Stunning success of Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities!

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The event “Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities” has been a success. Yesterday, almost 100 people gathered in Manorhamilton to take their energy future into their own hands. The main outcome of this pioneering event was the decision to develop a plan for community-owned renewable energy projects in North Leitrim. The event, organised by Good Energies Alliance Ireland and Love Leitrim was also intensively followed on social media and it was livestreamed globally.

Pauline Gallacher, Neilston Trust (Scotland), Eamon Ryan, Green Party leader, and Cormac Walsh, Energy Co-operatives Ireland, were the main speakers. Gallacher’s presentation was one of the most inspiring ones. “Use community-owned energy to stimulate ownership of the carbon emission reduction agenda and harness your own resources to build your own sustainable future”, she told to the Irish audience.

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“Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities” was aimed at raising awareness of the opportunities open to local communities to benefit from renewable energies, look at the potential to generate income and jobs for the community and identify local champions of renewable energy. During the day all the people attending had the chance to learn about successful community-owned experiences from Ireland and Scotland and also to raise every question, doubt and misunderstanding they might have had.

“We are delighted with the success of the event” GEAI director Aedín McLoughlin said at the end of this day of workshops and discussions. “It was great to see so many people , but this is only the first step of a bigger project. Renewables can be the source to re-energise rural communities, bringing jobs and income, and we want to replicate this event in many towns and villages across Ireland, providing sustainable alternatives for fossil fuels”, McLoughlin stated.

More pictures on Flickr!

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Only one week to start changing Ireland’s energy landscape!

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Only 7 days left to Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities! A full day of workshops and discussion taking place in Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim. This full day of workshops and discussions will look at the ways that renewable energies can generate income for communities and create local jobs, as well as reducing energy bills! We need to create an alternative vision for Northwest communities threatened by fracking and this is exactly the aim of Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities!

People attending will have the opportunity to listen about successful experiences from Ireland and Scotland. Pauline Gallacher, from the Neilston Trust (Scotland), will tell how this town in the outskirts of Glasgow transformed the community from a dormitory town to a prosperous community thank to a community-owned small wind farm. Many rural communities can learn a lot from this experience and replicate it. Cormac Walsh, from Energy Co-Operatives Ireland, will talk about the potential of community energy cooperatives. Another key speaker is Eamon Ryan, Green Party leader, who will talk about the challenges of global warming.

During the day, GEAI will present the results of an Energy Audit carried out in Manorhamilton that shows that households spend more than €2 million every year on energy. Over three quarters of this is spent on imported fossil fuels and this shows the importance of replacing fossil fuels with renewables.

“Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities” is the first event of its kind organised in Ireland, but it is not going to be the last. We could be witnessing the beginning of reshaping Ireland’s energy landscape and it is happening in the Northwest!

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GEAI welcomes anti-fracking vote on the European Parliament

European Parliament. Photo By diamond geezer (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

European Parliament. Photo By diamond geezer (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) welcomes the anti-fracking vote on the European Parliament and calls on communities to embrace sustainable alternatives. The vote was symbolic as it will not ban fracking in the EU but it shows that a majority of MEPs reject shale gas exploitation.

“This vote is a step forward for the anti-fracking campaign in Ireland, north and south”. GEAI director Aedín McLoughlin stated. “Fracking has been banned in New York due to human health impacts, and now the European Parliament says that it has not been shown to be safe. Rural communities need jobs and a better future, but fracking is not the way. We need to create sustainable alternatives for communities threatened by shale gas extraction” GEAI director said.

“This is exactly what we are doing 24th June in Manorhamilton (Co Leitrim) at Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities. A day of workshops and discussion where everybody will have the chance to express their views. Local communities have the opportunity to use renewable energy to improve their lives, their economy and their health. We have a chance to create jobs in rural areas and help to reduce our environmental impacts at the same time”, GEAI director said.

“Many people have already shown their interest in this event, and we hope to achieve really positives outcomes for Manorhamilton and other communities. We could be witnessing the beginning of reshaping Ireland’s energy landscape”, Aedín McLoughlin concluded.

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June 15: Faughary windfarm opening

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Aedín McLoughlin, Irina and Santi at the Faughary windfarm

The GEAI team was invited to the official opening of the Faughary windfarm, near Manorhamilton (Co Leitrim). The team were shown the turbines inside and out, including the operations room in the middle of the turbine. “Everybody present was amazed at how quiet the turbines are on a beatiful but very windy day”, Aedín McLoughlin said.

More pictures on Flickr.

Millions of euro spent on imported energy in Manorhamilton

Manorhamilton households spend more than €2 million every year on transport and other energy uses. This is the startling total determined through an Energy Audit carried out by GEAI and Love Leitrim volunteers. The study calculates that the 563 households in the town spend over €500,000 on electricity and over €600,000 on other fuels (oil, gas and solid fuels), an average of €2,200 per household. A total of €1 million is also spent on petrol and diesel, an average of €1,600 per car owner. “What this means is that over €1.5 million of Manorhamilton’s disposable income is spent on imported fossil fuels every year and therefore lost to the economy!” said GEAI Director, Aedín McLoughlin. “People don’t realise the very real potential of renewable energies to reduce imports, generate income and jobs for local communities and provide energy security for the future. The Manorhamilton community, having turned its back on fracking, is now looking at alternatives and is finding out that renewable energies, as well as lowering carbon emissions, can also benefit the health and economic growth of its town.” The survey is part of the “Renewable Energies – Prosperous Communities” event taking place on 24th June in the Bee Park Centre, Manorhamilton. It will be a day of presentations, workshops and discussions with many interesting speakers and topics of discussion. Pauline Gallacher from the Neilston Trust (Scotland) and Eamon Ryan, Green Party leader will be the main speakers, but this is not going to be the usual conference where local people simply listen to experts. The aim is that everyone attending will get a chance to speak and be heard.

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