The Irish government has reiterated its commitment towards green energy by providing funding for an innovative new project that is set to boost 37 communities across 20 counties in the country.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) - which is funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, has announced that an initial €22m will fund energy upgrades to 1,200 homes and 400 community and commercial buildings.
The latest funding brings the total investment by the Irish government in relation to energy upgrades and investment to €52 million. The energy upgrades will provide the communities with a number of new benefits which include warmer and healthier buildings, lower energy bills and reduced harmful CO2 emissions. In addition, it has also been disclosed that the project will generate employment opportunities.
The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, said the funding represented the Irish government's commitment to 'revitalizing communities'.
He said, "There are incentives for communities that focus on clean and renewable energy as every application that incorporates solely renewable energy receives bonus marks at project evaluation. Further bonus marks were awarded for those projects that met exceptionally high air quality standards."
SEAI's energy community network is growing - more than 100 independent community groups have joined the organization and have entered into partnership agreements in order to benefit from a special fund that is worth €3m that supports community projects.
Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI highlighted some of the benefits the energy upgrades are going to provide for the 37 communities involved in this government-led initiative.
Gannon said, "SEAI's community grant scheme enables community-wide energy improvements across a range of buildings, achieving it more efficiently and cost effectively than it might otherwise be possible. This means better value for the communities themselves - and for the public monies invested. The community energy approach also builds innovative and pioneering partnerships, such as collaborations between public and private sectors, commercial and not-for-profit organizations, financing entities and energy suppliers. It also empowers the communities to determine their own route to a better energy future."