Galway local communities benefit from wind farms investment

Galway has come on top with the biggest haul of investment from wind farms.

The second annual community benefit report from the Irish Wind Energy Association shows Galway received €831,860 of the national total of almost €3.5m.

Across the country, energy efficiency projects and third level scholarships, sports clubs, active retired groups and local festivals were just some of the schemes to benefit from almost €3.5 million in community investment from Irish wind farms in 2019.

The figures were released today in a new report from the Irish Wind Energy Association, whose CEO David Connolly says local communities deserve to benefit from the construction and operation of local wind farms.

“We are very proud of the contribution our members are making to support local communities across Ireland through these funds and constantly impressed by the dedication, enthusiasm and imagination we meet in local communities.

“Without this support, many fantastic local projects would struggle to find alternative funding and it is critical that communities see tangible benefits from renewables as part of the just transition away from fossil fuels.

“Wind energy continues to be Ireland’s most valuable tool in the fight against climate change. The more clean energy we can generate for our homes, farms, schools and businesses the less we rely on fossil fuels and the more we can invest in supporting communities.”

The report identified the top five counties for wind energy community benefit funding. Galway leads the way with €831,860, followed by Cork on €424,740, Roscommon on €334,600, Tipperary on €258,700 and Limerick on €243,250.

Supporting scholars

Galway Wind Park, managed by SSE Renewablesn in conjunction with partner Greencoat Renewables, also runs a third-level scholarship fund for students from the locality.

The Galway Wind Park Scholarship Fund was launched in 2019 and offers funding for full and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses to students living within 20 km of the wind farm.

Students can apply for funding of 50 per cent of their tuition fees for up to a maximum of three years.

Some €130,000 was awarded to 33 students in 2019, with successful applicants studying a variety of courses including teaching, engineering and nursing.

The bursary programme supports students attending Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT ) and National University of Ireland (NUI ) Galway, as well as other educational institutions across the island of Ireland.

Galway Wind Park also delivers an annual community fund of €200,000 for residents living within 20 km of the wind farm.

Projects funded in 2019 included replacing windows and doors for energy efficiency, outdoor lighting to facilitate exercising in winter, education programmes and funding towards an autism unit.

 

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