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Transitioning to a Low Carbon Climate Resilient Society Proposal for Community Engagement

Issued on: 21 February 2019

Transitioning to a Low Carbon Climate Resilient Society

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Summary

“Community Energy Revolution"

Irish communities are the strongest drivers of the transition to a zero carbon future. The power of local people has been demonstrated repeatedly and it can be done again – to keep Ireland green for current jobs and future generations. Friends of the Earth, Tipperary Energy Agency and the Dingle Sustainable Energy Community have published a "Roadmap for a Community Energy Revolution" in order to galvanise and support local action.

This roadmap underpins political and government initiatives in tackling climate action:

  • For the special all-party Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action which is now finalising its recommendations on translating the recommendations of the Citizens' Assembly into policy, recommendations;
  • For the Government which is finalising its ‘all of government’ approach;

And has been prepared by

Marie Donnelly, former Director for Renewables, Energy Efficiency and Innovation at DG Energy in the European Commission. Current Board member of Tipperary Energy Agency
Brendan Tuohy, Former Secretary General, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. Current member of Dingle Sustainable Energy Community
Oisin Coghlan, Director, Friends of the Earth


Oisin Coghlan, Director or Friends of the Earth commented,

Hundreds of community groups all across Ireland are coming together to take on the challenge of decarbonising their communities. Ireland excels at the community level,- from the GAA to Tidy Towns. Yet, time and again, community energy groups find themselves straining at the leash, often up against the same State-designed barriers to getting their local sustainable energy projects off the ground' and always lacking in sufficient resources to support the huge local voluntary efforts.'.

'The recommendations that will come from this special
Joint Oireachtas Committee offer a huge opportunity to unleash the potential within our communities and enable and facilitate the citizens of Ireland to take action on climate change. There is huge momentum out there. But it requires support for it to be sustainable if it is to begin to address the scale of the challenges.’

‘Minister Bruton is right when he says citizen engagement is essential, but people and communities across Ireland are becoming increasingly frustrated with the narrative that climate action needs to come from them, without any similar commitment to support these local voluntary efforts and also to remove the State-designed barriers that essentially block them from participating in this transition. This is particularly apparent when it comes to local renewable energy generation.’

Friends of the Earth, Tipperary Energy Agency and the Dingle Sustainable Energy Community, three independent organisations involved in the community sector and committed to transitioning the community to a low carbon future, have collaborated to prepare a report ‘Transitioning to a Low Carbon, Climate Resilient Society’ available here, which sets out a number of actions to support long term, deep engagement at local community level. It details the actions needed from Government and others to break down the many barriers that currently prevent local action on climate change and recommends:

  • Developing a ‘one-stop-shop’ led by climate change officers in every local authority area to provide advice, technical information and practical support for citizens, communities and businesses on their journey to decarbonisation;
  • Setting up a route to the market for community led renewable energy projects.
  • Introducing a fair payment for microgeneration from all technologies that are exported to the grid.
  • Streamlining the technical aspects of local energy generation (planning, grid connection, balancing, etc.)
  • Ensuring the Climate Action Fund includes local community engagement activities, starting with the next call in 2019.

 

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