The Mid-West Regional Authority has been allocated €180,000 as part of the European STEP project, which is focused on improving sustainable energy in local government.
Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the three-year project will see the Mid-West Regional Authority update its existing regional biomass and regional climate change strategies and combine them into a single sustainable energy strategy for Ireland’s mid-west.
This new strategy will guide renewable energy development and best practice in Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary.
“The main objectives of the STEP project are to create a set of regional good practices that may help to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, to increase the amount of renewable energy generated and consumed in North Tipperary, Clare and Limerick, and to boost the implementation of policies that may contribute to achieving the EU objectives 20-20-20,” said Deirdre Byrne, EU projects officer with the Mid-West Regional Authority. “We will be working with our European partner regions to identify problems and develop good practice guides to improve local sustainable energy policy tools.”
Sharing knowledge across Europe
Knowledge will be shared between European regions via the STEP project, highlighting and promoting the work of the mid-west region. “We will be sharing the knowledge and experience of the Cloughjordan Eco-village; Clare County Hall as a sustainable public building heated by biomass; the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre as a sustainable, energy-efficient building; North Tipperary County Council’s internal energy savings of 33pc since 2008; and the replacing of older houses with new energy-efficient houses in the coming years under the Limerick regeneration projects,” said Byrne.
Through this project, the Mid-West Regional Authority can also learn from other regions about how best to meet the targets set out by the National Renewable Energy Action Plan, which expects a 16pc share of Ireland’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. In 2010, renewable accounted for 5.5pc of the country’s energy share.
“Through participation in STEP, the MWRA aims to learn as much as possible from the other EU regional partners about their best practices in local sustainable energy projects,” said Byrne. “Particularly advantageous will be the opportunity to learn from the Finnish and German partners, who are very advanced in the development of local sustainable energy projects.”