European Delegations visit Green sites in Co. Tipperary during St Patrick’s week

2 European delegations of over 60 visitors visit renewable energy sites in Tipperary.

•          Tours include visits to Templederry Community Wind Farm, Ireland’s only community owned wind farm and Cloughjordan Ecovillage.

•          The group also spent time with the award winning Drombane-Upperchurch Energy Team.

Two delegations of over 60 European visitors took part in tours of Tipperary’s renewable energy sites during St Patrick’s week.  Visitors from Italy, Belgium, Holland, Turkey, Finland, Hungary, Spain and Germany took in sites such as Templederry Community Wind Farm, Cloughjordan Ecovillage and renewable energy installations at Gurteen Agricultural College.

 

Dr. Vincent Carragher, Energy Manager at Tipperary Energy Agency who led one of the visits said ‘this was a resounding success as the group were so impressed with the diversity of community-based sustainability in Tipperary, we visited our windfarm, eco-village, a retrofit scheme, a college and a community café called The Bothy in Borisoleigh.’

 

The delegations spent time at Templederry Community Wind Farm, Irelands only community owned wind farm.  This wind farm was has been selling electricity to the national grid since November 2012 and produces enough electricity to power 3,500 homes. Vincent said that after this the group were grateful to warm up in The Bothy, a community Café in Borisoleigh. One of our visitors from  Belgium said ‘I could not believe the warm welcome we got, and the food so wholesome and all from within an 8 mile radius – unbelievable!’

 

TEA Grundtvig Projects partners  pictured in Drombane as part of their v...

TEA Grundtvig Projects partners pictured in Drombane as part of their visit to Co. Tipperary

Afterwards an afternoon was spent with the award winning Drombane – Upperchurch Energy Team.  This group has led the retrofit of numerous houses in the locality into high preforming energy homes. At the village community hall, the delegation heard talks from Drombane Project Officer Marcella Maher Keogh and North Tipperary LEADER’s Gearoid Fitzgibbon. They explained that in total, the 400 houses in Drombane and Upperchurch spend €1,000,000 on home energy.  Once the whole community is retrofitted, the Energy Team expects to save householders a total of €250,000 per annum (25%). Now that this locally-run model is successfully up and running, the plan is to spread the word and repeat the work. The visiting group were  amazed  by  the levels of hospitality offered by the Drombane community and one of the visitors,  Pierre-Bernard said ‘memories of this village, their sustainability, social effort, hospitality and afterwards their food, music and set dancing are permanently etched in my mind – I will never forget Tipperary’.

 

The group visited Cloughjordan eco-village in which they witnessed highly efficient newly built homes using a diversity of materials. The eco-villagers showed the visitors their wood chip district heating system providing heat to each of the homes and the array of solar thermal panels. The last stop of the tour took in a site visit at Gurteen Agricultural College.  The college has undertaken major retrofit works in recent years including energy efficient upgrades such as attic and wall insulation, system controls and electrical fittings upgrades. Thermal and electrical renewable energy installations were also implemented, including a biomass heat boiler and a wind turbine. This visit was a particular favourite with the Dutch and Romanian visitors and many pictures were taken of the 300kW wood chip boilers and the many animals on the farm.

 

A member of the delegation from Italy said ‘I really enjoyed our visit to Tipperary, its obvious from our visit that Tipperary is leading the way in renewable energy in the county. So much has been achieved and everything is done in such a social way; the benefits to society and the environment are massive, I am bringing many ideas home with me’.

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