SSE Renewables, Ireland’s leading developer, owner, and operator of renewable energy, has donated €1.1m to 412 projects through its annual Community Fund across Ireland in 2020/2021.
Details of the total €1.1m donation SSE Renewables has made to Irish communities in the last year are contained in the company’s annual Community Investment Review, published today. The donation, made to local groups, sports organisations and schools among others, is the largest-ever yearly investment made by SSE Renewables into local communities from its wind farms.
The latest Community Fund donation brings the total contribution made by SSE Renewables to local communities in Ireland to €8.9m so far since 2004. In that time the Community Fund awards have supported over 3,200 projects and good causes in the areas closest to its wind farms.
SSE Renewables, which is the power behind leading green energy provider and sister company SSE Airtricity, provides voluntary funding every year to community groups in the vicinity of its wind farms in support of energy efficiency, safety and sustainability projects as well as social and environmental projects to enable community development.
The Community Investment Review highlights how in the last year SSE Renewables has also provided Covid-19 relief supports to communities when they needed it most during the pandemic. Over €350,000 was distributed within six months to help local Covid-19 response efforts. This funding was awarded to community groups operating near SSE Renewables’ wind farms located in Cork, Cavan, Donegal, Wexford, Monaghan, Sligo, Limerick, Kerry, Tipperary and Galway.
The Galway Wind Park Scholarship Fund provided 19 scholarships to local young people living near Galway Wind Park, Ireland’s largest onshore wind farm. Young people are one of the generations most impacted by the pandemic with the cancelling of exams and a reduction in job opportunities, and the education scholarships provided much-needed support to young people living near the wind park who are trying to gain the skills needed to excel in their future careers.
Jim Smith, Managing Director of SSE Renewables said “The past year has demonstrated to us all how important our local communities are. We are thankful that communities have trusted us to provide financial support during this difficult year. We are committed to using the green recovery and the growth of our renewables infrastructure to help even more communities in the year to come.”
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic SSE Renewables had committed to providing 10% of the annual awards from their funds to support rural areas during cope with the emergency. As the scale of the impact became clear they invested over €2.3 million towards pandemic related projects helping groups from Galway to Sutherland to mitigate the impact of the crisis. From establishing befriending services, safeguarding homelessness services to manufacturing PPE, the ability of rural communities to protect their most vulnerable residents was shown in every community.
The company’s Community Investment Review also demonstrates its continued commitment to operating in a net zero world and supporting a green economy through the delivery of new renewable energy assets to achieve a net zero future.
SSE Renewables will support Ireland’s green recovery with the continued development of projects both on and offshore, including Arklow Bank Wind Park, Phase 2, the first of the next generation of offshore wind energy sites in Ireland. The company has also commenced construction of the onshore Lenalea Wind Farm in Co. Donegal, a co-development with partners Coillte Renewable Energy. Both projects can play a key role in advancing the transition to a zero-carbon future and meeting Ireland’s climate action goals, while supporting local communities to realise the positive social and economic benefits that each project can deliver during construction and throughout their operational lifetime.
More information on the SSE Renewables Community Fund can be found here.