may be left with a lot of packaging. Remember to recycle the appropriate materials and correctly place them in the designated bin. Visit the EPA website for more recycling tips.

Get walking

Over this Easter weekend, swap in a walk instead of a drive when travelling within your 5km. Walking off the Easter eggs will benefit your health and wellbeing too.

Switch to reusable water bottle

When out and about, why not bring a reusable water bottle with you instead of buying single use plastic bottles. This is a simple change that anyone can make to live more sustainably.

Don’t forget your reusable grocery bags

Bring a reusable bag when you go shopping this weekend. Keep a few in the car or near the front door of your home so you don’t forget.

Buy your food locally

A shorter food chain can reduce waste before it reaches your home. Try buying your food this weekend from your local supermarket who supports food producers in your area.

Avoid food waste

Over the weekend, try to avoid food waste as much as possible. You can reduce your food waste by planning your meals in advance, saving your leftovers, and learning how to properly store food.

Spread the word

When speaking with friends and family this weekend, spread the word on your sustainable activities. Opening up the conversation on sustainability will help others to develop a new frame of mind. Setting an example for others can be both powerful and influential.

From all of us here at 3cea, we wish you and your family a very Happy Easter weekend!

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/

 

3cea CEO Paddy Phelan discusses Microgeneration on Morning Ireland

3cea were asked to participate in a radio interview on microgeneration for the Morning Ireland show on RTE 1 Radio this morning.

The news piece featured on the show between 7 and 8am with a panel of speakers discussing the benefits to microgeneration.

The news piece included insights from Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, 3 Counties Energy Agency CEO Paddy Phelan, Tommy O’Shea of O’Shea Farms, Piltown Co. Kilkenny and Dara Lynott, CEO of the Electricity Association of Ireland.

Listen to the interview in full here.

 

 

Better Energy Communities Grant 2021- Online Information Event

3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea) will host a free online event to introduce the Better Energy Communities Grant which is currently open for applications for the 2021 programme.

Date & Time: Tuesday 24th November at 11am-12pm

Register for the event here.

The free online energy information event encourages businesses and community groups to hear from our experts in 3cea to discuss the benefits of the Better Energy Communities Grant.

Businesses, community groups, GAA clubs, crèche owners, schools and many more interested parties are invited to attend as each are eligible to receive up to 30-50% grant aid for their energy projects.

Our energy expert, Fintan O’Hora will host the event on Tuesday November 24th at 11am. Interested groups will gain the required information and support they need to get their Better Energy Communities Grant Programme (BEC) application over the line ahead of the December deadline. Read more

Sustainable Energy Communities – South East SEC Webinar Series

Online Information Events for Communities to be part of the Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) Programme

The aim of these events is to provide basic information and introduce community groups from the South East to the SEC programme, highlighting the recruitment process, community engagement, grants, and funding opportunities. We will provide helpful tips on how to register as a Community for the SEC programme and what you need to do to be successful.

This webinar series will encourage communities in the South East of the country to engage with the SEC programme. The informative events will take place online with each event focusing on a separate topic.

SEC Webinar Series
The dates, topics and registration links are as follows:

22nd Sept: Recruitment Jane Wickham. Southeast SEC Coordinator | Register here
29th Sept: Community Engagement – Fiona O’Loughlin, Wexford SEC Mentor | Register here
6th Oct: Grants – Yvonne Byrne, Waterford SEC Mentor | Register here
13th Oct: Funding Opportunities – Therese Curran, Kilkenny SEC Mentor | Register here

Read more

SEAI Celebrates 300 Sustainable Communities with 4th Annual National Sustainable Energy Community Event in Athlone

On Saturday the 22nd of June 2019, the SEAI welcomed sustainable energy advocates from all parts of the country to Athlone Institute of Technology for its fourth annual National Sustainable Energy Community Event. This event celebrated community involvement in SEAI’s Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) program.

There are over 300 SEC network members in Ireland at the moment, each community at varying stages of the journey to becoming more sustainable and taking control of their energy use. 

3CEA Senior Energy Engineer Alex Hamilton was delighted to attend the SEC event and join the conversation as we are now facing an enormous challenge in relation to climate change.  In fact, the new climate action plan outlines plans for 1500 SECs. Leading energy transition is dependent on the commitment & passion at community level. Watch this space. Read more

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