Four community groups in Tipperary are quarterfinalists for the Best Community Energy. Organised by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the Sustainable Energy Community Award is for groups and organisations who have set up local energy projects.
As shortlisted finalists, the groups will send representatives to attend a black tie gala event in Dublin in November 2014 where the winners will be announced.
The communities, working under the banner of Energy Communities Tipperary, are currently completing the final stages of insulation and energy efficiency work on 120 homes and a number of community buildings, having secured almost €1 million in funding earlier this year. The work is being project managed by Marcella Maher Keogh, with contractors providing employment to almost 65 people in the Tipperary area for the duration of the project.
North Tipperary LEADER Partnership, which has provided support, guidance and startup funding to initiate the project, is currently working with the communities to establish the scheme on a more structured basis. NTLP Community Worker Gearóid Fitzgibbon, recently organised a meeting at Nenagh’s Abbey Court Hotel of representatives of 4 four local voluntary Energy Teams – Drombane/Upperchurch Energy Team (DUET); Kilcommon/Rearcross Energy Team (KRET); Lorrha/Rathcabbin Energy Team (LRET) and Birdhill Tidy Towns group. The discussion reviewed the progress to date, and examined how to develop the project. A number of models are being looked at, including the energy co-operative model which has had such success in Germany, Denmark, Belgium and Spain. In Germany, the Government has legislated to ensure local and community ownership of all new renewable energy projects. As a result, thousands of local energy co-operatives are being formed to manage these schemes. It is hoped that this review process will conclude in late autumn, when other communities will have the opportunities to get involved.
Any local groups looking to organise local energy teams for 2015 should get in touch with Gearoid Fitzgibbon – NTLP on 0857409023 or email GFitzgibbon@ntlp.ie
Members of Energy Communities Tipperary at a recent review and planning event in the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh.
L-R: Mark Tanner (NTLP), Tom Butler (KRET), Aileen Campion (Birdhill), Brett Fitzpatrick (Birdhill), Con Harrington (DUET), Noel Byrne (DUET), Jack Looby (Duet) Martin O’Donoghue (DUET), Joan Carew (DUET), Eileen Armstrong (DUET), Eileen Dunne (DUET), Alan Madden and Nancy White (LRET), Paul and Edel Grace, Liam Lynch (KRET), and Marcella Maher Keogh (Project Manager). Gearóid Fitzgibbon (NTLP) facilitated.