We want everyone to be involved in the renewable energy revolution! The energy of the future must be renewable but it should also be community owned! We believe that communities, schools and grassroots organisations should be supported to own, generate, use and sell their own electricity. Recognising the value that small generators can contribute to our energy transition is hugely important and should allow for income to be spread through communities, like schools, farms, local authorities - and create an incentive for more people and communities to invest in renewables.
To address the climate crisis, we need to get off fossil fuels fast. Ireland has excellent renewable energy resources, but our energy system uses fossil fuels for the majority of our energy needs in transport, heating and electricity. This has to change. Fast!
At Friends of the Earth we are working to make sure that Ireland’s energy system is fit for the future, with no more investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, no more exploration for fossil fuels and an energy system that values and supports citizens and communities participating in and benefiting from our renewable energy transition.
Power to the People is our campaign to achieve the electricity-related key results of the Strategic Objective on emissions reduction, by putting citizens and communities at the heart of the transition to 100% renewable power.
We’ve made good progress on our campaign to change the planning regulations to allow solar panels on schools. Two weeks ago the Sunday Business Post reported that planning regulations would be changing to facilitate solar panels on buildings, including schools. We're continuing our campaign for legislation to seal the deal on this and make sure it happens.
Councillors around Ireland have been supporting this too, and both Galway County Council and Westmeath County Council have passed motions recently supporting a change in the planning regulations.
We’ve reached a critical juncture in our campaign for renewable, community owned energy. In a matter of months we could finally have a support scheme for small renewable energy microgenerators. But this scheme could end up being very good - or pretty bad. The difference hangs in our collective hands!
We've been campaigning for this type of scheme for years. And now - finally - the Government has agreed that it’s needed!
Join us for a webinar this week! We'll be launching this stunning handbook for communities from Friends of the Earth Europe, and and exploring the opportunities for Irish communities in the energy transition in 2021 with Minister Eamon Ryan.
Community energy is key to action on the climate crisis, boosting local economies, and reinvigorating communities. We’ve been campaigning for clean, community energy for a long time. It’s been a tough battle at times but things are finally starting to look bright!
After years of campaigning on Community Energy, things are now looking bright! Last month Eirgrid held the first ever Irish renewable electricity auction, which gave the go ahead to 82 wind and solar parks, including two community owned solar parks from our partners at Community Power.
Covid-19 created some delays for our Solar Schools 2020 winners but we will soon be back on track getting solar panels on their roofs. This year we had 8 winners and 8 runners up. Our winning schools will be generating their own clean energy and championing the solar revolution in Ireland.
Congratulations to all our winners!
We can’t wait to work with these primary and secondary schools and get going with their local climate action projects.
Special congratulations to St Munchins in Limerick who became the newest Solar School this month! Their newly installed6 kw array of solar PV panels will generate about 5,070 kWh per year for the school, to power lights, computers, photocopiers etc., saving about €800 while avoiding 3,000kg of CO2 a year.
Thank you to our panelists and participants for tuning into our webinar 'Energy Democracy & Community Power' yesterday evening.
Cliona Sharkey, Policy Advisor with Trócaire, Paul Kenny, CEO of Tipperary Energy Agency and John Fogarty of Community Power, Ireland’s first community owned electricity supplier joined us for a lively discussion on the question;
How can we build energy democracy in our communities so that everyone has access to community power?
If you missed it, you can watch it back here in the video below.
Voting and judging for Solar Schools 2020 is now complete. The winners were judged by an independent judging panel following the results of an online public vote.
Schools were tasked with coming up with an idea for a local climate action project. And as expected, students in Ireland have fantastic ideas. The winners will now complete their climate action project, and will get solar pv panels designed and installed at their school.
We are very grateful for financial support for this project from the following organisations. It would not be possible without them.
The winners for Solar Schools 2020 are:
Primary Schools Winners
Guardian Angels, Blackrock, Co Dublin St Brigids National School Grange, Co Carlow Scoil Naomh Brid, Co Donegal Mercy Moyderwell, Tralees, Co Kerry