Benefits of Wind Energy
Ireland is now on a path of decarbonisation and the energy that we are using is switching from fossil fuels to renewables. The potential to extract local economic and societal gains remains with the development of renewable energy projects. All renewable projects that are developed over the coming years will attract a significant community benefit fund for the local area which will often equate to multimillion-euro investment opportunities for local communities.
Given our position on the edge of the Atlantic, Ireland has one of the best wind energy resources in the world and it currently plays a very significant role in our electricity generation system.
- Wind energy is our largest and cheapest source of renewable energy
- Currently provides up to 75% of our electricity on any given day
- Wind energy displaces carbon and replaces expensive fossil fuels
- A cost benefit analysis has shown that between the years 2000 and 2020, wind energy has cost less than €1 per person per year
- Wind energy’s entry onto the Irish gird system has displaced expensive and polluting sources of electricity generation
- In 2020, wind energy provided 43% of Ireland’s total electricity demand
- A wind turbine can deliver power for more than 30 years
- Wind farms deliver clean, green electricity for Irish homes and businesses
- Wind farms work well in local areas
- Wind farms deliver significant benefits and opportunities for local communities
- Wind farm community benefit funds are delivering millions of euros for communities across the country.
Through working with the local community, we aim to ensure that the community benefit fund delivers the maximum possible benefit and that it delivers for you. This fund will support the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the local area.
The new Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS)
Guidance on how the Community Benefit Fund will be administered was developed by the Department of Environment Climate & Communications. The new guidance is centred around community decision-making, so decisions on what will be funded will rest with the local community in the form of a specially formed committee. This will mean that the community has a direct say in how the project benefits their local area.
The Derrykillew Wind Farm could bring with it annual funding of approximately €110,000.
The guidance is very specific on how the fund will be divided and this includes: allocations for houses within a 1km radius; 40% for not-for-profit community enterprises aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals; 10% on administration and the balance on initiatives proposed by clubs and societies and other not-for-profit enterprises.
The Community Benefit Fund is a great opportunity for local communities to play a central role in the transition to a zero-carbon, more sustainable, future. They will be instrumental in supporting sustainable initiatives in their locality and ensuring that their area benefits directly from the transformation of our energy system.
What can the fund be used for?
The Community Benefit Fund brings great potential, and ultimately the recipients of the fund will be decided by the local community. However, as part of our consultation process, we would like everyone to consider the needs of the local area and local people and tell us what kind of initiatives would benefit the local area. Some initiatives the newly established committee could consider could be retrofitting homes, support for local community amenities like walking trails and active travel, community broadband and local education funds.
We are keenly aware that money on its own means nothing. What money does bring is potential, and in order to maximise this potential what is needed is critical assessment and vision.
Some of the questions that may warrant thought are:
We would like you to tell us how you think that this fund should be used!
If you would like some more details on RESS funding and the new Terms and Conditions, please check out www.seai.ie/community-energy/ress