Date: 29 Oct 2021
End-to-end support to create a community energy sector
Renewable Energy Support Scheme
In 2018, Irish Government backed the design of a Renewable Energy Support Scheme (RESS) to promote investment in renewable energy generation in Ireland. The RESS will help drive community ownership and partnership as well as increase renewable energy technology diversity and serve as a pathway to meet our renewable energy target on a national and European level. Ireland has set a target of 80% renewable electricity, and an EU-wide renewable energy target of 32%, by 2030.
Community Enabling Framework
One of the key components of the RESS is a Community Enabling Framework to support and encourage the development of a meaningful community electricity generation sector. The framework aims to offer end-to-end support to create a community energy sector in Ireland that can flourish sustainably over time and deliver meaningful impact to communities nationwide.
In July 2021 the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, launched a range of measures under the framework to ensure communities nationwide will benefit from renewable energy, including
Targeted supports for communities who want to develop their own renewable projects
Good Practice Principles that will ensure communities benefit from funds generated by other renewable energy projects in their locality
A new Steering Board to guide the development of the community energy sector
SEAI are the lead organisation for this framework, who provide support through a number of ways including:
Financial supports, including grants and soft loans with declarations of interest.
A trusted intermediary network to work with communities through the various stages of projects.
A trusted advisor network on hand to provide specialist advice, such as legal and financial.
A reliable information source for a variety of “how-to” information guides.
A central point of contact – to co-ordinate all of these enabling services.
Community Energy Resource Toolkit
A practical element of the Community Enabling Framework is the Community Energy Resource Toolkit. This showcases several practical guides across several different areas such as business planning, technology strategy, governance options and many more.
The Toolkit has been designed with similarities to the well-known Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) toolkit which was developed by Local Energy Scotland to support community and local energy projects across Scotland. These resources have been examined and adapted to an Irish context for supporting the development of Community RESS projects.
The modules available currently include
1) Onshore Wind.
2) Solar PV.
3) Planning Process.
4) Grid Connection.
To find out more about the RESS and Community Enabling Framework click HERE