Up to €20 million in energy efficiency grant support available to communities
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is calling on communities to apply for €20 million available in grant support for energy efficiency upgrades to homes, businesses and community buildings to be carried out in 2016. The Government’s Better Energy Communities programme, administered by SEAI, has already supported 260 community energy retrofit projects over the last four years. As a result over 12,000 homes and community buildings have received energy upgrades, supporting up to 3,500 jobs over the period.
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White T.D. said: “The Energy White Paper, which I published last month, places communities and energy efficiency firmly at the centre of our efforts to decarbonise the energy system. It also outlines the employment and business opportunities that our energy transition will create, along with the supports we must provide to help people to grasp those opportunities. The Better Energy Communities scheme is an initiative that brings these themes together – energy efficiency, community involvement, employment opportunities and decarbonisation. 260 community projects have already received funding under the programme, which has seen 12,000 homes, community buildings, charities, sports clubs and businesses – right across Ireland – benefit from energy efficiency upgrades. This effort has lowered our carbon emissions, supported jobs in the communities where the works were done, and helped to reduce energy poverty.”
A wide variety of projects across the country have been carried out under Better Energy Communities. For example, last year:
- Donate as you save Energy (DaysE), Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency and Camphill Communities of Ireland collaborated to carry out almost 100 building energy upgrades nationwide. The group pushed boundaries to deliver a new model of fund raising through energy savings. They also installed a biogas combined heat and power plant to power 80 homes in the Ballytobin Camphill community.
- Respond Housing in Ennis coordinated energy upgrades in 54 homes and four community facilities, involving attic and wall insulation, replacement windows and renewable heat pumps.
- A charitable organisation, Sustainable Clonakilty, and local partners the Chamber of Commerce, Tidy Towns and Cork County and Town Council, worked together to deliver energy upgrades to a wide variety of public and private buildings such as the rugby clubhouse, local cafes and hotels, as well as upgrades to the first rural community bicycle scheme in Ireland.
SEAI Interim Chief Executive, William Walsh said: “This will be the fifth year of operation for the Better Energy Communities programme and with over 12,000 homes and buildings upgraded to date we are seeing fantastic results in terms of energy efficiency savings and improvements in the comfort of accommodation. We want to continue to spread these results across the country and show new communities how they too can take part and benefit. I’d ask small community groups to consider starting this journey with SEAI and identify projects that will improve the efficiency and comfort of local buildings, and in the process create jobs and help the environment.”
For the purpose of this call a community is considered as one or many organisations wishing to develop a project of any scale in one or multiple locations. SEAI is seeking innovative and pioneering partnerships for delivery between e.g. the public and private sectors, domestic and non-domestic sectors, commercial and not-for-profit organisations and energy suppliers. Entries must be submitted by 13:00 hours Friday 26th February 2016 and successful projects must be fully completed by Friday 14th October 2016.
Further details, including a full application form and guidance notes, are available on www.seai.ie/grants