Boyle Energy Survey planned for April

Boyle Energy Survey

A major survey will be carried out in Boyle this week to see how residents use energy for heating, lighting, cooking and transport. This is being organised by Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI), who are working with IT Sligo and SEAI to see how support can be given to the town to become more sustainable, with greater energy efficiency, smaller bills and warmer homes. We are all spending a fortune in energy and not getting the best results from it, while at the same time producing thousands of tons of carbon dioxide and damaging the atmosphere. This survey will pinpoint how people in Boyle source energy, how much they are using, and how much it costs.

GEAI volunteers are working in collaboration with Abbey Community College and the goal is to survey 10% of the houses in Boyle. Teams of surveyors with local pupils will call to homes in the evenings of the first week of April with a questionnaire and hopefully, residents will be happy to cooperate.

This survey is completely confidential, we do not ask for names and no personal details will be kept. People will be amazed at how much in spent on energy in the town! We will present the results of the survey at a Seminar towards the end of May where we can come together and make plans for better energy efficiency, while reducing our carbon footprint and availing of substantial financial and mentoring supports from SEAI and other organisations. During this event, we will also show how Boyle can become a Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) with access to new funding programmes.

 

Ballinamore fights climate change

Ballinamore is on its way to becoming a Sustainable Energy Community (SEC)!

Ballinamore's Energy Action

On 30th October, a meeting of Ballinamore citizens interested in the transition of the town to a low carbon economy agreed to form an Energy Group and to start working with SEAI and a mentor to create an Energy Masterplan for the town.

Noeleen O'Callaghan at Ballinamore's seminar

Noeleen O’Callaghan from Leargas, Erasmus +

“This is an important step for Ballinamore,” said Mairín Martin, Chairperson, Ballinamore Area Community Council. “It is horrific to think that our town is spending €2 million each year on energy, the vast majority of which is oil, gas and coal.  It is clear that climate change is now happening and every town and citizen must play their part in working to save the planet. The most important thing we can do as individuals is to move away from fossil fuels for transport and heating. We must look at the possibilities of generating our energy from wind and solar. We also must consider how we can reduce our transport costs, currently around €1 million per year!”

Mel Gavin at Ballinamore's seminar

Mel Gavin from IT Sligo

The meeting was well attended, convened by Good Energies Alliance Ireland and supported by SEAI and the Erasmus+ programme. GEAI presented the results of an Energy Survey they did in Ballinamore. Mel Gavin from I.T. Sligo presented a potential Energy Roadmap to 2025 that responded to many ideas put forward by residents to tackle climate change. The meeting was enjoyable and very informative. A meeting of the new Energy Group will take place shortly and will look at the ways Ballinamore can be supported to get on a path to lower both its energy costs and its carbon emissions.

 

 

Microgeneration and overviews for communities

Microgeneration reportOur microgeneration report, researched by our EVS volunteer Francesca Franzetti, is now published!

This report gives an overview of microgeneration for non-technical readers. It deals with all aspects of microgeneration from policies to support mechanisms; from community energy to grid connections.

We hope that it will be useful for groups and communities interested in implementing small renewable energy projects.

 

Download the report: Micro-Scale Electricity Generation : An Overview for Communities

 

 

Microgeneration vital in the move towards a low carbon economy

We at GEAI responded to the public consultation on the Design of a new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) launched the 04th of September 2017 by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

The consultation document contains an economic assessment of a new RESS in Ireland followed by an assessment on how to increase community participation and suggestion of a model. Our response focussed mainly on the section “providing pathways for increased community participation” and microgeneration.

In our view, micro-scale electricity generation is a very crucial step towards a low carbon transition. However, this vision seems not to be fully shared by the Department.

solar-panel-array-1591358_960_720

Rooftop solar PVs

In fact, the RESS report states that “the relative cost of micro-generation is very high” and cites the example that domestic rooftop solar PV is 4100/MWh more expensive than large and medium solar PV in 2020. It then concludes that “meeting renewable electricity targets and renewable diversity ambitions are more cost effectively achieved at large and medium scale levels”. For the above mentioned reasons it is then proposed that “microgeneration would not be supported via the main RESS”.

We think this conclusion is based solely on economic grounds, which does not take into consideration the added value of getting the community’s goodwill and commitment to make the change to renewables.

Furthermore, rural areas play an important role in the transition towards a low carbon economy and community participation is the key of this process, mainly because it has the potential to revitalise rural areas through reskilling workers, creation of local jobs (e.g. installers, maintenance) that would keep workers in their communities and generating new income streams for businesses and farms.

A microgeneration support scheme would engage householders and farmer’s attention; it would introduce them to the possibility of change in their sources and uses of energy; it would make them more amenable to consider new ways of doing things.

In particular, if the individual feels that he/she is being supported to participate in the new world of renewables, this will make them far more amenable to support proposals for larger-scale developments such as wind farms.

Another consideration is that, despite some projects being designated as community-led under the scheme, the perception will remain that renewable energy projects are again examples of developers coming into a community and imposing changes on residents to “their” landscape that they have not agreed to nor want.

Where there is dissatisfaction, there will be active opposition. To win the hearts and minds of communities who already are opposed to wind turbines (for example) will take more than talk about community benefits; the better approach is to give them ownership of their own energy future.

At this stage, people know that we have to change the way we do things. A supported microgeneration scheme is the best way of allowing the change to start.

Read our full submission

 

Reduce your bill – join local sustainable community.

necs_5

DSC_0479

Our Survey of Four Communities in Leitrim is done

Volunteers from GEAI finished surveys last week on how households get and use energy . Four towns were surveyed: Drumshanbo, Carrick-on-Shannon, Ballinamore and Carrigallen. 10% of houses in Drumshanbo (60), Carrick-on-Shannon (150), Ballinamore (50) were surveyed and 20% of houses in Carrigallen (25).

This energy survey is part of the Northwest Energy Communities Start-up project (NECS). The project is a part of the national plan for transition of communities all over Ireland to a low carbon economy, moving away from fossil fuels and using renewable energy resources.

The partners in this project are Good Energies Alliance Ireland and I.T. Sligo. The project is funded by SEAI – the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

Basically the NECS project is researching how people, in selected towns, use energy and how much it costs them. GEAI and IT Sligo prepared questionnaires for each town.  The questions were about type of houses, heating systems, heating control systems and most importantly, questions about energy bills.

After all the information is analyzed, GEAI and IT Sligo will organize an Exhibition Day in each surveyed town to give the results of the surveys and plan how residents could have warmer, more comfortable homes while costing them less on fuel and heating.

After the project, each town can be registered as a  (SEC) with the SEAI.  The SEC programme gives grants to make homes more energy efficient and warmer through more insulation, better windows, solar panels and upgrading boilers, for example.

Form volunteers perspective.

DSC_0494DSC_0490

For the GEAI volunteers it was a unique experience.

“We were knocking on doors and asking questions. This experience helped to train our communication skills, flexibility, teamwork and many other skills.”

The volunteers worked 2 days per week in the evening from about 5 pm till 8:30 pm. They were supported by local volunteers in each town, so that people were happy to answer questions.

“We came across different situations, different people’s reactions. The vast majority of people were nice to us and they were glad to help us.  They were also interested in reducing their energy bills!”

COPYRIGHT

® All rights reserved to GEAI 2018