New Sustainable Energy Communities Commit to Energy Saving Projects

Three Local Irish Authorities to take lead in testing new technologies and policies to stimulate national move towards sustainable energy practice.

Professor J Owen Lewis, chief executive, SEAI; Dick Gleeson, planner, Dublin City Council; Tim McSwiney, senior executive engineer, Tralee Town Council; and Gerry Wardell, director CODEMA, Dublin City Council

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) today announced Tralee, Dublin City and Tallaght as the three new exemplar Sustainable Energy Communities (SEC), all of whom will commit to specific energy saving projects for the next five years. The communities were selected from 14 local authorities for having a visionary co-ordinated approach to energy savings and integrating sustainable energy into community planning and development. The selection of the three SECs follows a competitive selection process and builds on the success of Ireland’s pilot SEC, Dundalk 2020.

SEAI’s Sustainable Energy Communities Programme aims to develop a series of Irish communities as ‘living laboratories’ to establish a culture of innovation and facilitate the emergence of new sustainable energy technologies and practices that grow energy smart towns and cities. SECs involve everyone in the community, across all sectors, working together to enhance sustainability by being as energy efficient as possible, using renewable energy where feasible and developing indigenous energy supplies. The programme acts as a catalyst on the ground to help stimulate a national move towards sustainable energy practice and to deliver national energy targets.

Dundalk 2020 was established as Ireland’s first SEC in 2007. Work to date has involved the installation of energy efficient technologies in a wide range of buildings as well as implementing energy efficient behavioural change. The project has led to savings of more than 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum, while organisations together are saving in excess of €500,000 per annum.

Speaking at the announcement of the winning SECs, Professor J. Owen Lewis, Chief Executive of SEAI said: “The standard of the proposals we received was excellent. Tralee, Dublin City and Tallaght will, with the support of SEAI, champion the testing and deployment of new sustainable energy technologies and practices in their communities, involving people across all sectors. The aim of the Sustainable Energy Communities Programme is to replicate best practice throughout the country and we will be helping other local authorities to improve the link between sustainable energy, economic development and planning, making significant energy savings in the process.”

SEAI will partner with the communities for five years, providing them with strategic guidance, as well as technical and project management support. As part of the programme, SEAI also set up an SEC Network to facilitate best practice and knowledge sharing among all local authorities that are progressing in sustainability.

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Source: Media Release ~ Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

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