The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, has announced the 83 community and home energy projects to receive grant funding of €57 million under the SEAI Community Energy Grant Scheme.
This year the grants, administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), are for projects supporting the delivery of 2,105 homes and 536 non-domestic projects. Recipients include public sector projects, sports facilities, community buildings and businesses. This substantial government investment supports projects that will achieve energy savings which will amount to €156 million, or 25,000 MWh, each year.
Speaking at the announcement, Minister Ryan said, “the Government’s Climate Action Plan recognises the central role of communities in achieving our climate action ambitions. This investment will deliver energy upgrades to over 2,000 homes and community and commercial buildings throughout the country. The successful communities will benefit from warmer and healthier buildings, lower energy bills, and reduced harmful CO2 emissions. The projects will also deliver significant employment benefits locally and nationally.”
Dr. Ciaran Byrne, Director of National Retrofit at SEAI, added, “SEAI is working with hundreds of energy communities across the country, providing them with the knowledge and the means to plan their own ambitious low-carbon pathway. Government-funded grants are a key support for these communities, which are ready to invest in sustainable energy solutions to meet their needs. The achievements of these communities can be replicated, drawing more citizens into Ireland’s clean energy transition.”
Under the Community Energy Grant Scheme, communities bring together groups of buildings under the same retrofit programme to facilitate community-wide energy improvements – more efficiently and more cost effectively than might otherwise be possible. All projects applying for funding are required to include a community benefit to the project and to include a cross-sectoral approach.
Range of Improvements
Under the programme, funding is provided for a range of improvements to existing buildings to drive energy efficiency and facilitate the installation of renewable technologies. These include the installation of insulation, heat pump systems, replacement windows/doors, solar PV (Photo-Voltaic) technology, energy-efficient lighting, and energy monitors, as well as a host of other energy upgrades.
Recipients of funding under this year’s Community Energy Grant Scheme are spread right across the country.
Benefits for Communities
To see the benefits of the programme, Minister Ryan visited one of the projects that was selected as part of last year’s Community Energy Grant Scheme, to mark the announcement of this year’s successful recipients.
Kilcronan Court and Place Community Centre, based in Clondalkin, Dublin, were awarded funding of almost €23,000 under the 2020 programme. The funding was used to install cavity wall and attic insulation, as well as extensive upgrades to windows, doors and lighting. The substantial works also included a heat pump upgrade. The total cost of the project was just under €46,000.
Marianne Ward-O’Leary Maughan, chairperson of the Local Co-operative Committee and actively involved in the Kilcronan Court and Place Community Centre, speaking about the benefits of the SEAI Community Energy Grant Scheme said, “the Communities programme has given the Kilcronan Court and Place Community Centre a new lease of life. With the heating system upgrade we will now be able to use it throughout the winter and for after school clubs. The centre is the heart of the community, it’s a great amenity and we will all benefit from the upgrade.”
“The local co-operative committee had been advocating for much needed energy upgrade works to be carried out on the estate and the centre; we were delighted that Kilcronan was selected as part of the SEAI scheme. When the works were being carried out the committee linked in with the contractor and supported members on the estate in order to make it all go as smoothly as possible.”
“Our thanks to the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications and SEAI for the grant which covered 50% of the costs, and Co-operative Housing Ireland who provided 41.5% with the remainder from SSE Airtricity.”