Udaras na Gaeltachta, the regional development agency responsible for the economic, social and cultural development of the Gaeltacht, has taken measures to ensure low cost energy bills and reduced carbon emissions by signing up to a biomass heat contract with Rural Generation – the Irish market leader in providing renewable energy solutions using willow.
As part of this new contract two 150 kW KWB biomass boilers, fuelled by wood chips, have been installed to provide heat and hot water for the newly built Aislann Gaoth Dobhair building in the Gaoth Dobhair Business Park in Gweedore, County Donegal. The Aislann, which spans 5,800 square metres, includes offices, innovation and enterprise centres, exhibition and arts space, a creche and the new Gaoth Dobhair library, which replace the facility that was ruined in last June’s flash flooding. Rural Generation not only installed the two boilers but will also maintain and manage them during the three years of the contracts well as providing a reliable supply of fuel.
Following an investment of approximately Eur125,000 by Udaras, of which Eur42,000 in grant aid was received from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland under its Re-Heat Programme, the boilers will potentially produce energy for up to 1 million kW hours.
With each kilowatt hour of heat being charged at Eur0.04 as part of the heat contract – compared with the rate of Eur0.08 for oil – Udaras is set to save approximately Eur40,000 at full heat demand and 260 tonnes of carbon each year. This will give the agency a payback period on their boilers of just over three years.
Udaras na Gaeltachta is leading the way amongst public sector agencies in Ireland with these recent steps in energy efficiency and in addition to the two biomass boilers it also boasts 92 square metres of solar panelling.
Christine Hutton (left), business development manager (energy/heat), Rural Generation, and Gearoid Dorchai (right), building services engineer, Udaras na Gaeltachta, with children from the creche of the newly finished Aislann Gaoth Dobhair building in Gweedore, County Donegal.