On Saturday the 22nd of June 2019, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland welcomed sustainable energy advocates from all parts of the country to Athlone Institute of Technology for its fourth annual National Sustainable Energy Community Event. SEAI is Ireland’s national and leading authority on sustainable energy. It works with governments, businesses, homeowners and communities to find effective solutions that further its mission: secure, affordable, clean and sustainable energy across Ireland. This event sought to celebrate community involvement in SEAI’s Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) program. The network now boasts 300 members from across the counties.
An SEC community has three major goals: utilise reusable energy; develop smart energy solutions; and a commitment to being energy efficient. It also often consists of members from all parts of society, including sports clubs, community centres, private residences, and businesses. This program has seen rapid growth since action can occur at multiple levels, allowing towns and villages to comprehensively reduce both their energy use and subsequent impact on the environment.
The National Sustainable Energy Community Event aimed to celebrate those communities’ contribution to SEAI’s vision of an entirely sustainable Ireland. Julie O’Neill, chairperson of the SEAI, emphasised the importance of SECs during her speech at the event: “the communities working with SEAI are key players in Ireland’s clean energy transition. The Government’s Climate Action Plan emphasises the role of communities in our energy future, setting a target for 1,500 sustainable energy communities by 2030. We welcome this ambition, and we are fully committed to supporting every community that joins us.”
The Government’s Climate Action Plan seeks to further integrate Irish communities in its ambitions by establishing a Community Outreach Programme, developing flagship low-carbon projects in every Local Authority, and fostering conversation through the National Dialogue on Climate Action.
SEAI provides the SEC network with a multitude of resources and benefits that it hopes will encourage other communities to make the commitment to sustainable energy. These resources include: access to funding, energy savings, financial savings, access to expert knowledge and support and increased local employment. The SEC program demonstrates how every aspect of society can play a valuable part in moving Ireland toward to an even greener future.
For more information, please visit: https://www.seai.ie/