Energy

Tipperary group welcomes new energy guidelines

'This is a game changer for community owned electricity generation in Ireland'

Tipperary Star reporter

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Tipperary Community Power group welcomes new energy auction guidelines

Members of partner organisations of Community Power which has welcomed the publication of the terms and conditions of the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme auction

Tipperary based electricity supplier Community Power has welcomed the publication of the terms and conditions of the first Renewable Electricity Support Scheme auction by Minister for the Environment John Bruton.

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS-1) is an auction-based scheme which invites renewable electricity projects to bid for capacity and receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate. Nenagh based, Community Power is Ireland’s first community owned electricity supplier. It is a partnership of community energy organisations around Ireland working to create a sustainable energy future for their local areas.

RESS-1 will provide a pathway for community projects through the community preference category and a mandatory Community Benefit Fund for all projects successful in the auction.

Together, these aspects of the scheme provide a major boost to communities in contributing to Ireland’s renewable energy and climate goals. The community preference category in the RESS 1 auction is an innovative and ground-breaking measure to provide greater financial support to communities investing in renewable projects. This delivers a powerful signal that supports and enables community investment.

“This is a game changer for community owned electricity generation in Ireland. We strongly commend the minister for bringing forward the community element of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme and welcome the release of the terms and conditions. Ring fencing the community pot will make a huge difference. The advantage of a 100% locally owned development is enormous. All revenue generated remains within the area, giving a huge boost to the local economy,” said John Fogarty, Chairperson of Community Power.

CEO of Community Power Gregg Allen said that towns and villages years ago were much more self sufficient in the areas of food, energy, transport and local employment.

He said that the RESS will enable Community Power to assist communities in developing their own renewable energy projects which will lead to greater energy security and local employment.

“When communities and people own their own renewable energy plant, the return to the local economy can be 5 to 10 times greater than when a corporate developer owns it,” he said.

Meanwhile, there will be a free seminar in Nenagh Arts Centre on Tuesday, March 24 at 7pm entitled Energy Democracy & Community Power.

This will be a panel and group discussion. Speakers include Paul Kenny, CEO of Tipperary Energy Agency; John Fogarty of Community Power and Cliona Sharkey, policy advisor with Trocaire. The event will be chaired by Kate Ruddock, deputy director of Friends of the Earth Ireland. Online registration is required; see communitypower.ie