Launch of the NCEI – the representative organisation for the Community Owned Energy Generation Sector in Ireland

September 1st saw the launch of Nationwide Community Energy Ireland CLG (NCEI) the representative association of the community owned energy generation sector in Ireland. NCEI’s mission is to maximise the number of 100% community owned energy generation projects in the upcoming State power auctions. NCEI will advocate for policies which advance and buttress the community owned energy generation sector.

Visitors to Templederry Community Windfarm

Three established communities in Tipperary, Galway and Mayo, with outstanding pedigrees in the energy generation sector, have come together to form NCEI. In Tipperary, Templederry Community Windfarm is the exemplar in the sector. Operating since 2012, with two wind turbines, Templederry powers the equivalent of 3,000 homes. Galway Community Renewables near Tuam Co. Galway and Fuinneamh Greinne na hEireann Teoranta in Claremorris Co. Mayo, together with Templederry are the three founding members of NCEI. Galway Community Renewables and Fuinneamh Greinne na hEireann were successful in the first State power auction in July 2020 (RESS-1). Construction of their community solar farms will commence in early 2022 for Galway and Mayo shortly thereafter. As society and the economy strives to meet the 2030 & 2050 climate targets – replacing fossil fuels with clean renewable energy – there will be a proliferation of energy generation projects across the country. It is vital that community interests, both urban and rural, are to the fore in this energy transition. Adequate access to the national power grid for community owned projects is vital – if community support for the energy transition is to be maintained and developed. Convinced of the efficacy of our endeavours we drive forward to promote the local circular economy, via locally owned & controlled energy generation projects. If the new green deal is to be realised we must ensure nobody is left behind. Sustainable community owned wind & solar farms, and hybrid generation/storage technologies, are the ideal vehicles by which to achieve the new Ireland. Today circa 30 communities across Ireland are preparing for the next State power auction in 2022 and NCEI wishes them well in that endeavour. This is one of those occasions when we can look to our past to imagine our future. 100 years ago in 1921 Brigadier Sean Wall, recently elected chariman of Limerick County Council, insisted the Council undertake a study of the Shannon to see if it’s water power could be harnessed. If the nascent state could imagine and deliver the quiet socio economic revolution that was the Ardnacrusha Hydro Electric Scheme, it behoves the mature state to facilitate its 2021 counterpart in the form of sustainable community driven energy generation projects. We work closely with our community colleagues across Europe in – promoting Renewable Energy Communities (REC’s). Together with our community affiliates in Europe and the USA we are actively exploring how communities might best enter the offshore renewable energy arena. It is axiomatic in our view that communities, both onshore and inland, should be front and central in the nascent offshore renewable energy sector. We look forward to working closely with the other stakeholders in the sector as we fashion a cleaner and fairer energy transition for communities across Ireland. The other stakeholders include – The Department of Environment, Climate & Communication, The Commission for the Regulation of Utilities Eirgrid – TSO, ESB Networks – DSO, The Single Electricity Market Operator – SEMO, The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland – SEAI, The EU

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