83 communities to benefit from €28 million

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte T.D., has today announced that 83 community energy projects will receive €28m in financial support, resulting in substantial improvements in homes, community buildings, local authority premises and sports facilities throughout Ireland.

The Minister was speaking today at the Dublin Simon Community Shop in Camden Street Dublin.  One of the successful applicants, the Dublin Simon Community will receive grant aid towards energy upgrades to a number of their apartments, a training and support centre, along with the purchase of five electric vehicles for the outreach team who work to reduce homelessness.

Last year, the Dublin Simon Community Energy Retrofit Programme greatly improved the working and living conditions of almost 300 residents, staff and volunteers across five of its homeless services.  The programme achieved annual energy saving of over 850,000 kilowatt hours per annum and generated much needed cost savings which have been channelled back throughout the organisation.

The Minister said: “This year the Better Energy programme will provide almost €60m for retrofitting, more than in 2013.  Organisations around the country like the Dublin Simon Community are alert to the high cost of energy in their facilities and that every euro saved can be diverted back into valuable services for the community.  Today’s announcement signals this Government’s continued commitment to energy retrofitting.”

Dr Brian Motherway, CEO, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland said: “Energy retrofitting is really important for Ireland reducing expensive imports of fossil fuel and providing much needed employment. Community projects involve people and organisations working together, having a real effect on people’s lives, with the benefits staying locally.”

This year’s programme has prompted some very novel collaboration between private and public organisations including:

–          Nationwide:  Musgrave and GAA working on 37 retail stores and 34 sports clubs.  This is in addition to the 24 retail stores and 22 sports clubs upgraded through the programme last year.

–          Donegal:  Donegal County Council have partnered with St Vincent de Paul among others to upgrade 14 homes power as well as a local waste water treatment plant.

Mr Sam McGuinness of the Dublin Simon Community said; “Building on the success of 2013, we are delighted to be given the opportunity to further develop the Better Energy Community Project in partnership with SEAI.  The savings made through last year’s programme were channelled back into the organisation in order to provide the best possible care, accommodation and support for people experiencing homelessness and those at risk.  Not only this, through delivering energy improvements across our buildings, we simultaneously created and increased awareness of energy efficiency throughout the entire organisation.”