Four community groups in Tipperary with support and guidance from North Tipperary LEADER Partnership (NTLP) have been awarded almost €1 million by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for energy efficiency work to their homes and community buildings totalling €1.3million.
The SEAI funding offer was announced at a meeting held in Nenagh recently with representatives of 4 four local voluntary Energy Teams in the communities of Drombane/Upperchurch; Kilcommon/Rearcross; Lorrha/Rathcabbin and Birdhill. Noel Byrne, chairman of Drombane/Upperchurch Energy Team said “This is a great achievement for the people of Tipperary. We would like to see it spur more communities to set up local energy projects, to save money and create employment for their areas.”
A Project Co-ordinator, Marcella Maher Keogh, was recruited, who prepared four funding applications to SEAI. This work was financed by NTLP and the four local Energy Teams. Competitive tendering processes were carried out in each area to recruit suitable contractors. With NTLP, itself a non-profit company, acting as the secretariat, the four communities have together formed an UMBRELLA GROUP called Energy Communities Tipperary (ECT). ECT is a hub to co-operate and share best practice from the Drombane Project, between participating communities. A website has been set up www.energycommunities.wordpress.com where resources from the projects are made available to the general public.
Gearóid Fitzgibbon, NTLP Community Worker, paid tribute to the local input: “The investment secured for each community is only possible through the time and commitment which volunteers give to oversee these projects in their own areas.”
The volunteers with the participating Energy Team are:
Drombane/Upperchurch Energy Team: Noel Byrne (Chairman) Jack Looby, Martin O’Donoghue, Con Harrington, Joan Carew, Eileen Armstrong, Eileen Dunne, Paddy Gleeson, PJ Harrington, Billy Clancy, and Michael Corcoran.
Kilcommon/Rearcross Energy Team: Liam Lynch (Chairman), Tom Harris, Eamon O’Neachtain, Paul Grace, Edel Grace, Noel McMahon, Noelle Ryan, Tom Butler, Billy Nolan, and Josephine Ryan.
Lorrha/Rathcabbin Energy Team: Alan Madden (Chairman), Jackie Hogan, Tim Kelly, Michael Bowler, Nancy White, Michael Moore, Declan Houlihan, Michael O’Meara, and Liam Mannion.
Birdhill Energy Team (part of Birdhill Tidy Towns group): Aileen Campion, Terry Griffith, Brett Fitzpatrick, David Healy and Tony Ryan.
The funding marks the latest success of a project which began at a community meeting in Drombane in 2010 when Drombane Village Group, chaired by Con Harrington, sought to stimulate economic activity in their local community. A new group called Drombane/Upperchurch Energy Team was set up which, successfully leveraged investment in local energy efficiency work to the value of €450,000 with support from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Better Energy Community grant scheme. A case study on this project is available on www.bit.ly/duetstudy2014. A limited numbers of hard copies of case study are available from NTLP or from Drombane team. Since 2013, NTLP community worker Gearóid Fitzgibbon has been working with a number of other communities to replicate the success of the Drombane/Upperchurch Energy Team. Advice from Tipperary Energy Agency staff, and support from student placements (Rachel Ryan – LIT Tipperary, and Allan Stewart – University of Uppsala)
Any local groups looking to organise local energy teams for 2015 should get in touch with
Gearoid Fitzgibbon – NTLP on 0857409023 or email GFitzgibbon@ntlp.ie