80 home and community energy projects to get share of €13m Govt funding pool

27 Sep 2013

(From left) Anna Sullivan from Co Clare; Orna Costelloe Dunne from Co Cork; Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD; Jamie Caverly from Co Cork; and Aaron Cosgrave from Co Clare, at St Vincent's GAA Club in Marino, Dublin

More than 80 projects centered on energy retrofitting in communities and homes around Ireland are to benefit from a share of a €13m funding pot the Government will deliver via its Better Energy scheme by the end of the year. Beneficiaries will include 22 local GAA clubs and energy-efficiency upgrades to about 3,500 homes and 290 public and community buildings.

The funding is being delivered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Broken down, through the Better Energy Communities scheme this year, the Government will provide €7m to 47 community energy projects. This involves the upgrading of 740 homes along with another 291 community, public and private facilities.

Then, €6m will be provided under the Better Energy Areas scheme to 37 projects which specifically target energy affordability.  

As part of this, 2,800 homes that have been classed as ‘fuel poor’ are getting proper insulation and heating upgrades.

Pat Rabbitte, TD, the Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources, revealed the finer details of the €13m energy-funding news at one of the flagship projects in Marino, Dublin, a partnership between Musgrave, its retail partners in SuperValu and Centra, and the GAA.

Musgrave and its retailers, as part of the overall Better Energy investment, are partly funding energy upgrades in the local community.  

Translated, the project is paving the way for energy-efficiency upgrades in 24 stores owned my Musgrave, including insulation and heating and lighting upgrades.  

Then, Musgrave has chosen 22 local GAA clubs as partners whom it will partly fund for similar upgrades.

The idea is that such upgrades will save each of these GAA clubs around €47,000 a year, which can be redirected into club development. The total grant support to this project is €520,000.

Rabbitte said the €13m funding is focused on similar initiatives at community level. The goal is to support “practical” energy-efficiency upgrades in order to help make properties warmer, more comfortable, and less costly to run, he said.

“We see this as a key component of the future for retrofitting in Ireland.”

SEAI chief executive Dr Brian Motherway said energy retrofitting will maintain thousands of jobs.

“This type of partnership will be a key enabler for unlocking more opportunities in the future,” he said.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic