• Orla Grant
  • 3 min read

The number of Sustainable Energy Communities doubled in past year, leading the way in Ireland’s energy transition.

Members of the Mulranny GreenPlan Group.

More than 25,000 citizens are connecting through SEAI’s Sustainable Energy Community Network. They are embracing climate action in their local areas by being more energy efficient and switching to renewable energy solutions.

SEAI provides mentoring and funding to help these communities achieve their sustainable energy ambitions. Many have completed energy upgrades in homes, businesses, and public and community buildings. Others are looking to larger scale renewable energy sources to benefit their area.

“The network is growing very rapidly, demonstrating the appetite that exists among citizens and communities to take charge of their collective energy futures. We are now one third of the way towards the Government’s goal of 1,500 sustainable energy communities by 2030 and such is the demand for our partnership approach with communities that we’re confident in meeting that target.” 
William Walsh, CEO of SEAI

We’ve put together a selection of some our fantastic community groups to illustrate the great work being carried out around Ireland.

Aran Islands, County Galway

The Aran Islands was one of the first communities to join the SEAI sustainable energy community network in 2015 and one of the first to complete their energy master plan. SEAI have supported a number of home energy upgrades on the Aran Islands as well as hosting the first electric vehicle trial in Ireland.

Over the past two years SEAI, in collaboration with the Aran Islands Energy Cooperative, NUI Galway, ESB Networks and Údarás na Gaeltachta, have participated in the REACT 2020 EU Horizon Project. This project aims to achieve island energy independence through renewable energy generation and storage, a demand response platform, and promoting user engagement in a local energy community.

Mulranny, County Mayo

Mulranny joined the community energy network in 2018, adopting the Green Plan approach to energy saving. This was first developed by a Dublin based fireman who worked with SEAI on earlier grant programmes. The Green Plan approach looks at community, environmental and economic activities including water, energy, biodiversity, air quality, tourism impacts and plastic packaging. Mulranny were recently awarded a silver medal at the European Entente Florale competition awards and have also completed their energy master plan.

   Listen to Carol Loftus, from Mulranny GreenPlan Sustainable Energy Community, share their experience on our podcast 180 Degrees.

Polecat Group Water Scheme, County Roscommon

Polecat Group Water Scheme is a co-operative member of the Federation of Group Water Schemes and with support from the Community Energy Grant (BEC) they installed a renewable generation project installed at the Polecat Community Water Treatment plant. Polecat have reduced their energy costs for water treatment by 70% and are looking to sell into the grid in the future. 

The GAA Green Club Programme

The GAA Green Club Programme is a national initiative and partnership between the GAA, LGFA and Camogie Association and local authorities across Ireland with SEAI as the expert partner. The programme looks at energy spend, identifying possible projects and supporting access to grants to implement projects. Initially 45 clubs were involved across all aspects of the project with 15 involved in the energy pillar. The programme aims to make the pilot programme available to all 2,200 clubs next year. 

One of SEAI’s earliest demonstrator projects in the community energy network is the Connacht GAA Grounds. They have undertaken a full review of their energy and completed a number of energy savings projects with an ambition for renewable generation. With over 200,000 visitors a year this offers an excellent example to the wider community. 

Birdhill, County Tipperary

SEAI community network member Birdhill in Tipperary won the national Tidy Towns competition in 2018. Their entry demonstrated to judges the network benefits to the community through making home and building energy upgrades. Tidy Towns scoring now includes a category for community and environmental activities and this has led to alignment between the Tidy Towns and the SEAI Sustainable Energy Community programme with many new member communities coming from the Tidy Towns network.   

Learn more about the Sustainable Energy Community Network

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Orla Grant | Communications Content Specialist

Orla is a member of the Digital Marketing team and creates digital content that tells the stories of sustainable energy initiatives happening in Ireland. She writes blogs and case studies and produces SEAI’s podcast, videos and animations. Orla has several years’ experience in corporate communications and has worked for clients and in-house across consulting, tourism, tax and construction sectors.