IT Sligo is involved in a number of initiatives aimed at realising the potential of renewable energy in the North West region for the benefit of communities.
IT Sligo is involved in a number of initiatives aimed at realising the potential of renewable energy in the North West region for the benefit of communities. A ‘Sustainable Energy Community’ (SEC) is a community encompassing a range of energy users including homes, sports clubs, community centres, churches, industry, and businesses, in which everyone works together to develop a sustainable energy system for their collective benefit. To do so, they aim as far as possible to be energy efficient, to use renewable energy where feasible and to develop decentralised energy supplies.
IT Sligo, appointed by the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI), is the Border & West Regional Coordinator for the SEC programme. The team of community mentors are helping SECs to better understand their energy use and work together to plan and complete energy projects. Over 100 SECs in the North West region are currently engaged in building capacity and empowering local community action through the programme. The communities availing of energy grants are benefitting from warmer and healthier buildings & homes, lower energy bills, and reduced harmful CO2 emissions.
IT Sligo is facilitating industry to challenge the reliance on expensive carbon intensive oil and LPG and begin transitioning to a low carbon economy. Sligo SEC is developing the opportunities that exist through renewable biogas and hydrogen including delivering affordable, secure, and increasingly, important sustainable energy for Sligo’s manufacturing, pharmaceutical, agri-food, hospitality and institutional energy users.
The Sligo Satellite Gas Network project proposes to connect Sligo’s existing and future large energy users to enhance the Sligo region’s ability to secure existing employment and also attract new employment, thereby delivering balanced regional development and economic growth. Existing satellite gas networks represent international best practice and provide access to much sought after Combined Heat & Power (CHP) technology as well as maturing Biogas markets. This proposal is the result of a collaborative approach by Sligo SEC which includes IT Sligo, Sligo County Council, Plan Energy, IDA, Jennings O’Donovan, Sligo University Hospital, Abbott, Sligo Chamber of Commerce, AbbVie, Aurivo and Clayton Hotel. Using funding secured from Gas Networks Ireland and match funded by Sligo SEC, Fingleton White was appointed to assess the viability of the project. Early signs indicate that there is sufficient thermal energy demand within the Sligo town area to support a local gas network.
IT Sligo is also assisting communities to develop community owned solar and wind farm projects as part of the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS). As a trusted intermediary IT Sligo is supporting communities to assess project feasibility studies, providing technical support, assisting with applying for grid connection and liaising with ESB Networks and the Commission for Regulation of Utilities. This exciting scheme ensures that communities can be central to Ireland’s energy transition.
European and Irish energy policies now use the term ‘Energy Citizens’ to describe how we interact with the energy system and the choices we are enabled to make as part of that system. Whether you choose to make your home more energy efficient, choose more sustainable transport options or develop a community owned solar or wind farm, energy citizens are now playing an active role in transitioning to a low carbon energy future.