Community Energy Scotland has forged new links with islands communities in Ireland after being invited to present at a major energy conference in Dublin run by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
Development officer Nick Chapman outlined the success of community energy in Scotland where 500MW of energy is now under community and local ownership.
An increasing number of countries are interested in learning from Scotland how this has been achieved. One of the delegates, Lughaidh O’Braonain, Director of Energy Cooperatives Ireland, said: “From hearing Nick’s presentation at the energy show in Dublin, I can say that this event was well worth attending.”
After the conference, Chapman later travelled west to Árainn Mhór / Inishmore, largest of the three Aran Islands, to meet up with Aran Islands Energy Co-Op to share with them how small island communities in Scotland are working towards becoming energy self-sufficient.
Supported by the SEAI, the Aran community has had huge success so far with their home retro-fit scheme, helping over 300 homes on the islands install energy-efficiency measures and renewable heating. They are now looking at options for larger-scale generation schemes, following the lead of island communities such as in the Western Isles and Orkney.
Chapman said: “Scotland and Ireland have an enormous amount in common when it comes to cultural history and renewable energy resources. Community-owned wind and hydro generation is already bringing together and financially benefiting remote communities across Scotland, there should be no reason why communities in Ireland cannot do the same”.