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Old Leighlin lead the way to mapping a plan to be part of the climate action programme

The All of Government Climate Action Plan aims to expand the SEC Network to 1500 communities all over Ireland receiving support to plan for a sustainable energy future.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Old Leighlin have done it again. Like they always do. Securing hard fought national grant aid to become Carlow’s first community with the first completed Energy Masterplan in County Carlow.

Old Leighlin is a beautiful place, standing on raised ground overlooking rolling hills and valleys with spectacular vistas.

Following several workshops, and community consultations, the community of Old Leighlin came together and held a public information meeting which was very well attended.  The local community group knew they were on to something. The positive energy in the room was evident and with that a clear vision emerged from the meeting – to establish Old Leighlin as an energy efficient community. The local community group, brimming with drive and dedication, worked in collaboration with Carlow County Development Partnership CLG, and with assistance from us 3cea, and Planenergy Consulting, to complete an Energy Masterplan with grant aid of €10,000 received from SEAI.

Following on from initiating and progressing the Energy Master Plan for the village, Old Leighlin explored different ways in which they could enhance and preserve its beautiful landscape to continue to maintain its natural ambience in a sustainable manner.

Old Leighlin are continuously looking to improve and explore innovative ways to address climate change and make a difference to all the community. Their interest in promoting Energy Efficiency, Water Conservation and Quality, and Biodiversity, are all fundamental essentials that the community believe are the tools needed to preserve ancient Old Leighlin while embracing modern Old Leighlin.

With constant support from Carlow County Development Partnership, Old Leighlin Community Hall and Old Leighlin Tidy Towns were able to access expertise and know-how to reflect on the value of what was present in their village and learn how to protect Old Leighlin and their natural resources into the future.

The Energy Master plan surveys and documents the community’s energy consumption and will also highlight buildings and areas where alterations and improvements can be made to upgrade energy efficiency reduce carbon emissions and reduce consumption in the community. This will enable members to carry out necessary upgrades, where possible thereby, reducing their energy bills, and afford a more comfortable and sustainable living.

Representatives from Old Leighlin stated that the support received from Carlow County Development Partnership made a complicated process much easier. Alice, a committee member from Old Leighlin said ‘we are really delighted to have got this far. The support from the community and from Carlow Development, at each and every step made the difference.  They supported and enabled us to focus on the next step rather than get overwhelmed by the whole project, which still seems enormous to us. I have to say that while the detail required for the application worried people within the community at the start, bit by bit we found the confidence to keep going’. She further commented on the Water conservation and Biodiversity training programme which were also facilitated by Carlow Development through LEADER funding.

Speaking to the Nationalist, Marina DeCosta of Carlow Development extended her congratulations to the community of Old Leighlin and added ‘the journey was long and hard. Sometimes it felt we would have to take a step back, particularly in light of the complications and hurdles that were created due to COVID. However, the resilience and determination of the committee along with partners 3cea and Planenergy overcame a multitude of barriers. Old Leighlin can proudly take ownership of the very first EMP to be launched in County Carlow.

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Glenmalure

Glenmalure Rural Energy Group hosted Community Energy Events

Glenmalure Rural Energy Group (GREG) hosted a series of online events for their community. The two-part community energy information event took place on Thursday 10th June and Thursday 17th June.

Part one of the event featured information in relation to home energy. This session provided the community with knowledge in the areas of insulation, heating your home and concluded with the current grants that are available to homeowners considering a home energy upgrade.

Part two of the series delved into the area of renewable energy, in particular the potential of renewable sources of energy such as biomass. Again, this information session outlined the grants that are available to pursue this green energy source.

As the events took place during Covid restrictions, both parts were online events. Each of the events featured videos from local Glenmalure residents who presented their own personal energy upgrade story. The local stories highlighted the benefits and challenges of upgrading the energy efficiency of their home, while also outlining why you should choose a renewable energy technology, such as Solar PV panels or Heat Pumps.

GREG organised a panel of experts for the events to discuss the grants that are available for homeowners and for the local community buildings. In particular, the Better Energy Community grant scheme was of great interest as they plan to upgrade their community buildings with energy efficient measures.

During the event, we at 3cea were delighted to participate and present the Glenmalure Energy Master Plan to the community. The Energy Master Plan takes in the surrounding areas of Glenmalure, Ballinaclash and Greenan, and it outlines the current energy standard and potential for the community.  The Energy Master Plan was conducted in collaboration with Wicklow County Council and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) through the Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC) Programme. The community residents were encouraged to learn from the Energy Master Plan and to consider future energy upgrade works going forward.

The GREG community group have a recording of the event which can be seen here: https://youtu.be/UUVOEz5bQDg

For more information about our work, visit our Communities web page here.

Climate Action in the South East

Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford Communities Pioneer Climate Action in the South East

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.”

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Glenmalure

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/

 

Renewable Energy Opportunities for SECs – RESS Webinar for Community Groups

We would like to invite you to join our free online event for Sustainable Energy Communities.

Date: Wednesday 31st March at 1pm

The Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS), which was introduced last year, provides communities with an opportunity to develop their own renewable energy project. In this webinar we will go through the process of what is involved in setting up a renewable energy project in your community.

Attendees will hear from SEAI on the supports that will be provided for communities on this journey, from communities who either are or have been on this journey and there will be a talk on Energy Cooperatives and how these might work in your community.

Register here

To ensure we answer all of your queries on this important topic we ask that you send us any questions you might have via this survey Read more

Sustainable Energy Communities Workshop

3cea will be hosting a free online workshop for Sustainable Energy Communities in the South East on 3rd February 2021.

The aim of this event is to relaunch the SEC programme for 2021. Whether you are a community who is reaching some of your energy goals, or you are a group who is struggling to work through the steps of the programme, 2020 was a tough year for us all. 2021 provides us with new opportunities and supports for making our community energy plans a reality.

Join 3cea in this workshop to meet other communities, to learn from each other and to see what is possible for your community.

Gráinne Kennedy of 3 Counties Energy Agency will host the hour-long online event and provide helpful tips to encourage communities in the South East of the country to fully engage with the SEC programme. This event will also give the communities an opportunity to network and share ideas.

This online event will offer a chance for all attendee’s to

  • Meet other communities working to create Sustainable Energy Communities
  • Meet the South East SEC team
  • Understand the changing fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Ask questions on how to approach organising in your community

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYqcOmurz4oHdzbSaSl2tg8wbujzWQN5ZeY

Date & Time: Wednesday, 3rd February 2021 at 11am

Agenda:

  • 11am – Introduction
  • 11.10am – Your hopes for your SEC community
  • 11.30am – What is possible?
  • 11.40am – 3 things communities have learned.
  • 11.50am – Supports on offer from County Mentors
  • 12pm – Summation Q&A

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Information Event.

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

We look forward to your participation. For any queries, please contact Mari or Patrick on events@3cea.ie

 

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

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