Duncan Stewart speaking in Westport on energy independence

Environmental campaigner and Eco Eye presenter Duncan Stewart is coming to Westport to speak about a new concept which aims to get local residents and businesses working together in a bid to see the town eventually become energy independent.

Local man Derek O’Halloran is a volunteer with SheDD, a Mayo-based environmental advocacy group.

He said the group are hoping the public will be inspired by the talk to form a Westport energy co-op.

“The idea is that at some point in the future the local community here would be able to produce local energy for local consumption,” said Mr O’Halloran.

He added that two of the more obvious energy sources in the locality would be wind and solar power.

“The energy co-op would see the local community become less dependent on energy from the national grid, which ultimately comes from abroad and the security of that is in question. So this would be more sustainable,” he outlined.

Mr Stewart will be sharing his ideas on local and sustainable energy options at the talk on March 28, at 7pm in the Westport Woods Hotel.

The broadcaster will be one of four speakers at the event.

Dara Molloy from the Aran Islands Energy Co-op will detail the efforts which are under way to create sustainable energy solutions for the islands. Caithríona McCarthy of the Edible Landscapes Project will discuss food security, while Dublin based Energy Co-ops will give a presentation on how to set up a local energy co-op.

David Whelan is the co-founder of SheDD.

“Currently less than one per cent of Ireland’s energy comes from local communities,” he said. “Creating local and renewable energy solutions can create jobs and foster eco tourism, while reducing demand for imported fossil fuels and protecting against price fluctuations.”

For more information about SHeDD Ireland or the Duncan Stewart SHeDD Talks event visit sheddIreland.com


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