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Community Power in Ireland is a small, but growing industry. There are only a handful of community owned energy projects in operation at present, however support is mounting and change is afoot. Wind Power and Bioenergy projects dominate the market at present. 

In September 2013 Templederry Wind Farm (4.6 MW installed capacity) in Tipperary became the first entirely community owned Wind Farm to connect to the National Grid, and began selling renewable electricity for the benefit of its members. There are two other operational Wind Farms in Ireland within which there is a community benefit element; a 0.68 MW Wind Farm on Innis Meain in the Aran Islands that powers the island’s desalination plant, and a 0.66 MW Wind Farm in Burtonport, Donegal that supplies electricity to a fish processing plant. A further five community owned developments are currently in progress and are likely to be constructed over the coming years, pending grid connection and financing.

A number of Bioenergy developments also exist. All space heating and hot water at The Cloughjordan Eco Village is provided via a district heating system powered from an onsite wood chip boiler and solar panels which is operated by a not for profit group. The Callan Nexus project in Kilkenny is responsible for installing wood pellet district heating systems at various sites for Camphill Communities – a charity working with people with an intellectual disability. In addition, there exists a growing number of biofuelmass and woodland co-operatives which support local investment in wood and biofuel biomass industries across the country. 

There are also an increasing number of Community Energy Efficiency Cooperatives that operate across the country.

One of the biggest challenges for Community Power in Ireland is securing access to funding and advice at initial project development stages when there remains considerable uncertainty and risk. The planning permission and grid connection processes are extremely onerous and very costly for small developers. Grid access, long wait times and difficulties obtaining licences to sell electricity to the grid often and significant backlogs mean the timelines are often too long and too expensive for community energy projects to survive. The timescales at present from application date to receiving a positive gird connection offer can be upwards of 5 years. For communities, without a secure funding stream in place these barriers can be insurmountable. Recent comments from the Minister for Energy and Communications Pat Rabbitte however suggest the future for Community Power can be bright “The Templederry project is a template for the future and I fully expect to see many more of these community led projects, where local people seize the initiative in powering Ireland for the 21st Century”.


Friends of the Earth Ireland
Kate Ruddock
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +35 31 639 46 52
Website: www.foe.ie


Community energy for Ireland

Community energy - policy position paper

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