File photo: Wind farms have contributed a quarter of a million Euro to t he local economy
The county moves up to fourth highest in 2019 from fifth highest in 2018
Energy efficiency projects and third level scholarships, sports clubs, active retired groups and local festivals were just some of the schemes to benefit from almost €3.5 million in community investment from Irish wind farms in 2019. The figures were released today in a new report from the Irish Wind Energy Association.
Dr David Connolly, CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association, said: “We are very proud of the contribution our members are making to support local communities across Ireland through these funds and constantly impressed by the dedication, enthusiasm and imagination we meet in local communities.
“Without this support, many fantastic local projects would struggle to find alternative funding and it is critical that communities see tangible benefits from renewables as part of the just transition away from fossil fuels. Local communities deserve to benefit from the construction and operation of local wind farms.
“Wind energy continues to be Ireland’s most valuable tool in the fight against climate change. The more clean energy we can generate for our homes, farms, schools and businesses the less we rely on fossil fuels and the more we can invest in supporting communities.”
The report identified the top five counties for wind energy community benefit funding. Galway leads the way with €831,860, followed by Cork on €424,740, Roscommon on €334,600, Tipperary on €258,700 and Limerick on €243,250.
Benefit funding to rise
The level of community benefit funding is expected to rise in coming years as new wind farms connect to the system and with the introduction of the Government’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).
Projects seeking support under the RESS will be required to contribute €2 for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity produced, which will typically result in over €15,000 per turbine going directly towards local community projects every year.
Dr Connolly continued: “Under the RESS there will be a significant increase in the amount of funding going into Ireland’s rural communities from the next generation of wind and solar projects.
“We are proud that the wind energy industry is playing our part in enabling the volunteers at the heart of Ireland’s communities to continue to achieve the impossible and we can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together in the years to come.”