Tipperary wind farms contributed almost €300,000 to local community projects in 2021

The annual Building Communities report from Wind Energy Ireland shows that wind farms delivered almost €300,000 worth of funding to local community projects throughout Tipperary last year via community benefit funds. The total contribution across Ireland was more than €4.3 million.

Funding was spread across 19 counties and was used to support a variety of local projects, ranging from education initiatives and sports clubs to installing solar panels and energy efficiency upgrades for community buildings.

 

Tipperary was among the top five counties that received funding last year, behind only Galway, Cork, Kerry and Mayo. Among the recipients of this funding were the Cnoc Rua Committee and the Bruckana Community Gain Scheme.

 

The Cnoc Rua Committee looks after the running of the Cnoc Rua Recreational Centre, which has provided a social centre for older people in the region since 2004, offering essential social interaction, supporting the mental well-being of its clients, many of whom live alone and would otherwise be isolated.

 

The centre received a donation of €8,000 from ESB last year to support its work, which helped fund home delivery of meals throughout Covid restriction in 2021, promoting independent living and preventing isolation.

 

Welcoming the funding, Anne Crowe, Secretary of the Cnoc Rua Committee, said: “The highlight of our service is knowing that the clients that availed of the meal provision and delivery service to their homes were looked after, safe and happy. During COVID restrictions, the Cnoc Rua centre continued to operate to support its clients’ needs, thanks to the support from this funding, which enabled the provision of meals and meal delivery to continue.” 

 

The Bruckana Community Gain Scheme, which was established by Bord na Móna in 2014, received funding of €42,000, which was shared among 11 projects across Tipperary and Kilkenny. Administered by Bord na Móna, an awards committee is drawn from the local communities of Crosspatrick and Moyne/ Templetuohy which then decides which projects are granted financial support. To date, the funding has benefitted schools, sports clubs, general amenity, social initiatives as well as community facilities.

 

Commenting on the decision to establish the Bruckana Community Gain Scheme, Karina Dennigan, Communications Manager at Bord na Móna said: “We believe local people know best what their own area needs. That’s why our Community Gain Fund is administered and awarded with active participation from the local community. We’re very thankful for the work of our Awards Committee for their work on this.”

 

Welcoming these new figures, Wind Energy Ireland CEO, Noel Cunniffe said: “Wind farms invested more than €4.3 million in rural communities last year, helping to ensure people living nearby share in the benefits of the energy transition.

 

“Many of these fantastic local projects would otherwise struggle to find funding, demonstrating the positive impact that wind farms have in their communities alongside the benefits of cutting our carbon emissions and providing cheaper power to consumers.”

 

Mr Cunniffe also noted that the number of projects benefitting from the fund would increase annually as new wind farms are connected every year in line with the Climate Action Plan: “As new wind farms connect to the grid the amount of money invested by our members in rural communities will only grow.

 

“This is in addition to the €50 million paid by wind farms annually in rates to local county councils, which is used to fund roads, libraries and other services around rural Ireland.

 

“These figures show the key role wind energy now plays in supporting vibrant rural communities, in addition to delivering the more widely recognised benefits of clean energy and lowered electricity costs.”

 

The latest Building Communities report can be found here.

The Community Benefit Fund is a key feature of the Government’s Renewable Electricity Support Scheme, which stipulates that all new wind and solar farms participating in the scheme must establish a Community Benefit Fund to be used for the wider economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being of the local community.

 

These projects are required to contribute €2 for every megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity produced, which will typically result in around €15,000 per typical 3 MW turbine going directly towards local community projects every year.

 

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