The year 2020 will bring great opportunities for community energy projects a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Tim Lombard, Fine Gael Cork Senator and member of the Oireachtas Climate Committee, is highlighting the Government’s move towards 70% renewable electricity and says that community participation is crucial to tackling climate change.
Senator Lombard said: “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan on Climate is a move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030. Ireland is currently 86% reliant on fossil fuels and we are prioritising a move away from that towards clean renewable sources of energy like wind and solar power.
“So with Minister Richard Bruton having recently announced details of the first auction under the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme, it will be open to community energy projects to bid for capacity and receive a guaranteed price for the electricity they generate.
“It is envisaged there will be 4 such auctions over the next seven years to help bring us to our 2030 target of 70% renewable electricity.
“This is a really exciting move towards clean energy. Minister Bruton has said that installed wind capacity has grown by 50% since 2015 and this new auction could see capacity grow further by 30% in the next 3 years with solar and community participation.
“I look forward to the Government publishing further details on first auction and we particularly acknowledge the importance of community participation on this issue. The Scheme includes community supports including grants and soft loans on the financial side as well as the provision of information and advice to help communities through the various stages of the projects.
“We must ensure that communities and community power is at the heart of our plan for clean power.
“The Scheme will also mandate that Irish citizens or communities will have access to investment opportunities in renewable energy with priority given to people who live in close proximity to the projects. This is a really positive opportunity for people to benefit from clean energy.
Minister Richard Bruton concluded: “We have started a public consultation on the terms and conditions for the Scheme and I encourage all interested parties to have their say by the 17th of January 2020.”
The consultation is available here: : https://www.dccae.gov.ie/